April 19, 2012 by cs
If you want to find out how your business can apply for federal HUBZone certification status, then Macon State University is the place you need to be on Tuesday, May 1, 2012.
The Small Business Administration’s HUBZone Program promotes economic development and employment growth in distressed areas of the country by providing preferential access to federal contracting opportunities. These preferences go to small businesses that maintain a principal office in one of these specially designated areas, employ staff who live in a HUBZone, and apply for and obtain HUBZone certification.
In order to qualify for the HUBZone program, your business must be located in an area designated as a Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Zone. You may determine if an address or a particular area is designated as a HUBZone by visiting http://map.sba.gov/hubzone/maps and typing-in the address of your principal place of business. If the resulting map indicates that your business is located in a HUBZone, you may be eligible to receive a preference in the award of federal contracts, but you must first become HUBZone certified.
In addition to being located in a HUBZone, there are additional requirements you must meet in order to be certified. Certification is a complex process, but the process could well be worth your time because of the resulting federal contracting preferences.
In order to guide you through this process, the Georgia District Office of the SBA is hosting an all-day workshop on May 1st that is designed to help you understand the details of HUBZone eligibility, the step-by-step application process, and much more.
In addition, the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) will be conducting a session at this event to help you understand the fundamentals of government contracting, including how to identify and take advantage of HUBZone set-aside contracting opportunities.
Advance registration is required to attend. You can register by clicking on this link: http://events.sba.gov/eventmanagement/EventRegistration.aspx?id=e0148925-cc87-e111-b0b2-02bfa56e2a24.
The SBA’s HUBZone Boot Camp will be held from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm at Macon State University, 100 College Station Drive, Macon, GA 31206. A map and directions are located at http://www.maconstate.edu/maps.
More details on the SBA’s HUBZone Program and the certification application process may be found at https://eweb1sp.sba.gov/hubzone/internet/general/application-guide.cfm#Welcome.
A flyer describing the May 1 event can be downloaded by clicking here.
Here’s what the schedule for the day looks like:
HUBZone Boot Camp Agenda – May 1, 2012
9:00 – 9:15 Welcome and Opening Remarks
9:15 – 10:15 HUBZone 101 and Q and A
10:15– 10:30 Break
10:30 – 11:15 How to complete a HUBZone application session
11:15 – 12:15 Panel Discussion on best practices
12:15 – 1:30 Lunch break
1:30 – 2:30 Doing Business with the Federal Government
2:30 – 2:45 Break
3:00 – 3:45 Other Certifications
3:45 – 4:00 Close out
May 27, 2011 by ei2admin
If you are interested in learning about the tools needed to pursue business with the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center (WR-ALC), the place to be is Warner Robins, GA on June 22, 2011.
(For a list of recurring products and services procured by WR-ALC, please consult: http://www.robins.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-081216-015.pdf )
The event will begin at 8:00 am with opening remarks by Major General Robet McMahon, Commander of WR-ALC.
Presentations are scheduled to be made by the Small Business Administration’s Procurement Center Representative (PCR) as well as staff of the Air Force Reserve Command’s Small Business Office and the WR-ALC’s Office of Small Business Programs.
Additional presentations will be made by the Small Business Development Center, the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC), and the General Services Administration. GTPAC’s director Chuck Schadl will be providing instruction on how to do research on contract opportunities in the government marketplace.
The event will end at 12:00 noon.
Attendance is free of charge, but is limited to the first 240 persons who pre-register. To register, contact Ms. Crystal Storie at email@example.com or (478) 926-5873. You must pre-register to attend, and no more than 2 persons per company may attend.
The event will be held in the Robert L. Scott, Jr. Theater, Museum of Aviation Eagle Building, Robins AFB, Georgia. For a map and directions, please click on this link: Museum Layout & Directions
October 5, 2010 by ei2admin
In the next few weeks and months there are many government-sponsored conferences being held to attract small businesses to, and inform small businesses of, government agencies’ upcoming contracting opportunities.
Toward the end of this article, you’ll see a list of many government-related vendor conferences coming up, along with details on how to register.
