GSA doesn’t measure agencies’ inclusion of small businesses in strategic sourcing, GAO says

February 28, 2014 by

The General Services Administration (GSA) hasn’t developed a performance measure to determine small business participation in strategic sourcing initiatives and the Office of Management and Budget hasn’t monitored agencies’ efforts to include small businesses, a recently release Jan. 23 Government Accountability Office report says.

While documentation shows that agencies generally do consider small businesses in strategic sourcing contracts, the report says, there isn’t agency data and performance measures that would provide a more precise understanding of the inclusion of small businesses.

The Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) can’t be used to track the extent of strategic sourcing across the federal government and its effects on small businesses because there is no strategic sourcing category in the system, GAO says.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/gsa-doesnt-measure-agencies-inclusion-small-businesses-strategic-sourcing-g/2014-02-25 

HUBZone Summit to be held in Atlanta on April 2nd

February 21, 2014 by

A free, one-day educational and networking conference for HUBZone and other small businesses – featuring one-on-one match-making meetings with federal agencies and prime contractors — will be held in Atlanta on April 2, 2014.

The 3rd Annual Summit for HUBZone small businesses is being held by the HUBZone Contractors National Council.  The event is free, but advance registration is required.

Businesses that register for the Summit by March 21 will have an opportunity to request 15-minute meeting times with participating agencies and primes.  Contractors must register for the Summit by March 21 to request appointments.  Appointments are not required.  There may be open appointments for those who register after March 21.

The April 2nd Summit is being held at the Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center, located in downtown Atlanta at 61 Forsyth St SW, adjacent to the Five Points MARTA Rail Station.  The building is situated a few blocks from CNN Center, Centennial Olympic Park, and the Georgia Dome.  Parking is available in many nearby garages.  Summit participants must provide a government-issued ID (such as a valid driver’s license, passport, or federal employee badge) to enter the Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center.

To register for the Summit, visit: http://www.hubzonecouncil.org/clubportal/ClubStatic.cfm?clubID=528&pubmenuoptID=39280.

HUBZONE SUMMIT SCHEDULE
April 2, 2014
(subject to change)

Morning9:00 – 10:30 Welcome RemarksFederal Regional Administrators
HUBZone Program Update
  HUBZone Council
Top 10 Strategies for Federal Contracting Success
  Federal OSDBU Directors
10:30 – 11:15 CONCURRENT SESSIONS - Choose one:
Contract Compliance & SBA Compliance Control Panel
  The Centric Group
Market Research: Searching for Opportunities
  Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center
Navigating the HUBZone Application Process
  HUBZone Council
Agency & Prime Contractor Procurement Forecasts
  US Army et al.
11:15 – 12:00 CONCURRENT SESSIONS - Choose one:
Bid Protest Guidelines for Small Business Contractors
  HUBZone Council
Pre- and Post-Award Issues
  Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center
Agency & Prime Contractor Procurement Forecasts
  Battelle et al.
Afternoon

12:00 – 1:00

Lunch on Your Own
1:00 – 3:00 HUBZone Help Desk
1:00 – 4:00
Match-Making Sessions
Small business contractors who register by March 21 will be able to reserve 15-minute appointments with participating agencies and prime contractors.

Proposed rule streamlines agency small business spending

February 13, 2014 by

The Defense Department, General Services Administration and NASA are proposing to amend federal acquisition guidelines to help streamline small business purchasing, according to a notice in the Feb. 3 Federal Register.

The proposed rule would clarify that agencies can continue to claim credit toward their small business spending goals even if the small business has left the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) program – as long as the contract award was made while the business was in the program.

However, if the small business no longer represents itself as a small business in future contracts, agencies can no longer count any spending with that company under its small business goals.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20140203/ACQ02/302030012/Proposed-rule-streamlines-agency-small-business-spending 

GTPAC hosts government contracting ‘coffee break’ for Albany small business

January 31, 2014 by

The Marine Corps Logistics Command Small Business Program Office, along with the City of Albany and Dougherty County, held a “Coffee Break” on January 28, 2014, for Albany-area small businesses interested in doing business with the government sector.  The Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) hosted this second in a series of quarterly Coffee Breaks.

The event was designed to help small businesses network, in an informal setting, with small business specialists and acquisition professionals from local, state, and federal agencies.

Marine Corps Logistics Command speakers included John P. McHugh, Senior Contracts Attorney, Office of Counsel; Hattie Mosely, Director, Small Business Program Office; and Sabrina Caldwell, Head, Policy Branch, Contracts Department.

Representing local governments at the event were: Joshua Williams, Buyer, City of Albany Central Services Department; Lori Farkas, Assistant General Manager for Customer Relations and Marketing, Water Gas and Light Commission; and Mike Trotter, Materials Manager, Water Gas and Light Commission.

