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 

House small business committee tries again to increase small business contracting goals

March 3, 2014 by

Agencies have not met the governmentwide goal of awarding at least 23 percent of all prime contracts to small businesses since 2006.

Despite that, Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), chairman of the Small Business Committee, believes it’s time to raise the goal.

Graves introduced legislation last Wednesday (Feb. 26, 2014) to increase the percentage of contracts that are mandated to go to small firms to 25 percent, which equates to about $10 billion more a year for these companies.

The Greater Opportunities for Small Business Act of 2014 would create a goal for agencies to ensure 40 percent of all subcontract awards go to small businesses, increasing from 35.9 percent. The bill also would require that only prime contract awards can count toward the prime contract goal.

Graves introduced the Contracting Data and Bundling Accountability Act of 2014 last week.

This bill will try to bring more data and transparency to how agencies bundle contracts.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federalnewsradio.com/65/3570622/Rep-Graves-tries-again-to-increase-small-business-contracting-goals 

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