But before jumping right into that list, the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) suggests you take a few preparatory steps. After all, it’s important that you make a sound decision about whether it’s worth the time, effort, and expense to attend a particular vendor conference.
First of all, small businesses should make no mistake about it: government agencies may need you more than you need them. Federal agencies are under the gun to ensure that small businesses — including 8(a) firms, companies in HUBZones, service disabled veteran owned small businesses, and others such as women-owned businesses at the subcontract level — get their share of the “contract spend.” Keep in mind that the federal government is nearing the end of its fiscal year (Sept. 30th), so there is money to be spent before then, and small business goals to be met. That’s why agencies host conferences — to demonstrate that they are reaching out to the small business community — and that may be why there are always so many government events scheduled toward the end of each year.
Does that mean that you should attend as many governmental vendor conferences as you can, and that by attending, contracts will begin to fall in your lap? Hardly.
From GTPAC’s perspective, government-sponsored vendor conferences run the gamut in value. Some are well-organized, featuring details on specific, upcoming opportunities as well as access to the decision-makers. Other conferences, however, can be disappointing, consisting of little more than “a dog and pony show.”
So how do you select a good conference to attend? How do you reduce the risk that you’ll be attending a conference that has little value to you?
There are several things you should do before deciding to go to a government-sponsored vendor event. Here is a checklist:
1. Research the conference sponsoring agency’ s forecasted contract opportunities. Look for the sponsoring agency’s annual procurement forecast on that agency’s website. Use www.google.com/unclesam and type in the name of the federal agency and “procurement forecast.” (If that search fails to produce the results you need, check https://www.acquisition.gov/comp/procurement_forecasts/index.html.) One thing for sure, before you attend an event, you want to make sure the sponsoring agency buys what you sell.
2. Find out what contract opportunities will be the subject of the conference. Even if an agency buys what you sell, you’ll want to make sure that will be the focus of the conference. Look in the conference announcement — see if the agency identifies specific goods and services that will be the focus of the conference. Are the NAICS codes for future contracts identified, and do they match-up with yours?
3. Determine whether you’ll get access to decision-makers. Look for opportunities to meet one-on-one with the people who make the buying decisions. Good vendor conferences will provide you with the opportunity to meet, on an appointment basis during the event, with agency contracting officials. See if you can make appointments as a part of the registration process or whether such opportunities exist on-site at the event. Think outside the box: If you arrive early — or stay late — will you be able to spend time with the people who award contracts?
4. Once you select a conference, prepare yourself. Remember, only one-third of the “action” occurs at the event itself. You should spend the first third of your time preparing to attend. And another third should be spent in follow-up, after the event. If you are not prepared to make this much of an investment of your time, maybe you shouldn’t attend. To help you prepare, attend, and follow-up, we recommend you read our detailed article at: http://www.albanysmallbiz.org/2010/05/14-tips-for-attending-a-government-expo-or-trade-show. Your GTPAC Counselor will be glad to elaborate on this topic and provide you with additional advice. You can find our contact information right here.
Now, what you have been waiting for: The information about upcoming government vendor shows. Here they are:
- Public Health Preparedness Summit – February 22-25, 2011 – Atlanta, GA – Details at; http://www.phprep.org/2011.
- National Recreation and Park Association Congress & Exposition – November 1 – 4, 2011 – Atlanta, GA – Details to be announced.
2010 Conferences (Upcoming)
- GSA Schedules Contract Training- December 13 and November 15, 2010 – On-Line Webinar - Register for the Nov. 15 webinar at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/670264562; Register for the Dec. 13 webinar at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/913141458.
- Aerospace Industry Committee (AIC) 8th Annual Requirements Symposium – November 16 – 18, 2010 – Perry, GA – Details at: http://www.wrcoc-aic.org/Page8.aspx.
- Department of Defense “Industry Day” focusing on the shipbuilding industry along the Gulf Coast - November 9, 2010 – Biloxi, MS – Details at: http://www.albanysmallbiz.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/3rd-Annual-DoD-Shipbuilding-Industry-Day-Nov-9-2010.pdf
- The Governmental Purchasing Association of Georgia’s annual Georgia Vendor Exhibitor Fair - November 2-3, 2010 – Perry, GA – Details at: http://www.albanysmallbiz.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/GPAG-Vendor-Fair-Nov-2-3-2010-Perry-GA.pdf
- 4th Annual SDVOSB/VOSB/SB Conference & Match Making Expo – October 28 – 29, 2010 – Tampa, FL – Details at: http://www.dm.usda.gov/osdbu/FBOAnnouncement_13Aug2010.pdf.