Topics included information on the small business programs utilized at Marine Corps Logistics Command (LOGCOM) and how LOGCOM purchases from small businesses.  Also discussed was the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS) and Past Performance Information Retrieval System – Statistical Reporting (PPIRS-SR).  Upcoming bid opportunities in city/county government and the water-gas-light commission also were discussed.

Approximately 50  small and large contractors from the area attended the two-hour event.

Fifty Albany-area businesses participated in the Jan. 28th "coffee break" hosted by GTPAC.

Fifty Albany-area businesses participated in the Jan. 28th “coffee break” hosted by GTPAC.

If you would like more information on how to do business with LOGCOM, or services offered in Albany, Georgia by GTPAC, go to:  http://www.logcom.usmc.mil/sbpo/sba.gov  or contact GTPAC’s Bridgett Bennett at 229-430-4189.

SBA issues final rule on surety bond guarantee program

January 29, 2014 by

In a rule (79 Fed. Reg. 2084) scheduled to go into effect on Feb. 12, 2014, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is modifying its Surety Bond Guarantee Program to incorporate certain provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA).  This includes provisions that increase the contract amounts for which SBA is authorized to guarantee bonds, grant SBA the authority to partially deny liability under its bond guarantee, and prohibit SBA from denying liability based on material information that was provided as part of the guarantee application in the Prior Approval Program.

The rule also makes changes to the Quick Bond Guarantee Application and Agreement, the timeframes for taking certain actions related to claims, and the dollar threshold for determining when a change in the Contract or bond amounts meets certain criteria or requires certain action. Finally, the final rule eliminates references to the provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) that has expired.

The new rule can be downloaded here: 79 Fed. Reg. 2084

Slides from US Education department’s Jan. 14 outreach event now available

January 21, 2014 by

The Department of Education, Contracts and Acquisitions Management, Programs Contracts Group (PCG) held a Small Business Outreach event in Washington, DC on January 14, 2014.  The purpose of this event was to review portions of the department’s FY 2014 forecast and provide roundtable sessions in which small businesses could have the opportunity to discuss education programs and contracting opportunities with Contracting Officer Representatives (CORs), Contracting Officers, Contract Specialists, and Program Managers. 

The outreach event was focused on small businesses who specialize in program evaluation, technical assistance, educational support services, data collection and analysis, and logistical support services. 

If you were not aware of this event or unable to attend, you now can access the slide presentation from the event (containing many points of contact) and the list of the 300 attendees at: https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&tab=core&id=d8a3b3f4518079d0d991ac5d8a2a9ac8&_cview=0.

Small Businesses engaged in educational products and services also may find it helpful to review the US Department of Educations FY 2014 Forecast of Contracting Opportunities. You will find it at http://www2.ed.gov/fund/grant/find/edlite-forecast.html.

The Primary Point of Contact for this event was:

Pamela Bone
Contracting Officer
vog.denull@enoB.alemaP
Phone: (202)245-6181
Fax: 202-245-6297
URL: https://www.fbo.gov/spg/ED/OCFO/CPO/1142014SBmtg/listing.html

Reflections of a small IT contractor on the government shutdown of 2013 and 2014′s uncertainties

January 14, 2014 by

[Note: This article was written by Terry Verigan, vice president of CompuCure.] 

Hurricane Katrina nearly killed CompuCure. In the wake of the storm, just three of us remained by Oct. 1, 2005, and the weeks ahead promised to be grim for our New Orleans-based IT services firm — what was left of it anyway. But we weren’t going to let that damn storm chase us away from our city.

By September 2013, eight long years after Katrina wiped out so many lives and businesses, CompuCure had rebounded sufficiently to make Inc. Magazine’s list of the fastest growing businesses in America. With a talented staff of 30 delivering projects that had achieved national recognition for quality and value, it was tempting to think we’d made it to some sort of safe high ground, economically speaking. But by late September, our president and owner, Angelina Parker, faced another storm, this one political. The federal shutdown nearly took down the business again.

While we had become accustomed to the disruptions that stemmed from continuing resolutions — the stop-gap budgets lawmakers typically adopted while they continued to disagree over larger spending questions — those rarely impacted our work at federal sites. Employees would clock in while budgets were frozen and eventually CompuCure would be reimbursed. Our line of credit was more than sufficient to carry on. Interest charges eat away at profitability, but we could keep going, knowing that our people and their families felt secure. Our most valuable resources, our employees, would still be on the job.

