Step-by-step instruction on 8(a) certification on Jan. 15th

November 19, 2014 by

The Georgia District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), along with the Office of Minority Development of the University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center, is presenting a three-hour seminar on the 8(a) certification process on Thursday, January 15, 2015 in Atlanta.

The SBA’s 8(a) Business Development program is a part of the federal government’s effort to promote equal business access for socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, including Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, subcontinent Asian Americans, and in in some cases, women business owners. Companies with an 8(a) certification can benefit from the wide-range of services offered including government contracting opportunities, access to capital, management and technical assistance, and more.

The Jan. 15th  seminar is being held at the Georgia District office of the SBA, 233 Peachtree Street, Suite 1900, Peachtree Center – Harris Tower, Atlanta, GA, 30303.

There is no cost associated with this event, and advance registration is required.  To register, visit: http://events.sba.gov/eventmanagement/EventRegistration.aspx?id=5f3635bc-586c-e411-8238-02bfa56e2a24.

GAO says SBA needs to monitor WOSB certifiers and improve annual eligibility examinations

November 19, 2014 by

In a November 7, 2014 report the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the SBA performs minimal oversight of third-party certifiers of women-owned small businesses and has yet to develop procedures that provide reasonable assurance that only eligible businesses obtain contracts set-aside for women-owned small businesses.

Background

Businesses have two options to certify their eligibility for the federal government’s women-owned small business (WOSB) program. Whether self-certifying at no cost or using the fee-based services of an approved third-party certifier, businesses must attest that they are a WOSB or an economically disadvantaged women-owned small business (EDWOSB). Businesses also must submit documents supporting their attestation to a repository the Small Business Administration (SBA) maintains (required documents vary depending on certification type), and, if they obtain a third-party certification, to the certifier.

Findings

In its examination of the certification process, the GAO found that:

  • SBA generally has not reviewed certifier performance or developed or implemented procedures for such reviews, including determining whether certifiers inform businesses of the no-cost self-certification option, a requirement in the agency’s agreement with certifiers.
  • SBA also has not completed or implemented procedures to review the monthly reports that third-party certifiers must submit.

In its report, the GAO says that without ongoing monitoring and oversight of the activities and performance of third-party certifiers, the SBA cannot reasonably assure that certifiers fulfill the requirements of the agreement.

This finding is bolstered by the fact that, in 2012 and 2013, the SBA found that more than 40 percent of businesses (that previously received contracts) it examined for program eligibility should not have attested they were WOSBs or EDWOSBs at the time of the SBA’s review. SBA officials speculated about possible reasons for the results, including businesses not providing adequate documentation or becoming ineligible after contracts were awarded, but the SBA has not assessed the results of the examinations to determine the actual reasons for the high numbers of businesses found ineligible. The SBA also has not completed or implemented procedures to conduct eligibility examinations. According to federal standards for internal control, agencies should have documented procedures, conduct monitoring, and ensure that any review findings and deficiencies are resolved promptly. As a result of inadequate monitoring and controls, potentially ineligible businesses may continue to incorrectly certify themselves as WOSBs, increasing the risk that they may receive contracts for which they are not eligible.

The GAO finds that the WOSB program has had a limited effect on federal contracting opportunities available to WOSBs. Set-aside contracts under the program represent less than 1 percent of all federal contract obligations to women-owned small businesses. The Departments of Defense and Homeland Security and the General Services Administration collectively accounted for the majority of the $228.9 million in set-aside obligations awarded under the program between April 2011 and May 2014. Contracting officers, business owners, and industry advocates with whom GAO spoke identified challenges to program use and suggested potential changes that might increase program use, including allowing sole-source contracts rather than requiring at least two businesses to compete and expanding the list of 330 industries in which WOSBs and EDWOSBs were eligible for a set-aside.

A summary of the GAO’s report can be downloaded at: http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666430.pdf

The full report can be downloaded at: http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666431.pdf 

Army seeks sources for advertising contract, to hold industry day

November 18, 2014 by

Army contracting officials are seeking responses to a sources sought synopsis for evaluation of capabilities by advertising and marketing agencies to provide a full range of advertising services for the Army.  In addition, an industry day forum is planned for Dec. 3, 2014, in San Antonio, TX.

Officials from the Mission and Installation Contracting Command posted a sources sought synopsis for Solicitation W9124J-15-R-0001 on Nov. 4 on the Federal Business Opportunities website seeking responses from interested large and small business representatives through Dec. 19.  This may be viewed at: https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&tab=core&id=e1981aa070b37a75c069f6fbe3ac07f2&_cview=0

In conjunction with the sources sought period, contracting officials are holding an industry day forum for the Army advertising and marketing program Dec. 3 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Fort Sam Houston Golf Course located at 1050 Harry Wurzbach Road in San Antonio. The forum serves as a market research tool for assessing capabilities and provides an opportunity for interested industry representatives to network, according to LaTischa Castro, a contracting officer with the MICC-Fort Sam Houston contracting office.  Registration instructions for the industry day appear at: http://usarmy.vo.llnwd.net/e2/c/images/2014/11/13/372014/original.jpg

The industry day forum will allow industry partners a chance to meet with MICC contracting professionals during one-on-one sessions as well as learn about the Army Marketing and Research Group mission. AMRG is a field operating agency of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs in Alexandria, Virginia.