- Small Biz Contractors’ Forum Presents: Contacts & Contracts – October 27, 2010 – Atlanta, GA – Details at: http://www.nasbc.org/contacts-contracts-georgia.
- City of Albany Small Business Procurement Program Kick-Off & Orientation – October 18, 2010 – Albany, GA – Details at: http://gtpac.org/2010/10/city-of-albanys-small-business-program-kick-off-set-for-oct-18.
- University System of Georgia – South Georgia Regional Procurement Expo 2010 – October 15, 2010 – Savannah, GA – Details at: http://www.albanysmallbiz.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Univ.-System-of-GA-Procurement-Expo-Oct.-15-2010.pdf.
2010 Conferences (Previously Held – Resources Posted)
- National SBIR Beyond Phase II Conference & Technology Showcase - September 13 – 17, 2010 – San Antonio, TX – Details at: https://www.beyondphaseii.com/index.aspx.
- Effective Problem Solving – Life’s Most Important Skill - September 9, 2010 – On-Line Webinar - details at: https://mep-nist-events.webex.com/mep-nist-events/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=997194952
- Annual U.S. Army Infantry Warfighting Conference – September 13 – 16, 2010 – Columbus, GA – Details at http://www.albanysmallbiz.org/2010/09/army-vendor-showcase-in-columbus-ga-in-sept.
- GSA’s Public Buildings Service Educational and Matchmaking Conference – August 31, 2010 – Atlanta, GA – Details at http://www.albanysmallbiz.org/2010/08/gsa-to-host-public-buildings-service-vendor-conference-aug-31st - Conference proceedings now posted at http://www.albanysmallbiz.org/training/training-video.
- Air Force Information Technology Conference - August 30-31, 2010 – Montgomery, AL – Details at http://www.albanysmallbiz.org/2010/07/air-force-to-host-it-vendors-in-montgomery-al.
- Clayton County (GA) Business Community Meeting- August 26, 2010 – Jonesboro, GA – Details at http://www.albanysmallbiz.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Clayton-County-Business-Community-Meeting-Aug.-26-2010.pdf.
- Minority Enterprise Development Week Conference – August 25-27, 2010 – Washington, DC – Details at MEDWeek flyer - Conference proceedings now posted at http://www.medweek.gov/conference-presentation.
- SBA Veterans Export Business Symposium - August 24, 2010 – Lawrenceville, GA – Details at Veterans Export Symposium 08 24 2010.
- USWCC Women-Led Economy Launch Meeting - August 17, 2010 – Atlanta, GA – Details at: http://www.uswcc360members.org/memberarea/EventList.aspx - Post-conference details now available at: http://www.uswcc.org.
- Georgia Small Business Summit – August 17, 2010 – Macon, GA – Details at http://www.albanysmallbiz.org/2010/07/sen-isakson-to-host-small-business-summit-in-macon.
- Marine Corps Logistics Command’s Annual Vendor Event – August 12, 2010 - Albany, GA – Details at http://www.albanysmallbiz.org/2010/06/albany-marine-corps-base-hosting-vendor-event-aug-12th - Conference proceedings now posted at http://www.logcom.usmc.mil/sbpo.
- Emergency Response Contracting Conference - June 21, 2010 – Atlanta, GA - Conference proceedings now posted at http://www.albanysmallbiz.org/training/training-video.
Interior Dept. Small Business Boot Camp - August 31, 2010 – Washington, DC – http://www.doi.gov/osdbu/registration_aug31.html
- © 2010 Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center – All Rights Reserved.
October 4, 2010 by ei2admin
The Small Business Administration finally has started to implement a contracting program for women who own small firms, one decade after Congress first authorized it.
