Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures Obtains 8(a) Certification


By Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures

In August 2019, Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures (MLCV) devised a strategy to focus on competing in the Government Contracting arena by establishing Makwa Global, LLC. This line of business within the MLCV portfolio started with the application for 8(a) certification through the United States Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA 8(a) certification provides preferential access to enterprises owned by Federally Recognized Tribes and certified under Section 8(a) of the Act to government agency procurements with direct award benefits.

With the SBA 8(a) certification, Makwa Global companies receive eligibility for sole-source contracts up to $22 million, and up to $100 million for DoD contracts, without Justification and Approval. Other (Non-Tribal) 8(a) companies can only receive sole-source awards up to $4 million ($6.5 million for manufacturing). According to the SBA, businesses that are 8(a) certified can get help securing SBA-backed loans, join in business-education and guidance programs, and partner with other companies to bid on contracts.

During the State of the Band in 2020, MLCV shared that Makwa Global was amid its application process to become certified. After the rigorous application process, we received notification in early March that four Makwa Global companies had been accepted and received official certification for this highly desired federal program in an unprecedented amount of time.

"These certifications will help the organization’s visibility and, more importantly, provide another revenue source for the Mille Lacs Band," said Joe Nayquonabe, CEO of Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures.

In less than three months after certification, Makwa Global has already secured two contracts. They were selected to be a part of a group of companies who will be awarded nearly 100 construction projects worldwide. Those projects will be split between several companies over the next 12 months. Additionally, Makwa Global has received a significant contract for five years to assist the Department of State with its Counterterrorism Bureau training needs. While the details of these contracts are confidential, this is a giant leap for MLCV and the Mille Lacs Band to join the ranks of a limited group of Tribal Enterprises eligible to compete for contracts through the 8(a) program.

"Having the 8(a) designation provides a foot in the door," Nayquonabe continued. "Certified companies must still be able to back up their capabilities and prove they can perform. That’s where the strong leadership team of Makwa Global comes in."

The experience and expertise of this team in the government sector played a significant role in securing their latest contract. The team is led by Mille Lacs Band descendant Derek Dorr, who strategically led the growth of a three-employee government contractor to more than 2,000 employees working in 91 countries worldwide. Makwa Global’s senior leadership team has over 75 years of combined experience working with government agencies, spanning every industry from the Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Department of Defense, NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Health & Human Services.

Makwa Global is a service-based company with experience in multiple domains. Makwa Global companies provide tactical and creative solutions to vital assets and infrastructures throughout the world through training, safety, and security services. They offer tailored IT and cybersecurity solutions, professional staffing for administrative and technical roles, health care offices, and emergency services. Makwa Global companies manage the building of substantial commercial, residential, and industrial construction endeavors, and the maintenance and facility services to support facilities post-construction. They provide solutions for supply chain management, warehousing, project management, fulfillment, and dispatch services. Makwa Global companies also offer travel, marketing, printing, and communication services.

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