October 14, 2011 by cs
February 16, 2011 by cs
How would you like to have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a buyer in charge of purchasing for the State of Georgia?
How about the chance to meet with someone in charge of contracting from the University System of Georgia?
In addition, would you like to have the chance to describe your business capabilities to contracting representatives representing the City of Albany, the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport, the Georgia Dept. of Corrections, the City of Albany, the Marine Corps Command, the IRS, the General Services Administration, and the federal departments of Commerce, Interior, and Juvenile Justice?
Well, you can have a chance to meet with all of these people by attending the “Albany Small Business Program Speed Partnering” event on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011, from 8:00 am until 3:00 pm at the Albany Civic Center.
The event is free, but pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Simply click here to register and then hit the “Sign Up” button.
Along with 15-minute one-on-one meetings with buyers and contracting officials, attendees will have a chance to attend briefings on each of these topics:
- Business Communications, Elevator Pitches and Capability Statements
- Reading and Responding to Bid Solicitations
- The Do’s and Don’ts of Government Contracting
- Government Market Research
- SBA’s New Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) Certification Program
The featured luncheon speaker for this very special day is Ms. Pat Hanes, Regional Director of the Atlanta National Enterprise Center with the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce. She will be talking about what it takes to successfully sell within both the government and commercial sectors.
February 15, 2011 by cs
Ever heard of “speed dating” where couples are matched for short periods of time to see if the chemistry is right?
Well, through a unique event on February 22, the same principle is being applied – except it involves matches between local businesses, government agncies, and prime contractors.
If you want the opportunity to meet with buyers from local, state and federal agencies, you can’t afford to miss this event!
On Tuesday, February 22nd, the Albany Civic Center is the place to put your best marketing techniques to work. You’ll get a chance to meet with — and present your capabilities to — decision-makers and buyers from representatives of local, state, and federal government agencies, including the City of Albany, the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport, the University System of Georgia, the state’s Dept. of Administrative Services, the Georgia Dept. of Corrections, the Albany Marine Corps Logistics Command, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, the General Services Administration, and the Dept. of Juvenile Justice — and more!
Lunch will be provided, and featured speakers also will present on topics including Business Communications, Bid Preparations, Conducting Market Research, and the Do’s and Don’ts of Government Contracting.
This event also will provide special instruction for Albany-area small businesses interested in doing business with the City of Albany.
Coffee and informal networking begins at 8:00 am. The day’s program begins at 9:00 am and runs until 3:00 pm.
This event is completely free, so register now! Simply click here to register and then hit the “Sign Up” button.
October 4, 2010 by cs
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 1, 2010 by cs
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 2, 2010 by cs
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.