On Monday, SBA filed a final rule creating the long-awaited procurement program, which focuses on 83 industries in which women are underrepresented in the federal contracting marketplace. Program participants will be eligible for set-aside deals of less than $3 million for most contracts and $5 million for manufacturing. The rule will appear in the Federal Register on Thursday.
“Despite their growth and the fact that women lead some of the strongest and most innovative companies, women-owned firms continue to be underrepresented in the federal contracting marketplace,” SBA Administrator Karen Mills said. “This rule will be a platform for changing that by providing greater opportunities for women-owned small businesses to compete for and win federal contracts.”
The final rule closely mirrors a proposal the Obama administration first floated in March. SBA received more than 1,000 comments on the proposed rule, but ultimately made mostly minor changes.
To be eligible for the program, a firm must be 51 percent owned, controlled and primarily managed by one or more women who are U.S. citizens. The firm also must qualify as “small” in its primary industry.
SBA officials identified the 83 eligible industries based on a combination of the share of contracting dollars awarded to women-owned firms and the share of contracts awarded. This is a departure from the previous rule by the George W. Bush administration, which identified only four industries in which women-owned small businesses were underrepresented, based solely on the share of contracting dollars.
Women-owned small businesses will be allowed to self-certify for the program, or be certified by a third party, such as an industry association. Companies will be required to submit proof of eligibility to an online document repository that SBA will maintain.
To avoid the fraud that has plagued many of the other small business socioeconomic programs, the agency will examine firms’ documentation and seek punitive actions against ineligible businesses that improperly attempt to participate.
Advocates expect the program will help the government reach, for the first time, the federal statutory goal of awarding 5 percent of all contract dollars to women-owned small businesses.
“The shortfall between the contracting dollars awarded to women and the paltry 5 percent goal has been in the range of $5 [billion] to $8 billion annually,” said Margot Dorfman, chief executive officer of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce. “We are confident that, with this program, the federal government will finally have the tool necessary to bring fair access to contracts for women-owned firms. We look forward to reviewing the final rule — and hopefully, to seeing an end to our legal claim against the SBA.”
The women-owned small business program has gone through a host of delays, rewrites and litigation during the past 10 years.
In 2000, President Clinton signed the Equity in Contracting for Women Act, allowing the government to reserve contracts for women-owned small businesses in industries where females historically were underrepresented.
The program sputtered, however, during the Bush administration. A 2004 Women’s Chamber of Commerce lawsuit forced Bush officials to draft a proposal. But the 2008 plan set off a firestorm of complaints from lawmakers and women’s advocates, who accused SBA of choosing the narrowest methodology for determining underrepresentation. The Obama administration decided last year to scrap existing proposals and draft a new, comprehensive rule.
SBA now has 120 days to implement the program. The agency plans to use that time to educate and train federal contracting officers on the new requirements and to finalize a database of eligible companies. The program should be officially up and running by early February 2011, according to SBA spokeswoman Hayley Matz.
- by Robert Brodsky – GovExec.com – October 5, 2010
October 3, 2010 by ei2admin
The White House has created an interagency working group to stop counterfeit goods from entering the supply chains that support Defense Department weapons systems and private sector electronic goods, the nation’s first intellectual property czar said on Tuesday.
“The implications of DoD procuring counterfeit goods are negative and obvious,” said Victoria Espinel, the U.S. intellectual property enforcement coordinator at the Office of Management and Budget. “Our understanding is that this is a problem that a number of our agencies are struggling with.”
Espinel made her comments at an event hosted by the nonpartisan Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, before the start of a panel discussion on strengthening enforcement of IP rights in countries that systematically extort intellectual property. Congress created the IP coordinator position in 2008, to respond to concerns that government agencies responsible for protecting intellectual property were not coordinating.
This summer, the White House issued a joint strategic plan to combat IP theft that called for establishing a governmentwide working group to study how to reduce the risk of agencies procuring counterfeit parts. The framework stated the task force should include representatives from the National Security Council, Defense, NASA, General Services Administration, Commerce Department, Small Business Administration and Homeland Security Department.
