NCGrowth Report: Coharie 8A Certification Research

NCGrowth partnered with the Coharie Tribe and the UNC American Indian Center to conduct research on the certification process for the Small Business Administration’s 8A Business Development Program.

The SBA’s 8A program is designed to help small minority-owned businesses expand through access to federal contracts.  The program offers a broad scope of assistance for small, disadvantaged firms to gain access to the economic mainstream of American society. The objective of the 8A Program is to graduate firms that will go on to thrive in a competitive business environment.

The Coharie Indian Tribe is a state-recognized American Indian tribe located in Harnett and Sampson counties in southeastern North Carolina. The Tribe, through it’s Great Coharie River project, has developed expertise around stream restoration and storm cleanup that could be leveraged into federal and state contract work.  In recent years, the Coharie Intra-Tribal Council, Inc. (CITC) – the Tribe’s governing body – has taken responsibility for the restoration of the Coharie River, a historic and cherished asset to the Tribal community. The CITC wishes to build on this work and the river restoration expertise within the Tribe to launch an environmental restoration business venture that could eventually obtain 8A certification to compete for federal and state contracts.  The Tribe also sees a business opportunity for river-based tourism once the cleanup is complete.

The research conducted by the NCGrowth team laid out next steps necessary for the Tribe to pursue business development and 8A certification.