GSA says small businesses benefitting from reverse auctions

October 30, 2014 by

Taxpayers and small businesses are benefitting from the ReverseAuctions program, the General Services Administration said.

In fiscal 2014, 85 percent of auctions awarded through the initiative went to small businesses even though 60 percent was set aside for them, and overall, reverse auctions generated 23 percent savings off standard contract price, an Oct. 21 blog post says.

Those small-business procurements totaled more than $19 million.

Additionally, more than 21 government agencies created 900 auctions and saved more than $6 million, according to the blog.

“Competition fuels savings. GSA ReverseAuction’s fiscal year 2014 performance is a testament to this principle,” wrote Charles Wingate, chief of a branch of the agency’s Federal Acquisitions Services’ Information Technology Commodities Division, on the blog.

ReverseAuctions is an online tool for agencies to use at no additional cost to buy simple commodities and services.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/gsa-small-businesses-benefitting-reverse-auctions/2014-10-22

Top federal contracting vehicles offer highest value in five years

October 29, 2014 by

The top 20 federal opportunities for the 2015 federal fiscal year offer $220.3 billion in total contract value, representing the highest value of the past five fiscal years; a continued increase from a low of $92.2 billion in fiscal 2013; and a $59.6 billion increase over the top 20 combined contract value of $160.7 billion in fiscal 2014.

Information Technology opportunities total $161.5 billion, representing 73 percent of the top 20 total contract value, a shift from last year when professional services opportunities dominated.

Driving the increase in IT value are several large follow-on contract programs expected to be solicited this year. Follow-on opportunities account for 99 percent of the value in the top 20 opportunities.

The split between this year’s defense and civilian top 20 opportunities is the most even of the past five years — essentially 50/50, with near-even values and 10 opportunities each.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/deltek-top-federal-contracting-vehicles-offer-highest-value-in-five-years/2014/10/17/59d03918-53dc-11e4-809b-8cc0a295c773_story.html

Huge bidder pile-on for VA’s $22.3 billion tech deal

October 23, 2014 by

The number of companies that have expressed interest in bidding on the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Twenty-One Total Technology Next Generation contract — known as T4NG — hit 635 vendors Tuesday, according to a VA spreadsheet.

The list of interested bidders ranges alphabetically from A1C Partners LLC to Yakshna Solutions and is dominated by small-business hopefuls. VA plans to award up to 20 indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.nextgov.com/defense/whats-brewin/2014/10/huge-bidder-pile-vas-223-billion-tech-deal/96653

SBA data show large firms are nabbing contracts reserved for small businesses

October 7, 2014 by

Federal procurement data show that large companies, including leading defense contractors, last year received millions of dollars in contracts intended for small and disadvantaged businesses. The data was obtained last week by the American Small Business League, which fought a multi-year court battle to obtain the information from the Small Business Administration.

The group, based in Petaluma, Calif., and run by software entrepreneur Lloyd Chapman, has been a thorn in the side of SBA for years. It accuses the agency of catering to large companies that misrepresent themselves as small businesses to win government contracts.

Last week the league obtained from SBA an Excel file containing nearly 107,000 entries of vendors that received $83 billion in small business contracts in fiscal 2013. While SBA annually releases analytical information about small business contracting, it took a lawsuit from the league to force the agency to release its list of vendors who receive small business contracts.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2014/10/sba-data-show-large-firms-are-nabbing-contracts-reserved-small-businesses/95699/

SBA zeros out fees on small dollar loans, expands relief for larger loans to vets

October 3, 2014 by

The U.S Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced that fee relief on 7(a) loans of $150,000 or less implemented last year and originally slated to expire on Sept. 30, 2014, will be extended through federal fiscal year 2015.   SBA has also announced that fee relief measures for SBA Veterans Advantage will also be renewed as well as enhanced.   Both the extension of the fee relief for 7(a) loans $150,000 and under, and the extension and enhancement of the fee relief for SBA Veterans Advantage loans became effective October 1, 2014, and will remain in effect through Sept. 30, 2015.

sba-logo“We zeroed out fees on loans of less than $150,000 to any 7(a) borrower because we don’t want SBA fees to be an impediment to getting capital out to communities where it can make a game-changing difference, especially to our under-served communities, who use these small dollar loans more frequently,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. “We also owe a debt of gratitude and so much more to our service men and women, and veterans who are the cornerstone of small business ownership. This fee relief will continue to help veterans business owners who grow their businesses, create jobs in their communities, and put their training and passion for our country to work in their neighborhoods.”