MICC officials plan to award a contract to a full-service advertising agency by March 2016. Those services include planning, designing, creating, producing, placing and executing marketing, special events and advertising campaigns.

All inquiries regarding the market research for this contract should be directed to the MICC via email at lim.liamnull@pma-hsf-ccim.xbm.ccim-cca.asbj.ymrasu or by calling (210) 466-2147.

Open house and industry day to be held by Fort Benning on Dec. 17

November 18, 2014 by

Fort Benning, Georgia, is hosting a dual-purpose event on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, that should be of keen interest to businesses interested in doing businesses with this military installation.

Benning’s Mission and Installation Contracting Command (MICC) is holding a Small Business Forecast Open House in the morning.  This will be followed by a separate afternoon Maneuver Center of Excellence (MCoE) Industry Day.

At the morning event MICC officials will present their anticipated forecast on various opportunities for 2015.  The afternoon session will provide industry with an update on acquisition planning for the future procurement of MCoE Infantry/Armor School services.

Here is the day’s outline:

Date: Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Times:

  • Forecast Open House – 9:00am to 11:30pm
  • MCoE Industry Day – 1:00pm to 3:30pm

Event Sign-Ins: 30 minutes prior to each event

Location: McGinnis-Wickham Hall, Room E106, 1 Karker Street (Building 4), Fort Benning, GA 31905

There is no fee to attend, but ADVANCE REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED!

To reserve your seat, please respond to this notice by one of the three registration options listed on the attached Registration Form. One form per attendee please!

The Point of Contact (POC) for this event is Mr. Stephen Magner, Small Business Specialist and small business advocate for MICC Fort Benning, Georgia.  Mr. Magner can be reached at
706-545-2274 or email at lim.liamnull@vic.rengam.a.nehpets.

A map of the area can be downloaded by clicking here.

 

VA plans national conference in Atlanta on Dec. 9 thru 11

November 18, 2014 by

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is holding its 2014 National Veterans Small Business Engagement (NVSBE) conference on December 9-11, 2014 in Atlanta.

The VA conference is designed to help small businesses — especially veteran owned and service-disabled veteran owned small businesses (VOSBs and SDVOSBs) — expand contacts and build partnerships to maximize opportunities in the Federal and commercial marketplace.

This event connects small businesses with government and commercial procurement decision makers (PDMs) interested in working with VOSBs. In addition, the VA is planning to expand the attendance of commercial customers looking for VOSBs, and match Federal requirements with VOSB capabilities.

Businesses attending this event can expect to:

  • Engage with PDMs from Federal and commercial customers to build relationships to enhance your chances of winning procurement contracts.
  • Learn about Federal and commercial opportunities specific to your industry at Business Requirement Sessions led by PDMs.
  • Take part in Networking Roundtables to personally demonstrate and pitch your business capabilities to PDMs from Federal agencies and commercial customers.
  • Network with other businesses to discover subcontracting and teaming opportunities.
  • Attend learning sessions highlighting business-building topics such as:
    • Competitive Strategies for Winning Federal Business
    • Building Strong Corporate Relationships
    • Marketing Your Small Business Capabilities

When registering for the event, attendees will be asked to answer the following two questions which will help conference organizers arrange for participation by the right contracting officers and program managers:

  • Who are you most interested in meeting at NVSBE? (Please provide name, title, and organization.)
  • What learning sessions would you like us to provide?

Registration begins September 1, 2014.  For more information about NVSBE, visit www.nvsbe.com.

Feel free to email your feedback and questions to vog.avnull@EBSVN.

Company using 60 business names and 50 websites sued by FL attorney general for misleading businesses about GSA Schedule process

November 18, 2014 by

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office filed a complaint on Nov. 5, 2014 against an Oldsmar, Florida-based company allegedly misleading small businesses by claiming to be the U.S. General Services Administration or implying a government affiliation to offer a five-year GSA contract.

Federal Verification Co, Inc., doing business as GSA Applications, conducts business through more than 60 business names and more than 50 websites. The company and manager of the businesses, James Dale Sprecher, allegedly used telemarketing to solicit small businesses and guarantee them a GSA contract within a short time frame, 90 days to six months, for an upfront fee ranging typically from $5,000 to $8,000.

A GSA contract allows a business to sell goods and services to the federal government at pre-negotiated pricing.

The Florida Attorney General’s Office reportedly received more than 200 complaints about the defendants’ unfair business practices.

The Complaint alleges violations of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. According to the complaint the company allegedly:

  • Makes false and misleading representations as to the likelihood of a customer successfully obtaining a GSA contract, including assuring the business that it qualifies for a five-year to 20-year GSA contract award;
  • Makes false and misleading representations assuring government-guaranteed minimum revenues upon a contract award and a 100 percent guaranteed return on investment;
  • Unfairly collects advance fees, up to $10,000, from customers before services begin; and
  • Enrolls customers without diligent review of their circumstances, adequate disclosure of requirements pertaining to the customer or its products or services, or regard for the customer’s meaningful probability or being awarded a GSA contract.

