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There has been much written in the media lately by purported advocates for Small business, pitting Smalls against Mids in the hunt for government contracting real-estate. While on the surface, these actions may appear to have merit – in reality they are to the detriment of the Small business community at large, particularly government contractors.

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February 19, 2015

In 2015, 3,417 areas that were redesignated, mostly as a result of census results a few years ago, will lose their HUBZone status.

However, the only time these firms will be directly notified by SBA that they are located in a redesignated area is when they receive a notice of proposed decertification from the program after their status of the area expired.

Now, to be fair it must be noted that the SBA “is analyzing existing resources” and by July, plans to implement an enhanced mechanism to better inform certified firms of HUBZone designations changes or, at least, explain how a redesigned area can affect their participation in the program.

In the meantime, if you are currently certified in the program:

(1) check your status by reviewing the map on the SBA’s website: https://www.sba.gov/content/hubzone-maps,

(2) review the following GAO report to become better informed: http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/668468.pdf, and,

(3) if you need any assistance extending or defending your HUBZone certification, please contact us to set a time to discuss your options at: http://www.vcita.com/v/warwick

R. Sutherland
Boston Warwick Law

PURPOSE OF THE PETITION:

To create a Public Law that establishes the Small Business Administration Advisory Committee on Small Business Affairs to serve as an independent source of advice and policy recommendations to the Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Congress, the President and other US Policy Makers.

If you are interested in being part of this once in a lifetime effort, please email your firms name in support to: bizevangelist@vsbaonline.com. The actual online petition will be published to the Voice of Small Business in America | http://linkd.in/OneVoice  NLT April 15, 2014.

BACKGROUND:

I have been actively advocating for small business government contractors for more than a decade now and am convinced that we are a fragmented lot by a design that we neither created nor signed up for.

It should come as no surprise that there are 10’s maybe 100’s of small business government contractor advocacy organizations all across the nation. While each of these organizations pursues its own agenda on individual issues, none is ever able to reach critical mass at a meta-level and none has the ability to represent the consensus of what the small business government contractor community wants. Indeed, by virtue of the very model which makes the not-for-profit, membership organization possible; ‘divide and conquer’ becomes an institutionalized profit generating tool for large corporations to exploit at will. In capitalism, as in any competitive venue, the few can always conquer the many when the many operate in a chaotic manner.

The net result of our fragmented approach to date is the perpetuation of the following:

Large businesses are receiving small business procurement awards and agencies are receiving credit for these awards; misleading data has created the false impression that agencies are meeting their small business subcontracting goals; agencies know there are problems with the data reported by large contractors but do not take adequate corrective action; agencies award noncompetitive 8(a) contracts to ANC firms and these firms in turn subcontract with large companies; many Smalls are grown in a “farm system fashion” by larger businesses and win contracts while no longer meeting small business size standards – with no penalty; on multiple award contracts, task orders intended for the smallest contractors are issued to larger, agency incumbent contractors… then, there is bundling and consolidation…

All the while, the SBA’s oversight has fallen short including not adhering to a legislative and regulatory requirement to ascertain whether Smalls, are likely to suffer, a substantial unfair competitive disadvantage within an industry; but focusing rather on the hawking of debt in the form of loans on Smalls as if somehow economic infusion can counterbalance a lack of legislative will and institutionalized bias. In sum, right now, our collective Voice is faint and waning, and without stronger oversight, there is potential for continued abuse and unintended consequences to our collective detriment.

SOLUTION

Therefore, I propose that we petition the Congress and the White House to create a Public Law that establishes the Small Business Administration Advisory Committee on Small Business Affairs to serve as an independent source of advice and policy recommendations to the Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Congress, the President and other US Policy Makers.

This Advisory Committee will be fashioned in the same manner as the one formed for Veterans in Public Law 106–50, SEC. 203.The Committee shall be composed of 15 members, of whom eight shall be small business concerns (within the meaning of the term under section 3 of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 632)); and seven shall be representatives of small business organizations across the country.

We are now 15,000+ strong, let’s make it count.

One Voice… R. Sutherland

Although we have been trying to support those in our membership who had the misfortune of not being awarded contracts due to regulatory deadlines for their recourse; this in no form or manner should detract from our congratulating those firms that were awarded.

Although several are still in the process of demonstrating financial capacity, we are quite confident that all should be able to do so. Now, as discretion is still our most potent weapon while we forge forward in the full & open tract – we offer sincere congratulations for your accomplishment and look forward our future successes together.

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http://teaming-exchange.com/

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“ [FACT] 29 contractors won seats on GSA Alliant because of the filing of bid protests!”