The most recent numbers available for FY14, as of September 12, 2014, show that the SBA had guaranteed 28,806 for over $1.74 billion in loans $150,000 and under, up from 23,337 loans and $1.34 billion in FY 2013.  This represents an increase of 23.4 percent and 30 percent, respectively. Fee reductions on these loans resulted in almost $19 million in savings to small business borrowers in FY 2013.

Under the original fee relief for 7(a) loans that began  Oct 1, 2013, both the upfront guaranty fee and the annual servicing fee (“on-going guaranty fee”) were reduced to zero on loans $150,000 and under.

Today, the SBA is announcing that:

  • The provisions that began on Oct. 1, 2013, for 7(a) loans under $150,000, will now be continued for fiscal year 2015. For loans larger than $150,000, the annual servicing fee lenders pay will be 0.519 percent of the guaranteed portion of the outstanding balance of the loan. The upfront guarantee fee will continue to depend on both the amount and the maturity of the loan.
  • For SBA Veterans Advantage loans, the conditions implemented on Jan. 1, 2014 – zero upfront guaranty fee on all SBA Express loans to veterans of $150,000 up to $350,000 – will remain unchanged for FY 2015.
  • Beginning Oct. 1, 2014, the upfront guaranty fee for non “SBA Express” loans $150,000 up to $5 million will now be reduced by 50 percent. There is no reduction on the annual servicing fee for loans over $150,000.

Seventy percent of all SBA loans made to veterans are $350,000 or less. Since its inception through Sept. 20, 2014, SBA had guaranteed 153 loans for $38,861,900 under Veterans Advantage. Fee relief for these loans resulted in savings to borrowers of about $571,000.

For further information on all SBA programs and services, visit the SBA website at www.sba.gov, or contact your local SBA field office.  You can find contact information for your local SBA office at http://www.sba.gov/localresources/index.html.

Marketing to GSA is theme of Nov. 3rd webinar

October 1, 2014 by

The General Services Administration (GSA) is sponsoring a free webinar on Nov. 3, 2014 for current and potential contractors who are looking for suggestion for improving their marketing techniques.  The one-hour webinar will begin at 1:00 pm Eastern.

GSA recommends reading the “Doing Business with GSA” publication (http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/169023) and EO 13514 “Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance” (https://www.fedcenter.gov/programs/eo13514/)  prior to taking this training.

To register to attend this webinar, go to: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/332011274.

Once registered, you will receive an email confirming your registration with information you need to join the webinar.

 

SBA’s inspector general says agencies are overstating 8(a) and HUBZone contracting achievements

September 29, 2014 by

On September 24, 2014, the Small Business Administration’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued Evaluation Report 14-18, Agencies are Overstating Small Disadvantaged Business and HUBZone Goaling Credit by Including Contracts Performed by Eligible FirmsThis report presents the results of an evaluation of select Section 8(a) Business Development Program and Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) contract awards.

The OIG identified over $400 million in contract actions that were awarded to ineligible firms, which may have contributed to the overstatement of small business goaling dollars for the Small Disadvantaged Business and the HUBZone Business preference programs in FY 2013.  Besides reporting inaccurate information in Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation (FPDS-NG), procuring agencies may have limited contracting opportunities for firms currently participating in the 8(a) or HUBZone programs.

Further, the OIG found that HUBZone and 8(a) certification information is not consistently transmitted to the Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) and the System for Award Management (SAM).  As a result, the affected small businesses are not getting the visibility in the DSBS database, especially the HUBZone firms, and as a result, may impact federal agencies in meeting their HUBZone procurement goals.

Additionally, the OIG also identified over $1.5 billion dollars in contract actions for which the firms were in the programs at the time of contract award, but in FY 2013 were no longer in the 8(a) or HUBZone programs.  Specifically, SBA regulations permit procuring agencies to claim Small Disadvantaged Business and HUBZone goaling credit on certain contract actions even after firms have left the program.  In the opinion of the OIG, the amount of dollars the SBA reports to Congress and the public as being performed by 8(a) and HUBZone firms in the Small Business Goaling Report is significantly impacted by the inclusion of contract actions performed by former program participants.