A January 2010 Commerce survey found that nearly 40 percent of entities across the procurement supply chain discovered counterfeit electronics between 2005 and 2008. The semiconductor industry has aired concerns that counterfeit chips mislabeled as military-grade can lead to fatal malfunction in military and aerospace parts, according to the White House’s strategic plan.
On Tuesday, Espinel observed the IP problem is one issue where there is consensus in Congress. “I feel very lucky to be working in an area where there is great bipartisan support,” she said. Democratic Sens. Tom Carper of Delaware and Sherrod Brown of Ohio in an Aug. 6 letter to Ashton B. Carter, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, expressed fear about the potential for counterfeit parts to delay military missions and seriously affect the integrity of weapons systems.
The senators’ letter referenced the Commerce study and a March Government Accountability Office report that found Defense did not have specific procedures for detecting and preventing counterfeit parts from infiltrating the supply chain.
China, the country most frequently identified as the source of counterfeit items, should be treated with “a carrot-and-stick approach,” Espinel said. “China is both an economically sensitive issue and a political sensitive issue.”
October 1, 2010 by ei2admin
The small business contracting parity debate is finally over.
On Monday, President Obama signed legislation that re-establishes equality among each of the small business subcategories that competes for government contracts.
The 2010 Small Business Jobs Act, which also provides tax cuts for undersized firms and creates programs to support private sector lending, makes a technical revision to the 1953 Small Business Act by replacing the word “shall” in the Historically Underutilized Business Zone statute with the word “may.”
The old language in the Small Business Act stated that a procurement officer shall award contracts based on limited competition to HUBZone small businesses. But, the statutes creating the service-disabled veteran-owned small business program and the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development Program used the word “may” when referring to set-aside contracts.
The Government Accountability Office and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims determined the difference unambiguously established a preference for HUBZone firms.
The Small Business Administration lobbied lawmakers for months to support legislation that would place contractors in the 8(a) and service-disabled veteran-owned small business programs — and the pending women-owned small businesses program — on equal footing with HUBZone companies. HUBZone companies are located in economically depressed neighborhoods.
“This clarification will help federal agencies meet each of the government’s small business contracting goals,” said SBA spokeswoman Hayley Matz.
The agency now will work with the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council to “put in place, as expeditiously as possible, provisions implementing parity among all of SBA’s contracting and business development programs,” Matz said.
But, some small businesses are worried the new legislation could spell the end of the HUBZone program. “This is going to seal the fate of the HUBZone program,” said Jim Slagle, executive vice president for sales and marketing at Mission Critical Solutions, a Tampa, Fla. HUBZone firm that first challenged the parity statute in court. “They are not going to prioritize HUBZone firms. I don’t know that we will survive this.”
The federal government has not met its goal of awarding 3 percent of all contract dollars to HUBZone small businesses, while it generally exceeds its 5 percent goal for small disadvantaged businesses — a category that includes the 8(a) program.
Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and ranking member of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, sponsored the parity language in the Small Business Jobs Act. Snowe, however, did not vote for the overall legislation because of its cost and questions surrounding the structure of several lending programs.
The jobs act also:
- Directs SBA to establish a mentor-protégé program to assist small businesses owned by women, service-disabled veterans and those operating in HUBZones. The initiative would be modeled after the 8(a) mentor-protégé program.
- Requires OMB’s Office of Federal Procurement Policy to establish a governmentwide policy for contract bundling — a process in which several small contracts are consolidated and awarded to one firm, often out of the reach of small businesses. Prior to bundling a contract, procurement officials would be required to conduct market research and to have a senior acquisition official sign off on the decision. The rationale for bundling then would be publicly disclosed.
- Instructs OFPP to develop guidance that would allow agencies to set aside orders placed against multiple-award contracts exclusively for small businesses. The policy would apply to indefinite delivery-indefinite quantity contracts and task and delivery-order awards.
- Establishes a pilot program for collaboration and joint ventures involving small business contractors. Under the five-year program, $5 million in federal grants will be awarded to eligible small business teams seeking to compete for larger procurement contracts.
- Mandates small businesses recertify their size status annually. The law also establishes a governmentwide policy for prosecuting companies that fraudulently disclose themselves to be a small business.