More details on the company’s alleged practices can be found in a copy of the Florida Attorney General’s complaint which is posted here: http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/KCAN-9QKLP3/$file/GSAComplaint.pdf

Source: http://www.myfloridalegal.com/newsrel.nsf/newsreleases/150557BE6B8070AF85257D87006CAFD3 

GTPAC to host vendor matchmaker with multiple agencies and primes

November 18, 2014 by

Save the date – Thursday, January 22, 2015.  That’s the day that the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) will be hosting a NCMA logovendor matchmaking event being sponsored by the Atlanta chapter of the National Contract Management Association (NCMA).

NCMA s dedicated to the professional growth and educational advancement of procurement and acquisition personnel worldwide. NCMA strives to serve and inform the profession it represents and to offer opportunities for the open exchange of ideas in neutral forums.

Federal agencies expected to participate include: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the General Services Administration (GSA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Federal prime contractors expected to participate include: Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, ICF International, RTI International, WYLE, Westat, Deloitte, and DB Consulting Group, Inc.

The event will be held at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), and is expected to attract as many as 200 Georgia businesses.

Vendors will have the opportunity to be matched, based on NAICS codes, with federal agencies and primes for 15-minute appointments.  Agencies will be announcing their upcoming contracting initiatives for the new year.

Watch this space for an announcement about exact location, time, and registration details.  NOTE: As of Jan. 16, 2015, this event is booked to capacity, and no further registrations are being accepted.

California company’s sales tactics raise red flags among veteran-owned contractors

November 17, 2014 by

Some in the veteran-owned contracting community are voicing concerns about implications made by a California company that its new offering provides a competitive advantage that doesn’t actually exist.

Los Angeles-based Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp., which did not respond to a request for comment, launched 10 Veteran VERIFIED, “a proprietary business verification and authentication service that verifies both military service and veteran business ownership,” according to the company’s press release.

“Once the verification process is completed, a military serviceperson can showcase his or her veteran status sticker in storefronts; a point of sale; on the business website; or through social media.”

What caught the attention of some in the contracting community, however, are claims that the verification could improve a company’s chances of landing contracts.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2014/11/14/california-companys-sales-tactics-raise-red-flags.html?page=all

 

GTPAC receives funding commitments to enter into 29th year of service to Georgia businesses

November 14, 2014 by

In 2015, the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) will enter into its 29th year of continuous operation, serving Georgia businesses with assistance in winning and managing government contracts.

That’s made possible based on a 50-50 funding match between the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and state funding made available through Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2).  With financial support from Georgia Tech and DLA, GTPAC is one of the longest, continuously operating PTAC’s in the nation.  GTPAC is one of 98 PTACs operating in the United States, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.

On Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014, the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) received a fully executed award document from the DLA ensuring that funding would be made available to Georgia Tech for another year of procurement technical assistance center (PTAC) operations in the state of Georgia.

Of the nation’s PTACs, the Georgia Tech program has one of the strongest track records.  In the past 10 years, for example, GTPAC has supported Georgia businesses in winning between $500 million and $1 billion in government contracts annually.

In calendar year 2013, GTPAC’s clients won 4,952 government prime contracts and 593 subcontracts worth a total of $661 million.  GTPAC counseled, instructed, and provided bid opportunities to 2,908 businesses across the State of Georgia last year.  GTPAC also conducted 160 classes and participated in 62 events state-wide where more than 6,000 business people received instruction on how to effectively compete for government contracts.  In all, GTPAC staff members conducted 8,377 counseling sessions with Georgia-based small businesses in 2013 as well as 395 counseling sessions with large businesses.

GTPAC maintains staff in Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Gainesville, Carrollton, Savannah and Warner Robins.  All businesses in Georgia are eligible to receive GTPAC’s services at no cost.  The program provides Georgia businesses with counseling, training, and a complete set of tools to research and identify government contracting opportunities.  For contact information, and to register for any GTPAC class statewide, visit the program’s web site at www.gtpac.org.

An interview with the Pentagon’s small-business director

November 14, 2014 by

Andre Gudger has heard the argument many times that, as he puts it, “small businesses don’t build planes and ships and nuclear weapons.”

It’s his job — or at least part of it — to change that perception.

A Maryland native, Gudger has been the director of the Defense Department’s Office of Small Business Programs since 2011. During the three years prior to his arrival, the share of the agency’s contracts awarded to small companies had shrunk every year. Moreover, in the more than three decades since federal small-business contracting goals had been put in place, the agency had never once accomplished them.

In the three years since, even amid budgetary constraints, small-business participation in Defense Department projects has expanded each year. In fact, this past year, the agency for the first time eclipsed not only its small-business goal, but also the federal government’s target, awarding roughly 23.4 percent of defense contracting dollars, representing about $53 billion, to small employers.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/on-small-business/operation-small-business-an-interview-with-the-pentagons-small-business-director/2014/10/23/216d4cc8-5a12-11e4-b812-38518ae74c67_story.html