GTPAC event supports Georgia small businesses, federal agencies, and large prime contractors alike

The Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) hosted an event on January 22, 2015 designed to bring clients, federal agencies, and large prime contractors together in order to allow everyone to discuss working together in the future. More than 300 vendors attended, and they participated in over 400 one-on-one matchmaking appointments.

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Attendees at the Jan. 22 GTPAC-hosted small business event used a smartphone app to check-in and make matchmaking appointments.

Management of this large gathering — including the massive amount of appointment-making needed for the event — was made possible through the use of a new technology application developed by the IVSN Group LLC for GTPAC.   The app featured automated appointment-making capability on smart phones, tablets, laptops and PCs.  Once registered, each vendor representative received automatic confirmation via the app and email.  Confirmations included a bar code that attendees utilized to print their own name tags at the event’s check-in desk.

Breaks between workshop sessions allowed attendees to actively collaborate and network.
Breaks between workshop sessions allowed attendees to actively collaborate and network.

The event, entitled “Building Partnerships and Collaborating for Success,” was held in the auditorium and break-out rooms at the Georgia Tech Research Institute in Midtown Atlanta.  The GTPAC team used IVSN’s new technology on-site to expedite extra registrations, and to supplement the one-on-one appointments.  Helpful messages were “pushed” through the app to attendees throughout the day.  Any attendees who did not download the app in advance used a QR code on display in multiple locations at the event to allow them to download the app on-site.

Attendees were given access to a QR code in order to download an app that displayed the agenda, speaker profiles, presentation materials, and other resources.
Attendees were given access to a QR code in order to download an app that displayed the agenda, speaker profiles, presentation materials, and other resources.

Here’s a summary of what was accomplished:

  • All pre-registrants were given instruction on how to come prepared with an elevator speech and a written capabilities statement.
  • GTPAC’s program director Joe Beaulieu acted as emcee of the event with speakers from the CDC, EPA, and VA – and featuring the Regional Administrator of GSA, the Regional Director of SBA, and the Executive Director of the National Contract Management Association (NCMA).
  • Training seminars were held on the subjects of proposal-writing, project management, government contracting strategic planning, and business development.
  • All attendees benefited from individual matchmaking appointments with buyers from nine federal agencies, the State of Georgia, the City of Atlanta, and six major federal prime contractors, including big names like IBM, Lockheed Martin, and Northrup Grumman.
  • Scores of the small businesses in attendance also took advantage of this occasion to receive contract-related counseling from the team of GTPAC counselors who were on hand.
  • All of the day’s program elements and related resources were made available on an app which was downloaded by attendees to their mobile devices, laptops and PCs.
More than 300 Georgia business people got a chance to meet one-on-one with government contract decision-makers.
More than 300 Georgia business people got a chance to meet one-on-one with government contract decision-makers.

Presenting sponsors of the event were the Atlanta Chapter of the National Contract Management Association and the Small Business Administration. Supporting sponsors included Axiom Corporation, IVSN Group, and Unitech America.

Presently, GTPAC is soliciting event evaluations from all participants and plans to use the resulting feedback to improve future events and refine the event management app.

Copies of all presentations made at the event can be downloaded below.  They are listed in alphabetical order:

Federal officials like GSA's Torre Jessup (pictured here) briefed Georgia business reps on upcoming contracting opportunities.
GSA’s regional administrator Torre Jessup (pictured here) briefed Georgia business reps on upcoming contracting opportunities.  SBA regional director Cassius Butts also addressed an audience that packed the Georgia Tech Research Institute’s auditorium.




Four charged in grant fraud scheme

Four persons have been charged with conspiracy and fraud for obtaining money from small business owners for grant funding and services that they never provided or intended to provide, announced U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden for the District of Nevada and Laura A. Bucheit, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI for Nevada.

Jason Demko, 38, Lorraine Riddiough, 66, Lissette Alvarez, 27, all of Las Vegas, and Mark Jones, 32, of Barberton, Ohio, are charged in a criminal indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, five counts of wire fraud, and criminal forfeiture.   They appeared on January 27, 2015 before Magistrate Judge Ferenbach and pleaded not guilty to the charges, and were released on personal recognizance bonds pending a March 16, 2015 trial date.  Demko was scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cam Ferenbach on January 28, 2015 for an arraignment.

“Unfortunately, advance fee fraud schemes are very common,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “The con artist will ask for money up front before any tangible service or product is provided, and it will be very difficult to get your money back once you have turned it over to the scammers.”

“These arrests emphasize the FBI’s continued commitment to investigate financial crimes,” said Special Agent in Charge Bucheit. “It also serves as a reminder for consumers to protect themselves, and remember if it seems too good to be true, it almost always is.”