The parity controversy was sparked in May 2009 when Mission Critical Solutions, which had lost out on an Army IT contract to an 8(a) minority-owned small business, filed a protest with GAO. The company argued, and GAO agreed, that HUBZone firms were legally at the top of the small business pecking order and the government should have given Mission Critical Solutions the first crack at the contract.
The ruling sparked a fury of activity, with the Office of Management and Budget and Justice Department issuing rare contradictory memos instructing agencies to disregard GAO’s nonbinding decision because it could “significantly limit the discretion” of contracting officers.
In a separate case, the Court of Federal Claims, a body whose rulings are binding, later decided in favor of Mission Critical Solutions. Justice has appealed that decision, although it is unclear how the new legislation will affect that case.
GAO since has ruled in favor of two HUBZone firms that filed similar contract protests. And in August the Court of Federal Claims issued its second ruling on the matter, arguing the Air Force first should have considered DGR Associates Inc., a HUBZone firm, before awarding a contract at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska to an 8(a) small business.
– By Robert Brodsky – GovExec.com – September 27, 2010
September 24, 2010 by ei2admin
A presidential panel is calling for major reforms of the government’s small business contracting guidelines, procedures and regulations.
The Task Force on Federal Contracting Opportunities for Small Businesses on Wednesday released its suggestions for helping undersized firms break into the government marketplace and win federal contracts, strengthening procurement policies, enhancing training for acquisition officials and improving contracting data on federal websites.
Among its most significant proposals, the task force recommended the White House require agencies to reserve work on task-and-delivery order contracts or Multiple Award Schedule contracts for small businesses. Under existing policies, considerations for small business set-asides are made prior to the award of a contract. But acquisition policy officials have been reluctant to apply set-asides for individual orders, despite a 2008 legal opinion by the Government Accountability Office, which supported the policy change.
“Existing tools that might help direct additional work toward small businesses, such as the consideration of socioeconomic status for schedule orders and partial set-asides for contracts, appear to be underutilized and misunderstood,” the report said. “Many public comments offered to the task force voiced frustration over the continued failure of policy officials to tackle these issues.”
The panel also suggested the Small Business Administration and the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Federal Procurement Policy issue guidance to prevent unjustified contract bundling; clarify rules for small business teaming; strengthen the requirements for developing small business subcontracting plans; review the quality of small business contracting data; and assess the impact of insourcing on small business contractors.
“While some work performed by small business contractors may need to be insourced if it is inherently governmental or is of a critical nature and the agency is at risk of losing control of its operations, the task force believes much of the work will continue to be performed by contractors, including small businesses,” the report said.
President Obama created the task force in April. Several agencies, including OMB and SBA, co-chaired the group.
“When a small business gets a federal contract, it’s a win-win,” SBA Administrator Karen Mills wrote Wednesday on the White House blog. “The business gets the revenue it needs to grow and create jobs, and at the same time, the government benefits from working with some of the most diligent, innovative and responsive people in the world.”
The task force also addressed concerns about the skills and capabilities of the acquisition workforce to implement small business guidelines. The report recommends revising core certification for procurement officials and requiring for the first time mandatory training on small business policies and regulations.
Industry has complained that the government’s small business contracting goals have no teeth. For the past several years, the government has missed its goal of awarding 23 percent of all prime contracting dollars to small businesses, but little to no enforcement was taken against underperforming agencies.
The task force encouraged the Obama administration to adopt a system of carrots and sticks, rewarding agencies and employees who successfully promote small business contracting with awards and recognition, and holding officials accountable when they fall short of their goals. The report does not, however, suggest repercussions for poor-performing agencies.
Industry officials credited the task force for addressing many top concerns, but some remain skeptical. “As long as the barriers to contracting with small businesses are allowed to exist and the laws that protect their rights are not enforced, agencies will continue to fail in their efforts at contracting with them,” said Henry Thomas, co-founder of a think tank operated by the Fairness in Procurement Alliance, an association that advocates for small business contractors.
Among its most ambitious recommendations, the task force called for a systematic reorganizing and refunctioning of two leading government procurement websites. The panel suggested making FedBizOpps, which provides industry with notice of upcoming contracts, a one-stop source for annual requirements forecasting, the posting of subcontracting opportunities, the outreach calendar of all federal agency matchmaking and training events and a directory of online agency small business resources.
