Federal contractors’ pain won’t vanish after shutdown ends

October 18, 2013 by

The U.S. government shutdown may hurt contractors long after Congress and President Barack Obama find a way to open federal offices and resolve the debt ceiling dispute.

Federal agencies award more than $500 billion a year, or a rough average of $1.4 billion a day, to tens of thousands of contractors. With each day of the partial shutdown, the pipeline gets more clogged by late payments, halted work and canceled solicitations for new contracts. That bottleneck may affect contractors’ fourth-quarter results.

“Even if the government suddenly opens for business, we can’t expect everything to get back to normal right away,” said Larry Allen, president of Allen Federal Business Partners, a McLean, Virginia-based consulting company. “This is going to be a wave that makes its way through the government’s operational infrastructure probably at least until the end of the calendar year.”

If the shutdown continues through the end of the week, it will be difficult for big contractors to make up for lost revenue before the end of the year, said Michael Lewis, managing director at McLean, Virginia-based Silverline Group LLC, a strategic consulting firm for aerospace and defense.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-09/federal-contractors-pain-won-t-vanish-after-shutdown-end.html.

Janitorial supply and maintenance equipment contract opportunities designated for GSA Schedule-holders

October 17, 2013 by

The General Services Administration (GSA) has just announced two contract opportunities for bulk purchases, one for janitorial supplies and the other for maintenance equipment.

If you are a GSA Schedule contractor, these opportunities may be of interest to you.  In order to bid on the janitorial supplies contract, you must be an existing holder of a GSA Schedule contract in categories 51V, 73 or 75.  In order to bid on the maintenance equipment contract, you must hold GSA Schedule 51V.

These new opportunities are part of GSA’s “strategic sourcing initiative” whereby multiple Government agencies agree to pool their contracting needs in certain categories of purchasing.  The two solicitations now open for bid involve products that cost the Government more than $1 billion annually, and GSA estimates that strategic sourcing will reduce the Government’s costs by 10-20 percent.

The departments of the Army, Navy and Air Force have committed to use GSA’s strategic sourcing solution for janitorial and sanitation supplies, as did the Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, Treasury and Energy departments, and others.  Many of those departments also committed to the other solution GSA announced — the one for maintenance, repair and operations supplies.

GSA will issue blanket purchase agreements (BPAs) to multiple contractors under both of these solicitations.  Under BPAs, agencies can repeatedly buy the same supplies or services from a contractor without having to redo the procurement process each time.

For both the janitorial and maintenance solicitations, GSA says it is reserving a majority of the awards for small businesses and service-disabled-veteran-owned small businesses.

You can find the solicitations posted as follows:

* RFQ for janitorial and sanitation – https://interact.gsa.gov/node/62442

* RFQ for maintenance, repair and operations – https://interact.gsa.gov/blog/request-quote-rfq-issued-fssi-mro

Right now, the deadline for responses to these solicitations is Nov. 12, 2013, although you should always check the web sites listed above for any changes.

Questions about either of these solicitations are due not later than Oct. 22, 2013. For questions regarding the janitorial/sanitation RFQ or attachments, contact JoAnn Stanley at vog.asgnull@yelnats.nnaoj and Steve Nieswiadomy at vog.asgnull@ymodaiwsein.evets.  For questions regarding the maintenance equipment RFQ or attachments, please contact Glenda Lambert at vog.asgnull@trebmal.adnelg and Shaun Hankton at vog.asgnull@notknah.nuahs.

‘10,000 Small Businesses’ program now offered nationwide

October 7, 2013 by

Goldman Sachs has announced that its 10,000 Small Businesses initiative will now be offered to small businesses nationally, enabling small business owners from across the country to participate in the program. Small business owners in all 50 states can now apply to 10,000 Small Businesses, and accepted small business owners will receive intensive training and advice from business experts and peers at Babson College in Massachusetts.  To date, the program had been open to businesses in 15 markets across the United States.

