SBA isn’t ready to boast yet, but all agencies have met their small biz contracting goals

April 28, 2014 by

For the first time in seven years, all federal agencies in fiscal 2013 met their goals of steering 23 percent of contracting to small businesses, according to panelists at an industry conference on Thursday, Apr. 24, 2014.

Emily Murphy, senior counsel for the House Small Business Committee, in a discussion on legislation and the Small Business Administration’s rulemaking progress, made the disclosure and suggested that SBA is tardy in making the announcement.

Her co-panelist, Kenneth Dodds, SBA’s director of policy, planning and liaisons, said the announcement “deadline is soft,” and that the score card is still being readied.

The Small Business conference was staged by the American Council for Technology-Industry Advisory Council and is intended as an opportunity for small business contractors to interact with agency representatives on how to qualify and win more work.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2014/04/sba-isnt-ready-boast-yet-all-agencies-have-met-their-small-biz-contracting-goals/83176

 

Phony small businesses pay $1.9 million to settle False Claims Act charges

April 24, 2014 by

Five California-based masonry subcontractors and two individuals paid the government nearly $1.9 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by misrepresenting their disadvantaged small business status in connection with military construction contracts, the Department of Justice announced on April 9, 2014.  The defendants are Frazier Masonry Corp., F-Y Inc., CTI Concrete & Masonry Inc., Masonry Technology Inc., Masonry Works Inc., Russell Frazier and Robert Yowell.

“This settlement demonstrates our continuing vigilance to ensure that those doing business with the military do so legally and honestly and that taxpayer funds are not misused,” said Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division Stuart F. Delery.  “Among the rules that military contractors and subcontractors must follow are those relating to the use and hiring of small businesses.”

The case involved contracts to construct facilities at Marine Corps bases at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Camp Pendleton, Calif.  Under the rules of the Small Business Administration, the contracts required that a certain percentage of the work be performed by disadvantaged small businesses.  This contract requirement was intended to benefit small firms owned by women, minorities and other disadvantaged groups.

The government alleged that the defendant masonry subcontractors and their principals misrepresented to the prime contractors that they were small businesses, and that these misrepresentations caused the prime contractors to falsely certify that they had complied with the small business provisions of the contracts in claiming payment.  Russell Frazier previously pleaded guilty in related criminal proceedings to causing false statements.

The settlement resolves allegations filed in two lawsuits by Rickey Howard, a former employee of Frazier Masonry Corp., in federal court in Raleigh, N.C.  The lawsuits were filed under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act, which permit private individuals to sue on behalf of the government for false claims and to share in any recovery.  The act also allows the government to intervene and take over the action, as it did in this case.  Howard will receive $393,383. 

The cases are captioned United States ex rel. Howard v. Harper Construction Co., et al., Case No. 7:12-CV-215-D (E.D.N.C.) and United States ex rel. Howard v. RQ Construction LLC, et al., Case No. 7:13-CV-48-D (E.D.N.C.).  The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only; there has been no determination of liability.   More details at: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2014/April/14-civ-357.html

SBA says GSA failed to assess negative impact of office supply contract on small businesses

April 17, 2014 by

The General Services Administration (GSA) failed to assess the negative impact that the Office Supplies 3 (OS3) strategic sourcing contract would have on small businesses, a Small Business Administration (SBA) analysis says.

Under the Small Business Act, agencies must determine whether new consolidated contracts would negatively affect small businesses, and the SBA is tasked with making sure the agencies execute the determination properly.

SBA undertook the analysis at the Government Accountability Office’s request after several small businesses protested to the OS3 request for proposals, saying GSA failed to look into the economic consequences of the businesses who don’t receive an OS3 award. FedNewsRadio posted a copy (pdf) April 7.

In response to the protests, GSA argued that the OS3 contract is a follow-on contract to the OS2 and not a consolidated contract. GSA also said it’s “contrary to law” to provide an economic analysis on the negative impacts a consolidate contract would have on small businesses.