The much-maligned Federal Procurement Data System, which tracks all contracts, would receive an upgrade to enhance the use of its small business information. SBA unveiled on Wednesday its new Small Business Contracting Dashboard, which breaks down spending by small business category from fiscal 2000 through fiscal 2009.
“Implementing these new tools and recommendations won’t be easy,” Mills said in the blog post. “But our message today is clear: We’re going to build on what works in small business contracting. We’re going to implement new tools to help more small businesses compete and win.”
The task force will report to White House by the end of the year on progress with implementing the recommendations.
– by Robert Brodsky – GovExec.com – September 15, 2010
Government tries to downplay questionable small business data, according to American Small Business League
September 8, 2010 by ei2admin
The Obama Administration has released its fiscal year (FY) 2009 Small Business Procurement Scorecard, reporting that the government missed its 23 percent small business contracting goal. In its scorecard, the government claimed to have awarded a mere 21.89 percent to small businesses, while also failing to meet congressionally mandated contracting goals for women, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses and HUBZone firms. The Obama Administration missed 4 of its 5 contracting goals (http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20100827005701/en).
The American Small Business League (ASBL) maintains that based on a recent evaluation of FY 2009 small business contracting data, the actual percentage of contracts awarded to small businesses is closer to 5 percent. In June, the ASBL conducted a review of the top 100 recipients of federal small business contracts for FY 2009. Within its sample, the ASBL identified 60 large firms, which received 64.5 percent of the total dollars the government claimed to have awarded to small businesses. (http://www.asbl.com/documents/ASBL_2009_dataanalysis.pdf)
The ASBL also identified a series of Fortune 500 corporations and other large firms in the government’s 2009 contracting data. Recipients of small business contracts included: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, L-3 Communications, British Aerospace (BAE), Northrop Grumman, General Electric, Booz Allen Hamilton, Thales Communications, General Dynamics, and Dell Computer.
Since 2003, more than a dozen federal investigations have found billions of dollars a month in federal small business contracts flowing into the hands of corporate giants. (http://www.asbl.com/documentlibrary.html)
The ASBL believes the Obama Administration has dramatically inflated the percentage of contracts awarded to small businesses by under-reporting the actual federal acquisition budget and by including billions of dollars in contracts awarded to large businesses. The actual federal acquisition budget for foreign, domestic, classified and unclassified projects is roughly $1 trillion. The Obama Administration’s goaling achievement is based on a number that is less than half of the actual federal acquisition budget.
As the American Small Business League predicted, the Obama Administration released its FY 2009 small business contracting numbers near the close of business on Friday afternoon. The late release of data is a clear indication the Obama Administration was trying to avoid scrutiny from the mainstream media. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lloyd-chapman/obama-administration-fabr_b_693359.html, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lloyd-chapman/obama-administration-will_b_674073.html)
“President Obama is not fooling anyone. These 5 o’clock Friday afternoon press releases are like sending up a signal flare that the data is fabricated,” ASBL President Lloyd Chapman said. “Every year billions of dollars in federal contracts are diverted to Fortune 500 corporations and other large businesses, and every year the government fabricates its numbers. It is time for Congress and the Obama Administration to pass H.R. 2568, the Fairness and Transparency in Contracting Act, and end this abuse once and for all.”
– published by the American Small Business League, August 30, 2010 – Christopher Gunn, 707-789-9575
September 3, 2010 by ei2admin
Federal agencies are failing to maximize opportunities to make contracts competitive, often because of poor management or because officials have grown comfortable with incumbent contractors, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.
The watchdog reviewed trends in noncompetitive contracts during the past several years and discovered a number of questionable business practices by contracting officials and program managers. GAO found 44 percent of all federal contracts in fiscal 2009 either were not placed up for competition or attracted only one bid.
The report (GAO-10-833), which the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee requested, highlighted contracts that appeared to be written with such narrowly defined requirements that only one company could reasonably compete. In other instances, program offices pressed for follow-on contracts to be awarded without competition to the existing company because it would be more expeditious since the offices already had formed a relationship with the firm.