The OIG made two recommendations to SBA’s Associate Administrator for Government Contracting and Business Development intended to strengthen controls between SBA databases on certification data of 8(a) and HUBZone firms and information reported in FPDS-NG. The recommendations are:

  1. In coordination with the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and the General Services Administration, the SBA should strengthen controls between the SBA’s Dynamic Small Business Search Database and the System for Award Management to ensure accuracy of 8(a) and HUBZone certification data in FPDS-NG.
  2. The SBA should modify DSBS so that a firm’s profile and certification information for HUBZone and 8(a) status remains visible and accurate to agency contracting officers, or develop an alternate list to verify a firm’s status.

The OIG reports that SBA’s management has agreed to pursue both recommendations.

Defense department’s ‘sources sought’ for IT services underscores importance of an effective capabilities statement

September 16, 2014 by

Market research undertaken last week by a unit of the Department of Defense places significant importance on small businesses having a written capabilities statement.

In fact, as the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) puts it, It is vitally important that Small Businesses responding to this Sources Sought Notice do so with highly effective Capability Statements.”

The call for submittal of capabilities statements comes in DISA’s posting of a sources sought notice on FedBizOpps on September 11, 2014.  The purpose of the sources sought is to determine the availability and technical capability of small businesses to provide a wide range of information technology services to the U.S. Cyber Command, including assistance for offensive and defensive cyber operations.

The sources sought notice is a precursor to an anticipated indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity IT contract which will be open only to small businesses.  Small businesses are being sought to provide support for cyber planning, training knowledge, records management, science and technology research and development, and more than 30 cyber exercises a year.

The small businesses that DISA is seeking to identify include Small Disadvantaged Businesses, HUBZone Firms; Certified 8(a), Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses, and Woman Owned Small Business.

The primary place of performance will be at USCYBERCOM Government facilities within the Ft. George G. Meade, MD local area. Local area is any facility within a 50 mile radius of Ft. Meade, Maryland.

Responses to the sources sough are due not later than 4:00 pm Eastern Time on September 29, 2014.

DISA’s sources sought notice may be seen at: https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=63a08d1386b0426debf21c53cd8572db&tab=core&_cview=0.

For background information on the “sources sought” process, read: http://gtpac.org/2010/09/what-is-a-sources-sought-heres-the-answer

For general information on putting together a capabilities statement, read: http://gtpac.org/2010/05/what-is-a-capabilities-statement-and-why-should-i-have-one/

Clients of the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center may ask their assigned counselor for a sample capabilities statement as well as for a review of their capabilities statement before submitting it in response to any sources sought notice.

 

8(a) certification is subject of SBA’s Oct. 23rd workshop

September 16, 2014 by

The 8(a) Business Development program is a part of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s efforts 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 set-asides, access to capital, management and technical assistance, and much more.

In order to benefit from the 8(a) program, a company must first qualify and be certified by the SBA.  The SBA’s Georgia District Office is conducting a 3-hour workshop to explain the required qualifications and the certification program.

Tech to offer professional coursework on government contracting in October

September 16, 2014 by

Interested in deepening your understanding of the federal government’s contracting rules?

Want to develop your professional skills in winning and managing government contracts?

If your answer to these questions is yes, you’ll want to consider attending two important courses being offered by Georgia Tech’s Contracting Education Academy next month.

The first course is CON 260B, Small Business Programs.  It provides an in-depth review of the federal government’s efforts to improve small business participation in prime contracting and subcontracting.  This 3-day course focuses particular attention on the Small Business Managers’ role as a vital member of the acquisition team.   As a part of this course, business people:

  • Discover business growth opportunities for your company in the government sector.
  • Learn how to better develop a bid proposal that will put you ahead of the competition.
  • Gain insight on ways to get your small business subcontracting plan approved.
  • Network with and learn alongside government contracting officials to gain a better understanding of the process, roles, and responsibilities of government contracting.
  • Understand how your company fits in as an important member of the government’s overall acquisition team.

The second course is CON 170, Fundamentals of Cost and Price Analysis.  This course begins with an in-depth review of the market research process, and provides instruction to help students understand and analyze contractor pricing strategies. This is a 10-day course where students learn how to:

  • Demonstrate ability to execute fundamental quantitative pricing skills.
  • Successfully distinguish various seller pricing strategies given an acquisition situation.
  • Describe the Truth in Negotiations Act, including its purpose in mitigating government cost risk.
  • Identify the policies and procedures for applying the Cost Accounting Standards Board (CASB) rules and regulations to negotiated contracts and subcontracts.
  • Identify contract cost principles and procedures.

CON 260B, Small Business Programs is offered Oct. 14-16, 2014.  Learn more about this course at: http://www.pe.gatech.edu/courses/con-260b-small-business-programs.