SBA disagrees on both points.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/sba-says-gsa-failed-assess-negative-impact-os3-small-businesses/2014-04-08 

Business owner says soliciting government business worth the hassle

April 14, 2014 by

[Note: This article was written by Michelle Shoultz, president of Florida-based Frazier Engineering.]

For more than 20 years, Frazier Engineering had a strong commercial and municipal/county government customer base that comfortably sustained our small business.

But as the economy changed, we knew we had to change.

We decided to pursue unique certifications that would enable us to compete for federal work in a smaller competitive pool certifications such as 8(a), Disadvantaged Business Enterprise/DBE and Minority Business Enterprise/MBE).

Through the Small Business Administration 8(a) program, we were given opportunities that we would not have had before. However, if we did not already have the knowledge and manpower to support the requirements of those opportunities, our certification would only have been as good as the paper it was printed on. Our success to date has been the result of a solid team, being financially and technically sound, having a strong work history, and being actively responsive.

I’d like to share some lessons we’ve learned over time.

As a small-to-midsize, growing business leader, I would definitely recommend the time and effort involved in pursuing government contracts.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.floridatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/04/01/business-money-edge-chamber/7146529/ 

 

House committee rips SBA for unauthorized pilot programs, contracting woes

April 1, 2014 by

Members of the House Small Business Committee on Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of several revisions to the Small Business Administration’s new budget proposal, with several lawmakers criticizing the agency for committing too much money to new, unproven programs and too little to fulfilling its underlying responsibilities to small employers.

“By necessity, budgets require hard choices,” Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) said during a brief markup of the budget on Tuesday. “To the extent that the SBA… budget request makes hard choices, they ultimately make them in the wrong place.”

Democrats and Republicans on the panel agreed on revisions that would trim $50 million from the agency’s $710 million budget proposal that was published earlier this month as part of the president’s broader spending blueprint. The committee’s recommendations now move to the House Budget Committee for review.

SBA officials maintain that the proposal would ensure that employers have the resources they need to start and grow their businesses, and it would give the department the resources it needs to expand important exporting, capital access and other educational programs. On the agency’s blog earlier this month, Marianne Markowitz, the agency’s acting administrator, said the plan “builds on SBA’s proven track record of assisting America’s small businesses.”

Keep reading this article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/on-small-business/house-committee-rips-sba-for-unauthorized-pilot-programs-contracting-woes/2014/03/26/15f84f80-b433-11e3-b899-20667de76985_story.html 

Manufacturing and supplier development conference to be held in Macon on April 14

March 19, 2014 by

On April 14, small and mid-sized manufacturers across Central Georgia will have the opportunity to grow their business.

Georgia Tech, the Georgia Small Business Development Center, and the Center of Innovation are sponsoring an all-day conference in Macon to enable manufacturers and suppliers:

  • Meet with large manufacturers that have an interest in expanding their supplier network.
  • Have discussions around sub-contract opportunities, diversifying your business, exporting, and more.

This event is free and will take place on April 14, 2014 (from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) at Middle Georgia State College in Macon.

For more information, please click here: Supplier Development Conference April 14 2014 Middle Georgia State College Macon

Advance registration is required.  Register at http://tinyurl.com/p9ftj9z

Gwinnett County supplier symposium is April 30

March 19, 2014 by

The Gwinnett County Purchasing Division will host the 8th Annual Supplier Symposium on April 30, 2014, from 8:30 am to 11:30 am, at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center.

Attendees will have the opportunity to meet buyers and contracting officers from the County’s Purchasing Division and other metro Atlanta agencies and take advantage of networking opportunities designed to create relationships.  This year the Symposium will be interactive with Department and Purchasing staff and will provide the opportunity to acquaint potential suppliers with the County’s procurement procedures.

For more information about the event and to register, visit the following link and register to “Save the Date April 30, 2014” for the Gwinnett County Purchasing Symposium:

http://www.gwinnettcounty.com/portal/gwinnett/Departments/FinancialServices/Purchasing/SupplierSymposium.