“A Navy program official stated that, when one contractor has been performing a requirement for many years, it is easier to go back to the contractor personnel who understand the requirement rather than taking the time to find a new vendor,” the report said.
From fiscal 2005 to fiscal 2009, the reported obligations for noncompetitive contracts declined from 36 percent of total procurement spending to 31 percent, investigators found. But contracts in which only one offer was received remained steady at around 13 percent.
The report cited a host of reasons for contracts with only one bid. Often, companies are scared off by a competent incumbent contractor considered an overwhelming favorite to continue with the work, the watchdog said. Other times, solicitations might appear to favor one company, the report noted. In addition, some vendors that might have competed for work are forming teams to submit one offer, industry officials told GAO.
“Given the nation’s fiscal constraints, it is not acceptable to keep an incumbent contractor in place without competition simply because the contractor is doing a good job, or to resist legitimate suggestions that competition be imposed even though it may take longer,” the report said.
GAO recommended the Obama administration assess the reasons contracts are receiving only one offer. Daniel Gordon, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy at the Office of Management and Budget, has argued that one bid is not enough to constitute competition and that the practice limits agencies’ ability to consider qualified alternatives.
Recent OFPP guidance requires agencies to begin separating data collected on these contracts and to code them as “noncompetitive procurements using competitive procedures.” Gordon concurred with GAO’s recommendation.
But, it might be difficult to get sound data on contract competition. GAO randomly selected a sample of 107 contracts and orders that were coded as noncompetitive or receiving one bid, and reviewed the contract files. Eighteen percent of the contracts were coded incorrectly — as either not competed when they had been, or as competed with one offer received when they had not been competed at all, the report said.
In fiscal 2009, the Navy and the Air Force had some of the worst competition rates, with about 45 percent of contracts not competitive, GAO said. The Energy Department and Office of Personnel Management had among the lowest rates of noncompetition, at 7 percent and 5 percent, respectively.
The most common explanation for failing to conduct any competition was that “only one reasonable source” was available to perform the work, according to the GAO sample. In some cases, such as an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement contract for communications equipment and supplies, one contractor essentially owns the market.
In other instances, particularly with Defense Department weapons programs, the government is hamstrung by a lack of access to proprietary technical data, according to the watchdog. Companies’ expertise, experience and reluctance to sell technical data for a reasonable price generally preclude the possibility of competition, the report said.
Several contracting officials blamed the lack of competition on receiving short notice from program offices for acquisitions. With little time to conduct market research or properly define requirements — elements of a robust acquisition process — contracting officials often turn back to the incumbent, investigators said.
The second most frequently cited exception to competition was the authority to award sole-source contracts to firms in Small Business Administration’s 8(a) business development program. Through the program, agencies are encouraged to award participating 8(a) firms noncompetitive contracts worth less than $3.5 million when procuring services, or less than $5.5 million for manufacturing.
– by Robert Brodsky – GovExec.com – August 26, 2010
September 2, 2010 by ei2admin
Government contracting opportunities can become more accessible through 8(a) certification.
The “8(a) Business Development Program” is a program of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to ensure equal business access for socially and economically disadvantaged business people, including American citizens who are Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian Pacific or Subcontinent Asian, and in some cases women.
Companies which qualify for 8(a) status must go through a formal application and certification process administered by the SBA. This process is detailed and multi-faceted. Fortunately, the SBA and its Small Business Development Centers, offer training and assistance with the 8(a) process.
Prior to applying for 8(a) status, businesses are urged to take an on-line training and self-evaluation course, which is accessible via the following link: 8(a) Business Development Suitability Tool.
Following the on-line self-evaluation, company representratives should consider attening “8(a) BD Certification Step by Step,” a training class offered by Georgia State University’s Small Business Development Center. The next time this class is offered is on Sept. 23, 2010 in Atlanta. Pre-registration is required and may be accomplished at: http://web.sba.gov/calendar/public/index.cfm?rc=0405.
To view the complete calendar of upcoming SBA events, visit http://www.sba.gov/localresources/district/ga/eventscalender/index.html.