Legislation signed to deliver more government contracts to small businesses

January 7, 2013 by

Washington’s elected officials are taking new steps to direct more government work to small businesses, just as contractors are bracing for the threat of sequestration.

President Obama on Tuesday signed as part of the military spending budget a series of provisions to help small firms compete for more federal contracts and ensure that agencies take their annual small business contracting goals more seriously. Most notably, the law requires that small business contracting performance be part of employee reviews for senior agency officials, which factor into their consideration for bonuses and promotions.

The change comes after the federal government missed its stated small business contracting goal (23 percent of total procurement across all agencies) for the eleventh straight year in 2012. Though lawmakers stopped short of imposing penalties like reducing budgets or senior level compensation for agencies that fall short of the annual goals, as had been previously proposed in both chambers, this is the first time they have provided formal incentives to encourage agencies to deliver on their annual pledge to small businesses.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/on-small-business/obama-signs-law-intended-to-deliver-more-government-contracts-to-small-businesses/2013/01/04/eb452e10-55f7-11e2-bf3e-76c0a789346f_print.html.

Deadline to comment nears as major changes to US DOT’s DBE program loom

December 19, 2012 by

There is a federal Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) pending that could spell major changes in the way the U.S. Department of Transportation administers its disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) program.  DBE requirements are a part of all contracting performed by the nation’s airports, state highway departments, and transit systems.

Some predict that if the new rules go into effect as currently proposed, DBEs will see a decrease in contract opportunities and an increase in the burden on DBE-certified firms.

The deadline for comments to the USDOT proposed rule was originally November 5, 2012, but was extended to 11:59pm on December 24, 2012.  The NPRM can be found at http://www.regulations.gov/?sms_ss=gmail&at_xt=4d46cf13eca091f6,0#!docketDetail;D=DOT-OST-2012-0147;dct=FR%2BPR%2BN%2BO%2BSR.

DBE firms and businesses who could potentially benefit from DBE contracting are being urged by several advocacy groups to submit comments by the deadline.  Contractor trade associations already have been active in submitting comments, pro and con.

The following is a summary of the most significant proposed changes:

Rebuttal of Economic Disadvantage: The most noteworthy proposed revision is USDOT’s desire to broaden the areas which automatically rebut a presumption of disadvantage.  Currently, a Personal Net Worth (“PNW”) exceeding $1.32 million automatically rebuts the presumption of economic disadvantage, but a local Office of Minority and Women Business Enterprises (an OMWBE operated by an airport, highway department or transit system) may rebut the presumption if it has a “reasonable basis to believe the individual is not socially or economically disadvantaged.”  USDOT proposes including, as part of that rule, a second statement taken from USDOT’s guidance (which is currently not an official mandate):

  • If the person demonstrates an ability to accumulate substantial wealth, has unlimited growth potential, or has not experienced or has not had to overcome impediments to obtaining access to financing, markets, and resources, the individual’s presumption of economic disadvantage is rebutted, even if it individual’s PNW is less than $1.32 million.

USDOT states that with this language, it is appropriate for recipients (certifying agencies such as OMWBE) to review the total fair market value of the individual’s assets and determine if that level appears to be “substantial” and indicates an ability to accumulate substantial wealth.  The purported purpose of this provision is to give recipients a tool to exclude an individual who, in overall asset terms, is what a reasonable person would consider to be a wealthy individual, even if their liabilities bring their PNW below the $1.32 million cap.  Notably, USDOT also seeks comment as to whether a more “bright-line” approach would be preferable, such as saying that someone whose Adjusted Gross Income on his or her Federal income tax return was over $1 million for two or three years in a row would lose the presumption of economic disadvantage, regardless of PNW.

New Personal Net Worth Form: USDOT proposes a newly designed PNW statement required of all applicants.  The new form would include all assets owned by the individual, including ownership interests, personal assets, and the value of the personal residence.    USDOT also seeks comment on whether the spouse of an applicant owner should have to file a PNW statement.

Transfers:  USDOT proposes to directly add a paragraph into the regulation restating the requirement that assets transferred to an immediate family member for less than fair market value within the last two years can be counted toward an individual’s PNW calculation.  USDOT also proposes that transfers from business owners to the companies be counted toward the owner’s PNW to avoid artificially depressing that owner’s PNW.

Certification Related Provisions:  USDOT also proposes several changes to how ownership and control are determined.  Specifically, the rule will require applicants to submit additional proof as to the sufficiency of their initial capital contribution and the circumstances of any funding streams to the firm since its inception, including collateral value, proof of asset ownership, and more stringent guidelines relating to deposits made by the applicant.

Good Faith Efforts:  USDOT adds some clarification for establishing Good Faith Efforts to meet the DBE goal.  USDOT states that prime contractor bidders whose bid includes a promise to include DBEs after the contract awarded is not to be considered as a good faith effort. USDOT proposes that bidders would have two options: (1) bidders may submit Good Faith Effort documentation along with original bids, or (2) Bidders may submit good faith documentation within one day of being notified of their winning bid.