Gwinnett Purchasing Symposium

 

Webinar on surety bonds to be presented April 17th

March 18, 2014 by

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Surety Bond Guarantee Program helps small business get bonded.  If you wish to learn about this program, you are invited to participate in a free, live webinar on Thursday, April 17, 2014 from 10:00 to 11:00 am EDT.

This webinar is ideal for  small businesses with:

  • Limited financial resources
  • No prior bonded work experience
  • Been in business less than three years
  • Desire to increase your current bonding capacity

The webinar will cover Contract Bonds, including:

  • What they are and why they are required
  • How to get pre-qualified
  • Working capital and bank support

The webinar also will provide complete information about SBA’s Surety Bond Guarantee Program, including:

  • Program eligibility
  • Required information
  • Application process and fees

Advance registration is required.  Please register online at http://events.sba.gov/eventmanagement/EventRegistration.aspx?id=9a6d088f-24b1-e311-abc5-02bfa56e2a24 

Date:                    Thursday, April 17, 2014

Time:                    10:00 am – 11 am

Internet:        https://connect16.uc.att.com/sba/meet/?ExEventID=87462470 (copy the link into your browser to attend).

Phone:            888-858-2144 and then enter meeting code 7462470# to connect by phone.

Prepare in advance for the conference at: https://connect16.uc.att.com/sba/Prepare

For more information please contact Ms. Melanie Bryant at 404-331-0100, ext. 603 or vog.absnull@tnayrb.einalem.

4 to-do’s for small biz success

March 17, 2014 by

You probably thought it was tough being a small contractor before lowest price contracting, strategic sourcing, and the budget crunch, right?

Well, add on to those conditions that primes are giving less business to subs and that fewer contracts overall are being awarded.

Ouch!

What’s a small contractor to do?

Here are a few things you need to do, and some things you need to consider.

First, differentiate or die. Understand what your core strength is (preferably one the market wants) and lead with it. HingeMarketing.com has some really good information on differentiation and I will produce a seminar on differentiation in June. Understand how it is done and how it is communicated.

Second, understand how the government buys what you sell. Many assume a GSA schedule is the gateway, but this is not always the case, and is becoming less so. The schedules are not growing, and GSA is restricting the number of vendors on several schedules. Guy Timberlake of the American Small Business Coalition has been pushing simplified acquisitions (SAP) for a couple years. Maybe it’s time to take a good look at other contractual vehicles.

Third, determine the path of least resistance for growth. If you have a foothold in one agency, it is always better to grow your business where they know you rather than to chase the rainbow of other agencies. It is always easier to sell where you and your company are known, and most federal agencies are large enough for you to expand your foothold into a strong base.

Keep reading this article at: http://washingtontechnology.com/articles/2014/03/14/insights-amtower-small-biz.aspx 

House committee approves bills to increase agencies’ small biz goals and more

March 10, 2014 by

The House Small Business Committee has marked up and approved a six-pack of contracting reform bills, including legislation that would raise the current agency goals for steering work to small businesses.

The package approved Wednesday would particularly affect the construction industry, women, and disabled veterans. It includes a plan to raise agencies’ small-business prime contracting goal from 23 percent to 25 percent and establish a 40 percent goal for small-business subcontractors.

“Greater small business involvement in federal contracting benefits companies and taxpayers alike,” said panel Chairman Sam Graves, R-Mo., who sponsored the bill outlining the new contracting goals. “Small firms are innovative, and increased competition often leads to savings for the taxpayers.”

A second Grave bill would “improve transparency and accountability” by discouraging bundling of contracts to give an advantage to large companies over small businesses. Bills sponsored by Rep. Richard Hanna, R-N.Y., would restrict the government’s use of reverse auctions in awarding construction contracts and increase construction companies’ access to surety bonds for use in federal procurement work.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2014/03/committee-approves-bill-increase-agencies-small-biz-contracting-goals/80023