10,000 Small Businesses offers qualified business owners:

  • The opportunity to create a customized growth plan that includes financial management, people management, negotiations and marketing.
  • One-on-one business counseling and a network of support from other small business owners as well as leaders in the business world.

The national program will be delivered through two, four-day sessions held at Babson College, the leading entrepreneurial school in the country for the last 17 years according to U.S. News and World Report, and 8 hours of coursework and interactive sessions per week delivered online for a total of 10 weeks. The costs will be covered by 10,000 Small Businesses.

“When you give small businesses owners the tools they need to grow their businesses, they create jobs and strengthen both the local and national economy,” said Lloyd C. Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs. “We are pleased to be able to expand the reach of this program to help small businesses grow in every community in the country.”

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is a $500 million program that aims to unlock the growth and job-creation potential of 10,000 small businesses across the United States through greater access to business education, financial capital and business support services. The program is based on the broadly held view of leading experts that greater access to this combination of education, capital and support services best addresses barriers to growth for small businesses.  10,000 Small Businesses is guided by an Advisory Council co-chaired by Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein, Warren Buffett, and Dr. Michael Porter of Harvard Business School. The National Urban League, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Babson College are also represented on the Advisory Council, among other groups.

“Babson is proud to extend the innovative entrepreneurship curriculum we designed for 10,000 Small Businesses to small businesses across the country,” said Babson President Kerry Healey. “The model we have created brings together Babson’s unique methodology, our experience working around the world with people growing businesses and our knowledge of how best to deliver effective blended learning programs. This educational experience is tailor-made for small businesses seeking to grow and create much needed jobs.”

The program is designed for small business owners with limited resources who have a business poised for growth. Business owners interested in applying must demonstrate a commitment to growing their business and creating jobs in their community. Businesses must be in operation for at least two years, have revenues of at least $150,000 in the most recent fiscal year and have a minimum of four employees.

Across the United States, initial results have seen that just six months after graduation approximately 63% of participants reported an increase in revenues, 47% have reported creating net new jobs and 76% are doing business with each other. The program also has a 99% completion rate.

Identification and selection of qualified businesses is led by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC).

“The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program provides the training, tools, and relationships to help local entrepreneurs and their businesses grow and create a self-reinforcing cycle of economic opportunity,” said Michael E. Porter, founder of ICIC and Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at Harvard Business School.

The program currently offers education and capital in nine sites including Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia and Salt Lake City. Business owners based in, or near, one of these cities may be referred to the local program. Capital is also provided by local nonprofit lenders to businesses in six additional sites: Kentucky, Montana, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington.

Applications to participate in 10,000 Small Businesses at Babson College are due October 18, 2013 and can be found at http://www.10ksbapply.com/.

Federal rule mandates small business updates, imposes monetary penalties

September 24, 2013 by

Small businesses need to pay closer attention than ever to their “small business size status.”

New rules from the Small Business Administration (SBA), recently published in the Federal Register, require that small businesses:

  1. Accurately maintain their size status with the federal government, and
  2. Face substantial financial penalties, if willful misrepresentation of size or socioeconomic status is proven.

What actions are expected to be taken by small businesses?

First and foremost, it’s imperative that every small business update its profile in the System for Award Management (SAM) at least once a year.  A small business failing to perform annual updating will no longer be identified in the SAM database as a small business.  Lack of updating also will cause a firm’s other socioeconomic designations (such as SDB, 8(a), HUBZone, WOSB, EDWOSB, VOSB and SDVOSB) to be dropped from SAM.   Losing these designations in SAM potentially means losing eligibility for federal contracts set-aside for various small business classifications.  Firms not identified as small businesses also will not likely be considered as potential subcontractors by prime contractors who are required to meet small business subcontracting goals.

The possible penalty for a business misrepresenting itself as a small business has never been as severe as now.  If the SBA finds that a business “willfully misrepresented” itself as a small business in order to win a federal contract, the agency can cancel the contract and impose a penalty equal to the total dollar value of the contract.  Previously, when a contractor misrepresented its size or small business status, the contractor had to forfeit its contract and pay back profits associated with the contract.

