The ENLS Impact: Catching Up with Participants

“ENLS provides young natives with an opportunity to learn how to benefit their respective communities. It provided me an opportunity to network and meet other natives from around the country that I otherwise wouldn’t have met. It allowed me to gain a better understanding of what the 8(a) program is and why it is so valuable to companies like All Native Group and how the program benefits tribes. ENLS prepared me to advocate for tribal corporations and the 8(a) program whether I go to Capitol Hill or to a Senate Hearing. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at ENLS and I am excited to return for a second year.”- Mikaela Downes   NACA wanted to find out if ENLS truly makes a lasting impression on its attendees so what better way than to catch up with an ENLS Alumnus? We touched base with 2016 ENLS Participant, Mikaela Downes in search of answers. Mikaela is a graduate of Georgetown University and a member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and currently serves as a Liaison, bridging inter-company marketing development projects with the All Native Group (ANG), a division of Ho-Chunk, Incorporated. We approached Mikaela wanting to know, is ELNS impactful for attendees’ professional careers?   Ms. Downes had been with ANG for a month and a half when she attended ENLS. Her expectations were dancing around the unknown, as she’d only seen promotional information for the event. What she did know was that she’d be around other American Indian and Alaskan Natives with similar interests and an understanding of the community....

How Did Your Leadership Skills Evolve?

Growing up as a kid who was intrinsically bossy, I often heard other adults telling my dad that, because of my bossy ways, I possessed “leadership qualities.” I don’t know about that because I was considered an only child. My closet sibling in age was thirteen years older so I was 100% the baby of the family. Frankly, those qualities are more often attributed to being the bratty baby child. Later, and with much maturity, the domineering trait I harnessed became much more than a fondness of giving people orders and getting my way but shaped its way into being something people could rely on.   As a youth, group projects in grade school are a good example of the very first real chance I had at leading. Later in middle school it became more obvious that my peers relied on me for guidance. My knowledge was trusted and it was a good feeling. I knew I could be of assistance to them. Things really got interesting in college. I didn’t want to be doing all the work and believe me, some tried their best to slack off and place the work entirely upon me but I took that as an opportunity to provide mentorship. I couldn’t just oversee projects. I had to make an impression on my peers and exhibit good work ethic, organizational skills, time management, and dedication. I had to impress upon them the importance of hard work paying off in the end. This was my chance to have a real influence on them. I hoped to influence their overall college experience and possibly for the...

“The Emerging Native Leaders Summit is a great experience for an aspiring Native leader. If it’s their first time to DC, the summit offers an orientation to the history, government relations protocol, and culture of the city. It also gives students inspiration and confidence to work in our nation’s capital.” -Victoria Kitcheyan

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NACA Midwest Tour

NACA Midwest Tour

Over a 10 day drive, NACA Executive Director, Michael Anderson, toured the midwest visiting with five different NACA member tribes across three states. NACA took a first hand look at the amazing work these companies are providing for their communities through 8a contracting. Each location had something to offer in terms of their rich culture, resources, business model, and vision. During these visits it was very evident that government contracting is a crucial economic development tool for Native-owned businesses. While visiting with Several different business models, NACA saw that for a community to make government contracting profitable, it is critical that they have a leader with a far reaching vision that can take advantage of the resources available. One of the key factors to the success of these businesses is that leadership has communicated its vision from top to bottom and that all understand their part in achieving that vision. NACA makes it a priority not to just be the advocates in DC but to also connect with the communities it serves. NACA must preserve and further support the SBA Native 8a program for both businesses emerging into the government contracting industry and those already well established. Follow the MapMe guide below to learn about the communities and companies visited by...

Real 8(a) Contract Opportunities Being Lost, Who’s Paying Attention?

Did you know that Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) and 8(a) contract bundling are having immediate negative impacts to Native 8(a) Businesses and small businesses across the country? These policies have resulted in the loss of contract opportunities and real revenue for small businesses, undermining the intention of the 8a program. A recent NACA case study found three Native 8a Companies are at risk of losing major 8(a) contracts due to a project being bundled and consolidated out of the 8(a) program into one omnibus contract. The result is a total loss in revenue of over $100 million for 8(a) businesses according to the Federal Procurement Data Systems (FPDS). In the state of Alaska, it will cause a loss of $10 million in state revenues. In the same case study, the contracts that are being bundled out of the 8(a) program are going to be competed via LPTA. If the Native Corporations could re-compete collaboratively and have a chance at success, the margins for profit under LPTA currently sit at 3% or less. Using Alaska Native Corporations as an example, they need a minimum of 3% profit to be able to effect the management and distribution of benefits to their shareholders. Therefore, they would be doing this work at zero net gain for their community. Bundling, as executed here, dismantles the work small businesses have fought to establish and supports an industry dominated by large contracting firms. While bundling seems logical for improving government efficiency, it has extreme unintended consequences for small business contractors. Most importantly, loss of 8(a) contracts had direct impacts on Native communities, many of whom...