Counting Trucking Operations:  USDOT proposes to revise the current requirements for how much of a DBE trucking company’s involvement can be counted towards a DBE goal. The proposal would give credit to a DBE that leases trucks from non-DBE entities but uses its own employees as drivers.  This change is already implemented in many states.

There are several ways to submit comments on these proposed rule changes.  The easiest way is to simply file comments online at the regulations.gov web site.   Go to www.regulations.gov and then type in docket number OST–2012–0147.   This will connect you to a web page where you can type-in and/or upload your comments. Be sure to include the docket number in any submission you make.

Please note that all comments, including any personal information you provide, will become part of the docket and will be publicly posted without change at www.regulations.gov.

Small business size standards increased for two major industry categories

December 19, 2012 by

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has published two final rules revising size definitions for small businesses in two broad industry categories: (1) Information and (2) Administrative and Support, Waste Management and Remediation Services.

SBA increased the revenue-based size standards for 15 industries and retained the current revenue-based size standards for five industries in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Sector 51: Information.  SBA will review the employee-based size standards within this sector at a later date.  As a result of these revisions, the SBA estimates that up to 500 additional firms will become eligible for SBA’s loan and federal procurement programs.

Small Business Size Standards: Information (RIN 3245-AG26)
www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=SBA-2011-0017-0005

SBA also increased the revenue-based size standards for 37 industries and retained revenue-based size standards for seven industries in the NAICS Sector 56: Administrative and Support, Waste Management and Remediation Services.  SBA will review the employee-based size standards within this sector at a later date.  Up to 2,700 additional firms will become eligible for SBA’s loan and federal procurement programs because of these revisions, according to the SBA..

Small Business Size Standards: Administrative and Support, Waste Management and Remediation Services (RIN 3245-AG27)
www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=SBA-2011-0018-0023

SBA’s Chief Counsel for Advocacy to speak at Dec. 6 TAG forum

December 3, 2012 by

Dr. Winslow Sargeant, Chief Counsel for Advocacy with the U.S. Small Business Administration, is scheduled to speak at the Technology Association of Georgia’s Dec. 6, 2012 lunchtime forum.

As a co-founder of Aanetcom, a “fabless” semiconductor integrated circuit design company, Dr. Sargeant is all too familiar with the different rules and regulations small businesses adhere to on a day-to-day basis. Having designed, implemented and sold Aanetcom to PMC-Sierra, a publicly traded company, in March 2000, Dr. Sargeant will speak on and draw from his experiences as an entrepreneur and small business owner.

His discussion will highlight the Office of Advocacy’s mission to reduce burdensome rules and regulations on small businesses and the important role that the federal government plays in supporting small business. The conversation will focus on startup technologies and will also touch on the Advocacy’s new “entrepreneurship/innovation” initiative.

This event will be held in the Hodges Room, 3rd Floor, Centergy Building, 75 – 5th St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30308.

The Dec. 6 program agenda is:

11:30-12:00 Lunch12:00-12:45 Presentation12:45-1:00 Q&A with Audience

For more information, contact Heather Miner: gro.enilnogatnull@rehtaeh.   Or, register on-line at: https://s07.123signup.com/servlet/SignUpMember?PG=1521974182300&P=15219741911423094000&Info.    TAG members may attend free of charge.  There is a fee for non-members to attend.

Doing business with GSA webinar March 27th

December 3, 2012 by

The U.S. General Services Administration’s Office of Small Utilization invites you to attend an informative online webinar where you can learn the federal business ropes from marketing to promoting sustainability.

GSA’s Office of Small Business Utilization advocates for small, minority, Veteran, HUBZone, and Women business owners.

This webinar will focus on the steps to “Doing Business with GSA” through contracting options, sustainability, and more, including:

  • GSA’s procurement policies and methods
  • Accessing government solicitations
  • Marketing your products/services
  • GSA Schedules Program Pros and Cons
  • GSA Mentor Protege Program
  • GSA and Sustainability

The “Doing Business with GSA – An Overview” webinar will be held Wednesday, March 27, 2013, from 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM EDT.

Space is limited. Reserve your Webinar seat now at: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/479346079

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

System Requirements:

  • PC-based attendees:
    Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server
  • Mac® -based attendees:
    Required: Mac OS® X 10.6 or newer
  • Mobile attendees:
    Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android TM phone or Android tablet

For additional information, please contact Janice Bracey at vog.asgnull@yecarb.ecinaj

Federal contracting workshop for women and veteran-owned businesses to be held March 14th

December 3, 2012 by

The Georgia District office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is targeting women business owners and veterans for its next workshop focused on government wide procurement goals that encourage opportunities for small businesses.   This workshop will provide information on each program to become a successful entrepreneur in the contracting arena.

Who should attend: Women and Veterans who are interested in doing business with the federal government.