The bottom line is this.  Businesses should make sure they update SAM at least annually.  In addition, businesses should expect to see a new certification form in bid and proposal solicitations, requiring each small business to certify its status as a small business along with any other socioeconomic classification the firm may hold.  The form must be signed by an authorized official.  If a federal solicitation does not contain a certification section, offerors (bidders and proponents) are expected to prepare a signed certification of their own to be included in their offer.


New guidebook reveals how government and industry select small businesses

September 12, 2013 by

There’s a brand new resource available to you — free of charge — courtesy of the national community of procurement technical assistance centers (PTACs).

Braddock’s The Winning Edge: How Government and Corporate Buyers Select a Small Business Supplier – 2014 Edition is a practical guide designed for small to medium sized businesses that provides important insights into the decision-making process within the government and large corporations, with an emphasis on the evaluation and selection stages.

Topics include:

  • Overview of the government procurement process
  • How government procurement officers evaluate a small business supplier
  • How small businesses can identify and win subcontracting opportunities
  • Characteristics that corporate buyers are really looking for in a small business supplier
  • Next step resources

A special electronic edition of Braddock’s The Winning Edge is available at no charge to PTAC clients thanks to the generous support of Microsoft Corporation.  Download your free copy today by clicking right here.

We hope you find this resource useful.   As always, we at the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) stand ready to answer any questions you may have and help you take the next steps in your government contracting pursuits.

3-day course covers all federal small business programs

September 11, 2013 by

The Contracting Education Academy at Georgia Tech is offering a three-day course delving into the intricacies of the government’s Small Business Programs, including efforts to improve small business participation in prime contracting and subcontracting.   The course will be held Oct. 29-31, 2013 in the world-class Global Learning Center on Georgia Tech’s campus in midtown Atlanta.

Known as “CON 260B – Small Business Programs,” the course is a Defense Acquisition University (DAU) level 2 contracting course that goes a long way to ensure that those in the acquisition field – DoD and non-DoD agencies alike – are more aware of and responsive to small business concerns.  Historically, this class was designed for small business specialists, however The Academy has fashioned this class so that it is applicable to all interested parties – senior executives, managers, contracting officers and contracting staff, small business specialists from all agencies, small business advocates, and large and small business concerns.

A review of DAU’s prerequisite course, CON 260A, is included in the Contracting Academy’s course.

The Contracting Academy is committed to supporting the latest Department of Defense (DoD) directive aimed at achieving higher levels of small business participation in DoD contracting.

On February 10, 2012 Ashton B. Carter, the Deputy Secretary of Defense released a memorandum regarding “Advancing Small Business Contracting Goals.”  The memo (seen here) reiterates how essential small businesses are to our nation’s economic recovery because they produce more jobs, represent a major source of innovative solutions to warfighter needs that help maintain our status as the world’s finest military, and contribute more to gross domestic output.

Carter’s memo identifies all leaders who manage budgets and allocates funds for contracts in addition to contracting officers as being collectively responsible for achieving the 23 percent goal.  To ensure that this collective responsibility is met, Carter announced that senior executives will be rigorously evaluated and held accountable.  A mandatory performance requirement for supporting this goal includes language that “establishes a command or program climate that is responsive to small business concerns.”

The Academy’s CON 260B is very relevant to the training needs of everyone involved in the process of seeing to it that small businesses participate in government contracting and subcontracting opportunities.  This includes, of course, small businesses themselves.

The Academy offers CON 260B, a 3-day course, as an open enrollment course which virtually ensures seating for all registrants.  Register here for the next CON 260B – Small Business Programs class at Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

2.1 CEUs are granted to those successfully completing this course.

This 3-day course is also available for instruction at your site.  For more information or to make arrangements, call 404-894-6109 or email ude.hcetag.ymedacAgnitcartnoCnull@ofni.