According to the indictment and other court records, from about January 2013 to February 2014, the defendants allegedly made false and fraudulent representations and promises to small business owners to persuade and induce them to pay initial fees, usually between $2,500 and $5,000 for goods and services they thought would help them obtain grants for their businesses. The business owners were told that the total cost for obtaining a grant was between $10,000 and $15,000, depending on the total amount of funding requested, and that the remaining fees would not be charged until the owners received 100 percent of the grant funding.  Among other things, the defendants falsely stated that they represented a company named Foundation Processing Center in Wilmington, Del., when in fact, they represented JCD Business Services in Las Vegas; falsely stated that only certain clients had qualified for grants, when in fact anyone who paid the fees were qualified by the defendants; and stated that they had obtained grants for other clients, when in fact they had not done so.  The defendants also re-solicited clients for additional fees, including business plans, when they knew that the plans were not going to assist the clients in obtaining any grants.  The defendants knew that the true purpose of their solicitations was to obtain funds to personally enrich themselves.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on all counts.

This prosecution is part of efforts underway by President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.  President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.  The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources.  The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.  For more information about the task force visit:

The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.


Most contracting occurs where government lacks privity

Of the over $500 billion per year spent contracting for everything from computers to carriers, the vast majority of money ultimately awarded and performed by contractors happened without a contract directly from the government. Therefore, there is usually no business relationship (privity) between the government and the contractor doing work for its benefit.

How that can be? What’s going on?

In fact, while the government awards a prime contract for products and services, most often many of the prime’s deliverables from that contract will be subcontracted out to one or many large and small business firms.

Keep reading this article at:

DoD seeks 10-year extension of small business mentoring program

The Defense Department intends to request a 10-year extension of a program that improves the ability of socioeconomically disadvantaged small businesses to compete for defense contracts, the program’s manager said yesterday.

The Small Business Mentor-Protege Program began in 1991 as a way to foster small businesses and improve technology transfer between the Defense Department and industry, Robert Stewart said in a DoD News interview.

Despite having been in existence for nearly 25 years, the program is still categorized as a pilot and must be reauthorized in a National Defense Authorization Act every few years, he said.

Stewart said that through regular outreach with industry representatives, his office has learned that the periodic reauthorizations give the impression that the program isn’t permanent. This has a chilling effect on participation — particularly as the reauthorization period approaches, he said.

“Whenever we’re about a year, year and a half out from an authorization — since it’s a pilot program and it’s still crafted in language as a pilot program — industry does what’s called a chilling-off,” Stewart said. From the perspective of a business owner, he said, “If I’m not sure something’s going to be reauthorized, I’m going to be less apt to put business development dollars into helping facilitate small business.”

Extending the program’s authorization period would provide stability, reassure industry and save the department money, he said.

How to Participate

Small businesses seeking to become prime contractors with the department first choose a mentor from one of the more than 50 larger companies participating in the program, he explained. Part of that selection process is ensuring that the strategic goals of the two companies align, Stewart noted.

“We try to put them in a position to be as successful as possible,” he said.

The larger company provides training and mentorship, and in exchange, receives credit toward their small business contracting goals, Stewart said. If the training is provided through a procurement technical assistance center, a small business development center, minority institution or a historically black college or university, they can claim up to four times the amount spent for credit toward their actual small business participation levels.

The agreements may not last longer than three years, and once an agreement is fulfilled, the small business graduates from the program and is able to serve as a prime contractor for DoD contracts.

“Now you have a small business who’s a prime contractor [and] whose overhead is significantly lower than your traditional government contractors,” Stewart said. “They can do the exact same work, sometimes faster, sometimes cheaper, oftentimes better than larger, more cumbersome agencies or entities.”

This is a win-win situation for industry and the Defense Department, Stewart said. Larger businesses now have a pool of capable, responsive partners with which to team up and seek defense contracts, while small businesses gain better-trained employees and, by piggybacking on the capabilities of their larger partner, they can compete for contracts that they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to support.

“It works out in a lot of areas,” he said. “We’re helping grow the manufacturing-industrial base by ensuring that we’re going through our [procurement technical assistance centers], small business development centers, minority institutions and [Historically Black Colleges and Universities], but also identifying tech transfer companies that allow the United States government to be able to fight the threat that the Googles, the Amazons, the Microsofts, the Oracles face every day.”

The Way Ahead

“One of the things that we’re looking for going forward … [is that] we want to focus on the evaluation and criteria and factors to drive contracting commands across the DoD enterprise to utilize Mentor-Protege as a way to meet those subcontracting small business participation goals,” Stewart said.

To accomplish this, he said, the Office of Small Business Programs plans to develop a defense acquisition regulation that would give participants in the Mentor-Protege Program greater weight during the bid solicitation process.

“You’re going to get credit toward being already involved in DoD — you know DoD’s business, you’ve already got an established working relationship with the DoD,” Stewart said.


First-ever ‘state of the region’ address planned Feb. 2nd by SBA regional director

Cassius F. Butts, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s southeast region, plans to deliver an inaugural “State of the Region” address on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. at the Georgia Tech Research Institute auditorium located at 250 – 14th Street, NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30318.

The public is invited but advance registration is required not later than noon Friday, Jan. 30th.  Register here:

During this address, regional administrator Butts will highlight the achievements and success of the SBA and its resource partners over the past year, and will highlight the innovations planned by the SBA.

Welcoming remarks are scheduled to be delivered by the president of the Georgia Institute of Technology, G.P. “Bud” Peterson.