Topics to be covered:

  • Eligibility requirements for service disabled veteran-owned small business concerns.
  • Patriot Express Loan Program.
  • Eligibility requirements for the Women Owned Small Business Contracting Program.
  • How the WOSB Program can provide significant opportunities for women entrepreneurs.

Date: March 14, 2013

Time: 10:00 am to 12:30 pm

Location: U. S. Small Business Administration, Peachtree Center—Harris Tower, 233 Peachtree Street, Suite 1900, Atlanta, GA 30303

This workshop is free but pre-registration is required as seating is limited.

Registration: Go to www.sba.gov/ga.  Scroll down to the events calendar and click on the words “Click Here for the District Events.”  Then, select and register for the class you are interested in attending.

 

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service holds small business workshop on April 8

December 3, 2012 by

NOTE: This event is now full and no further registrations are being taken.  A small business outreach event is being held by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Atlanta on April 8, 2014, featuring several additional federal agencies.

This is a day-long event, beginning with presentations by officials from the Fish & Wildlife Service and other agencies regarding their upcoming contracting opportunities, small business initiatives, and available resources.

In the afternoon, attendees will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with representatives of the following agencies: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, USDA Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Small Business Administration.

Networking begins at 8:00 am.  General session presentations begin at 8:30 am and last until noon.  Lunch is on your own.  One-on-one appointments between attendees and agency representatives will be scheduled in 15-minute blocks between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm.  Registration for these 15-minute appointments will be opened a few days in advance of this event, and at that time advance registrants will receive an email directing them to another web site where they may schedule your appointments.

This event is being held at the Georgia Tech Research Institute’s Conference Center, located at 250 – 14th St., NW, Atlanta, GA 30318.  There is free parking in the deck adjacent to the GTRI Conference Center.

This event is being hosted by the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center.  GTPAC representatives will be on hand to conduct am aftermoon workshop on “preparing successful bids and proposals.”

Advance registration is REQUIRED.  To register, visit: http://gtpac.ecenterdirect.com/ConferenceDetail.action?ID=7549.  Registrations close at the end of the business day on Tuesday, April 2, 2013.

SBA to host small business certifications workshop on April 15th

December 3, 2012 by

The Atlanta District Office of the Small Business Administration (SBA) is holding a workshop for small business owners to overview the major public and private sector certifications that can be helpul in winning both government and commercial contracts.  Included is an overview of the popular SBA 8(a) Business Development Program as well as the Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) program, the Women-Owned Small Business program, and the Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses Federal Contract Program.   Since this is an overview, newly started and long-term existing small business owners are encouraged to attend.

Date: 04/15/2013

Time: 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.

Location:   U. S. Small Business Administration, Peachtree Center—Harris Tower, 233 Peachtree Street, N.E., Suite 1900, Atlanta, GA 30303

Presenter:  Mr. Lloyd Atkins, Business Consultant for the University of Georgia, Small Business Development Center, Office of Minority Business Development and SBA Georgia District Office employees.

Admission is free, but pre-registration is required as seating is limited.

Registration: Go to www.sba.gov/ga.  Scroll down to the events calendar and click on the words “Click Here for the District Events.”  Then, select and register for the class you are interested in attending.

Businessman falsely claiming to be service-disabled veteran sentenced to 7 years in prison

November 26, 2012 by

A federal judge on Monday sentenced a Blue Springs businessman who claimed to be a war hero to more than seven years in prison for taking federal contracts meant for disabled veterans.

Warren K. Parker pleaded guilty in April in Kansas federal court to two counts of fraud, one count of money laundering and one count of making a false statement, admitting he had falsely claimed to be a disabled veteran who had received three Silver Stars and three Purple Hearts.

Parker used a false resume to secure more than $6.7 million in contracts for his company, Silver Star Construction LLC, with the Department of Veterans Affairs and more than $748,000 in Defense Department contracts, according to the Kansas U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Investigators found that Parker served in the Missouri National Guard from 1963 to 1968. He never left Missouri while assigned to the guard or in the six months he spent on active duty, prosecutors said.

Keep reading this article at : http://www.kansascity.com/2012/11/05/3902135/fake-hero-from-blue-springs-headed.html.

 

Big firms edge out small businesses for billions in awards

November 16, 2012 by

Major U.S. companies including General Dynamics Corp. and Medtronic Inc. have received billions of dollars in federal government contracts that were supposed to go to small businesses

The BGOV Barometer shows that about $4.74 billion, or 45 percent, of more than $10.6 billion targeted for small businesses under government acquisition rules were won by bigger competitors in the year that ended Sept. 30, 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Companies that need the revenue the most are losing opportunities, said Margot Dorfman, chief executive officer of the Washington-based U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce.

“I think this particular issue should be one of the top concerns of the Small Business Administration and the president,” Dorfman said in an interview. “Fix it now. Let’s not wait.”

Keep reading this article at: http://about.bgov.com/2012/11/13/big-firms-edge-out-small-for-billions-in-awards-bgov-barometer/