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History: SBA Act of 1953

The Small Business Act of 1953


The Small Business Act of 1953 established the Small Business Administration (SBA) for the purpose of assisting small businesses with loans, guaranteeing loans to small businesses, ensuring that small businesses receive a fair proportion of government contracts, and providing general counseling to small businesses.


Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act provides additional assistance for small and disadvantaged businesses to help them compete in the marketplace. In an effort to stimulate the economy and support small businesses, the government sets aside portions of its work specifically for small businesses, especially those designated as “8(a)” small, disadvantaged businesses. These contracts are awarded in one of two ways:


  1. Sole-sourced: the government awards these contracts directly to small businesses without any competition.

  2. 8(a) Competitive: only 8(a) businesses may compete: leveling the playing field for small companies.


In 1986, Congress passed legislation that allows Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) to participate in the 8(a) program. This privilege has helped ANCs tremendously by giving these companies a hand up. For example, since Congress passed this legislation, the number of ANCs on the list of Alaska’s top 100 employers has more than doubled.


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