How to win government contracts the ‘EZ’ way

September 10, 2013 by

Note: Last year, the Small Business Administration launched an experimental web site called “EZ-RFP” to solicit streamlined bids for some low-cost technology projects as a way of assisting small, high-growth technology firms to do business with the federal government.  This article reports on the status of this pilot project.

A novice might think The MIS Department, a Chicago technology firm, would have no trouble winning government contracts.

The company has a proven track record engineering complex computer systems and building websites. It has done the arduous legwork of getting authorized to provide services to the federal government, the state of Illinois, Cook County and the city of Chicago. It’s even filed paperwork for 8(a) certification, which allows the company to compete for a special class of contracts reserved for minority-owned small businesses.

And, get this: Company president Rajeev Chopra was chief information officer for President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, responsible for keeping a suite of information technology tools up and running for more than 2 million staffers and volunteers across 813 field offices.

But even with all that going for it, MIS, which stands for Management Information Systems, for years was unable to take a government contract to the finish line.

Why? Most of the company’s dozen or so employees were busy, for one thing, working on IT contracts with Chicago businesses and political groups in Washington that Chopra encountered during the campaign. That left only Devlin Kane, director of business development, to try to drum up government work.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.nextgov.com/emerging-tech/2013/08/how-win-government-contracts-ez-way/69704


Air Force is on-board with OASIS

September 4, 2013 by

The list of Air Force operations eyeing the General Services Administration’s One Acquisition Solutions for Integrated Services contracts is growing.

The Air Force Space and Missile Command, according to an Aug. 22 GSA blog post, has officially said it wants to use the dedicated Small Business OASIS contact (OASIS SB) instead of its own SMC Technical Support program. GSA estimated the value of this commitment, which will encompass virtually all Systems Engineering and Technical Assistance (SETA) activities at Los Angeles Air Force Base, at $472 million over five years.

On July 31, GSA released two OASIS requests for proposals. One is an unrestricted contract that includes a 50-percent small business subcontracting goal.  OASIS SB is a 100-percent small business set-aside.

Two other Air Force groups — the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio and the Air Force Test and Evaluation Center at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida — have publicly announced their decision to use OASIS SB, according to a GSA spokeswoman. Those commitments and the latest announcement combine to represent an estimated value of $1.3 billion per year for the OASIS small business community.

Keep reading this article at: http://fcw.com/articles/2013/08/23/air-force-oasis-gsa.aspx

USDA hosts rural small business event in Macon on Sept. 24th

August 23, 2013 by

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is hosting Rural Small Business Connections Training in Macon, GA on Sept. 24, 2013.

This training event will provide small businesses with a series of educational networking sessions and opportunities on how to build capacity and successfully do business with USDA and other Federal agencies.

Conference attendees will have an opportunity to participate in a full day of learning discussions led by program and small business procurement officials from USDA, and other Federal agencies.

The event will be held on Tuesday, September 24, 2013, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. on the campus of Middle Georgia State College (Macon Campus), 100 College Station Drive, Macon, GA 31206.

There is no fee to participate, however, pre-registration is preferred, with onsite registration available. To pre-register, please send your request to vog.adsu.mdnull@fnoczibllams.ubdso no later than September 19, 2013.

For more information, click here to download a flyer.




Small businesses bid on fewer contracts over the last 5 years, survey says

August 22, 2013 by

Bidding activity from small businesses for federal contracts dropped  significantly over the last 5 years, an August American Express government  contracting survey  says.

The company sent surveys to all small businesses registered within the System  for Award Management and performed on a contract in the last 5 years, receiving  684 responses.

Survey authors say the data shows small business submitting fewer bids or  proposals, with the average annual number dropping by 72 percent for prime  contract bids since 2007, the survey says. In 2012, small business respondents  submitted on average 7.9 bids or proposals, as opposed to 19.5 in 2007.

One reason for a decrease in bidding activity may be reductions in government  spending, the survey says.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/small-businesses-bid-fewer-contracts-over-last-5-years-survey-says/2013-08-14

Download the report at: http://assets.fiercemarkets.net/public/sites/govit/amexsurvey.pdf