But the shutdown was different. It meant lost revenue to CompuCure, not just a delay in getting invoices paid. Disturbing questions emerged, notably: How would we keep our talented employees from moving to other companies less dependent on federal contracts?

Keep reading this article at: http://www.nextgov.com/cio-briefing/2013/12/reflections-2013-year-nearly-killed-one-small-federal-it-firm/76097/?oref=nextgov_cio_briefing

Hoping to sell to the government? Then start being a P.E.S.T.

January 10, 2014 by

When my business entered into government contracting in 2005, it did not take long for me to realize that we had entered a whole new world after years in the private sector. Certifications and set-asides were unfamiliar concepts; ones that frankly made me a bit uncomfortable, as I wondered whether I wanted my company to get “special” consideration because of my gender or the size of our operation.

What I have learned is that there really is no “special consideration” but just an opportunity to level the playing field. While certifications can get your business noticed by government agencies, being a woman-owned, veteran-owned, small business, HUB Zone and/or 8(a) organization guarantees you nothing.

This may seem intuitive to some, but it is a barrier to success for many more.

So how can a small business best leverage the power of the set-aside?  By becoming a P.E.S.T. — that is, by being persistent, educated, specific and transparent.

Keep reading this article by Lisa Firestone at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/on-small-business/small-business-advice-hoping-to-sell-to-the-government-then-start-being-a-pest/2013/12/19/3f12d3b6-68f4-11e3-a0b9-249bbb34602c_story.html 

 

SBA moves to ban firm from government contracting work

January 7, 2014 by

The Small Business Administration is moving to ban one of the government’s most prominent small-business contractors from new federal work, saying that the firm provided false information about its ownership and operations, documents show.

The SBA said it has information showing that Tysons Corner-based MicroTechnologies LLC and its founder, Anthony R. Jimenez, submitted “false and misleading statements” in order to receive preferential treatment, according to a Dec. 20 letter from the agency to the company. The company and Jimenez are effectively suspended from receiving new government work.

The agency said the false statements included one that “appears to be a complete fabrication” to hide the extensive role of two investors who apparently worked with Jimenez to launch, bankroll and operate MicroTech, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Washington Post.

The SBA notice is the first step in a civil process that could lead to the banning of both Jimenez and MicroTech “from future contracting with any agencies of the Executive Branch of the United States Government,” the SBA said.

MicroTech did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

The company has 30 days to respond to the claims in the SBA’s regulatory action, which immediately makes the company and Jimenez ineligible for contracting work or any government assistance, such as loans, and proposes the “debarment” of the firm from future federal contracts.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/sba-moves-to-ban-microtechnologies-llc-from-government-contracting-work/2013/12/27/a83ede02-6f02-11e3-b405-7e360f7e9fd2_story.html 

FAR formally amended to provide accelerated payments to small subcontractors

January 3, 2014 by

For two years, it has been the policy of individual agencies of the federal government to encourage prime contractors, upon receipt of progress payments from an agency, to accelerate payments to small business subcontractors.  Now, this policy has been formalized by publication of a rule and contract clause in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), effective December 28, 2013.

Here is the background.  The Department of Defense (DoD), the General Services Administration (GSA), and the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) originally published a proposed rule in the Federal Register at 77 FR 75089 on December 19, 2012, to implement OMB Memorandum M–12–16 that would provide for the acceleration of payments to small business subcontractors.  OMB released  Memorandum M–12–16, Providing Prompt Payment to Small Business Subcontractors, on July 11, 2012. This policy memorandum outlined the steps agencies should take to ensure that prime contractors pay their small business subcontractors as promptly as possible.  OMB released Memorandum M–13–15, Extension of Policy to Provide Accelerated Payment to Small Business Subcontractors, on July 11, 2013.  This policy memorandum extended the OMB
Memorandum M–12–16’s expiration date by one year to July 11, 2014.

With the publication of a formal rule in the FAR, the accelerated payment policy is now in effect, government-wide.  Below is the clause that is to be placed in all federal contracts containing subcontracting opportunities:

FAR Part 52.232–40 

Providing Accelerated Payments to
Small Business Subcontractors (Dec. 
2013)

(a) Upon receipt of accelerated payments
from the Government, the Contractor shall
make accelerated payments to its small
business subcontractors under this contract,
to the maximum extent practicable and prior
to when such payment is otherwise required
under the applicable contract or subcontract,
after receipt of a proper invoice and all other
required documentation from the small
business subcontractor.
(b) The acceleration of payments under this
clause does not provide any new rights under
the Prompt Payment Act.
(c) Include the substance of this clause,
including this paragraph (c), in all
subcontracts with small business concerns,
including subcontracts with small business
concerns for the acquisition of commercial
items.