Interested parties also can stream this presentation live by using this link at the time of the event:


Small companies to take on bigger contracts under SBA proposed rule

A new rule proposed by the Small Business Administration could help small companies team up to go after larger government contracts.

“Projects in the federal procurement arena have gotten larger, more complex, and it’s become more difficult for individual small businesses to pursue these types of projects,” John Shoraka, associate administrator of government contracting and business at SBA, said on the Federal Drive with Tom Temin Tuesday.

SBA issued the proposed rule on Dec. 29, nearly a year after Congress passed the fiscal 2013 Defense Authorization bill changing certain provisions in the Small Business Act.

Keep reading this article at:

Small businesses gain ground in contracting — here’s why

At the end of the year, Federal News Radio’s “Off the Shelf” explored “What’s it like in the GWAC world?” Featuring Rob Coen, acting director of NIH’s GWAC program, and Joyce Woytek, NASA’s SEWP program manager, the interview covered the current and future state of GWACs.

As they shared the increased success of small businesses, three approaches stood out: more stringent requirements for vetting small businesses up front; inclusion of all five socio-economic categories in the contracts; and the use of on-ramps. At Deltek we are seeing – or expect to see – these approaches incorporated as part of several highly anticipated programs to be solicited this year.

Increased Vetting

Asked what’s driving the success of small business awards on his programs, Mr. Coen explained that spending more time upfront vetting small businesses – which must meet more stringent requirements – has resulted in increased comfort for government buyers. In turn, they have seen more high-dollar value/complex procurements for set-asides.

Keep reading this article at:

About the author: Jennifer Sakole is the principal analyst for Federal Information Solutions at Deltek.

Small business contracting opportunities continue to expand

New and exciting small business contracting opportunities are out there – if you know where to look.

Under Federal Acquisition Subpart 19.5 (Set-Asides for Small Businesses), government purchases with an anticipated dollar value exceeding $3,000 (but not over $150,000) are automatically reserved for performance by qualifying small businesses.  For procurements over $150,000, the contract must be set-aside for exclusive small business performance when there is a reasonable expectation that offers will be received from at least two reasonable small business concerns at a fair market price.

Among these regulations is a little known stipulation that the set-aside requirements apply “only in the United States or its outlying areas.”  The extent of this limitation was recently put to the test in connection with a procurement involving both foreign and domestic chartering services that was set-aside for small business performance by the Department of the Navy, Military Sealift Command (MSC).

Keep reading this article at:

GTPAC-hosted Jan. 22 event to aid Georgia small businesses

On Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) will play host to six federal agencies holding an industry day forum directed at small businesses in Georgia.  NOTE: As of Jan. 16, 2015, this event is booked to capacity, and no further registrations are being accepted.

NCMA logoThe event is being sponsored by the Atlanta chapter of the National Contract Management Association (NCMA) and the regional office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

The event, billed as “Building Partnerships and Collaborating for Success, a Small Business Industry Day and Matchmaking Event,” is open to all businesses in the region who wish to learn more about doing business with  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, and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

In addition to federal agencies, representatives of major prime contractors also are expected to be present, including Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, ICF International, RTI International, WYLE, Westat, Deloitte, and DB Consulting Group, Inc.

Businesses interested in participating in this event must preregister at:

More than 200 vendors are expected to attend.  Matchmaking events will be scheduled by vendors based on NAICS code requirements of government agencies and prime contractors. Details for the matchmaking aspect of the event will be promulgated separately to confirmed registrants.

All vendors participating in this event are expected to have the following completed prior to attending:  SAM and DSBS registration, business cards, an elevator speech, and a capability statement. See web link above for more information.

What you need to know about changes to the National Defense Authorization Act

President Obama recently signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2015, which provides new provisions that impact women-owned businesses. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) also proposed to amend regulations implementing provisions of the NDAA Act that will impact small business contractors.

Bottom line: If you’re a women-owned small business or a small business doing business with the government, the NDAA includes a number of provisions that impact you.

Highlights of the proposed revisions to the NDAA include:

  1. Women-Owned Small Business Contracting Program:  Section 825 of the NDAA authorizes federal agencies to award sole-source contracts to women-owned small businesses eligible for SBA’s Women-Owned Small Business Contracting Program, providing parity in the federal contracting marketplace to other small business categories.  For more on the proposed rules, see SBA’s recent press release.
  2. Subcontracting:  Section 1651 changes the way that performance is calculated on small and socioeconomic set-aside contracts, and authorizes similarly situated subcontractors to count towards the performance requirements. 
  3. Joint Ventures:  Section 1651 makes the performance requirements consistent, regardless of whether or not a small business chooses to joint venture or perform in a prime or subcontractor relationship.
  4. Non-Manufacturer Rule:  Section 1651 changes SBA’s non-manufacturer rule and affiliation rules, including the elimination of waiver requests for procurements below the Simplified Acquisition Threshold (SAT) of $150,000.  The non-manufacturer rule allows a small business to offer a product, that it did not manufacture, under a small business set-aside if SBA has offered a waiver.  SBA defines affiliation as the ability to control. When the ability to control exists, even if it is not exercised, affiliation exists.

For updates on these proposed changes, visit the SBA’s website at