Akiak Technology Accepted into SBA (8)a Program
Akiak Technology CEO Kevin Hamer (left) and CFO Brian Wajert (center) meet with local resident Thomas Carl (right) of Akiak in June 2019; Hamer and Wajert traveled to Akiak to discuss plans for entering the SBA’s (8)a program.
The Akiak Native Community, a federally recognized Alaska Native Tribe, is proud to announce that its tribal-owned business, Akiak Technology, has been accepted into the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development program. This certification has a nine-year lifespan with annual reviews to maintain its certification.
The 8(a) Business Development program is designed to level the federal government contracting playing field for businesses that are certified as socially and economically disadvantaged. SBA 8(a) certified tribal-owned businesses, such as Akiak Technology, are exempt from competition requirements and eligible to receive directed/sole source contract awards up to $25 million from federal civilian agencies and up to $100 million from the Department of Defense.
“Contracting or partnering with a tribally-owned 8(a) company leads to enhanced economic growth, and creates generational prosperity and job opportunities that benefit the entire tribe,” says Chief, Mike P. Williams Sr. “The purpose of Akiak Technology is to provide a sustained revenue stream and brighter economic future for our tribal citizens in remote Akiak, Alaska.”
Akiak Technology is an IT consulting business with expertise in digital transformation. Kevin Hamer is the president and CEO of Akiak Technology and was instrumental in guiding the Akiak Native Community through the SBA 8(a) business planning and development process. “We take pride in our combined fifty-plus years of executive leadership experience inside federal agencies helping to improve how government works from the inside,” says Hamer.
With an estimated $630 billion in annual contract spending, the US government is the world’s largest buyer.
“Acceptance of Akiak Technology into the 8(a) Program represents a major milestone for our people and offers hope for our economic future in a difficult time. Like many Native American tribes, we have been devastated by COVID-19, with 61 percent of our citizens testing positive for the virus,” says Williams. “The revenue we generate from Akiak Technology will increase our financial stability and independence, provide economic opportunity, and improve the quality of life of our citizens.”
The SBA 8(a) program is a business development tool that may fit within the economic development vision of Native American tribes. And a tribe may have more than one tribal-owned business in the 8(a) program.
“While access to federal contracts is the biggest advantage of 8(a) certification, there are other advantages to program participation including the potential to form 8(a) joint ventures and assistance through Mentor-Protégé agreements with an established large company,” says Hamer. “With our 8(a) certification, Akiak Technology is uniquely positioned to provide expedited, experienced IT help to federal agencies and the financial means to improve the lives of our tribal citizens over the next nine years.”
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The Corporate 100
Alaska Business has been celebrating the corporations that have a significant impact on Alaska’s economy since 1993. At the time, the corporations weren’t ranked as the list didn’t have specific ranking criteria. Instead, the Alaska Business editorial team held long, detailed, and occasionally passionate discussions about which organizations around the state were providing jobs, owned or leased property, used local vendors, demonstrated a high level of community engagement, and in general enriched Alaska.