GSA OASIS Small Business awards were announced today on FedBizOps @ https://www.fbo.gov/notices/46fc6e79adf8ac198bf4656cc0efe913

If you WERE NOT awarded and don’t agree with the decision of the GSA OASIS contracting officer or agency regarding the awarded contracts to Small Business, regulations provide you with ways to make your voice heard – most commonly, with an award protest.

Since a successful protest allows your company to get back in front of the procuring agency and be re-considered for award, protests are clearly an important business capture consideration on such procurements. Assisting our membership with this prospective option is a large part of our current pre & post-award protest strategy at the GAO.

To file a protest, you must be an “interested party.”  This means that you must have direct economic interest in and would potentially be affected by the contract award or by the failure to award a contract. If your protest were sustained, you could be in line for an award.

Protesters can challenge anything from the acceptance or rejection of a contract award or proposed award of a contract to defective solicitations. Some examples of bid defects are restrictive specifications, omission of required revisions, or ambiguous evaluation factors. You can even request a contract’s termination if you allege that it was awarded based on improprieties.

Government contracting regulations require that you use your best efforts to resolve matters with a contracting agency before you file a protest. Open conversations are encouraged between you and the agency’s contracting officers; this helps promote a fair and diligent resolution of matters.

If things can’t be resolved through open conversation and you submit an award protest to GSA, you can expect an informal and procedurally simple resolution to the protest that may involve another agency’s personnel, third-party neutrals or alternative dispute techniques.

If the bid protest or award protest is received prior to the award of a contract, the contract typically will not be awarded pending the outcome of the protest.  There are some exceptions to this rule — for example, if the government is in dire need of the products or services.  If the GSA receives the protest 10 days after the award of the contract, the contract performance will be halted until the protest is resolved.

If you cannot resolve your protest with the contracting agency, you can file the protest with the U.S. General Accountability Office (GAO).

We can help you, however, the first thing you need to do is devise a debrief strategy. Please contact Karen ASAP to schedule a telecom to discuss your specific circumstances as soon as possible at admin@boston-warwick.com.

Boston Warwick Law | http://www.boston-warwick.com/

www.teaming-exchange.com

 “We are dedicated to our customer’s satisfaction. We have a genuine interest in learning about the customer’s goals and a commitment of time in considering their particular and unique needs/challenges when developing a solution rather than applying unaltered boilerplate solutions.” – R. Sutherland

FUNDAMENTALS

For 2014, we are taking the next step in our evolution beyond GSA OASIS.

Using a shared services back-office model to scale marketing, finance, administration, operations, and human resources; the Teaming X-change leverages the disparate past performance and collective capacity of its members to competitively pursue opportunities that are both Small Business set-aside as well as Full & Open at the federal procurement level.

Our primary goal is to create new and lucrative revenue streams together through cross promotion of expertise, increased geographic foot-print, creation of new and innovative products and services to grow our member businesses strategically. Our members have deep capability and past performance in the following diverse and complementary disciplines and business sectors:

  • Accounting
  • Architect
  • Construction
  • Editing
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Graphic Design
  • Information Technology
  • Legal
  • Marketing
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Program Management
  • Quality Management
  • Staffing
  • Statistical Analysis
  • Transportation
  • Travel Management
  • Waste Management

The X-change portfolio management team has many years of experience in crafting collaborative strategies to help teams of business owners, at various sizes and scales, achieve their goals through innovative joint ventures. And, although governance normally follows equity, we do not require that our members contribute assets to teaming and venture vehicles to give up control of those assets. In all ventures structured through the X-change, shared governance is the prevalent element. Furthermore, the X-change is structured with the flexibility to allow joint venture member firms to participate in projects and contract opportunities according to their individual capability and availability.

For more details on our expanded model, and to create or insure that your current company profile is up-to-date, please visit and login at www.teaming-exchange.com

R. Sutherland, Founder

Now, this is a true story. Let me qualify what you are about to read by saying I personally have assisted many 8(a) firms in transition to full & open. However, there is one firm owned by a gentleman so unassuming that you could easily presume him inconsequential. But, when looked at from the lenses of true scalable operations, sound management, leadership – and did I say performance? This firm’s record can only be declared as phenomenal.

But why, you ask , do I wish to share this story? I share this story for those of you 8(a)’s who believe that if you are the best at what you do; if you do the right thing; if you bring value to the federal agency(s) that you work for while in the program, you will be able to leverage that performance on its merits. Although, it used to be that way in the not so distant past; its not anymore.

The 8(a) program, like SDVOSB, and HUBZone, has become a means negotiated proxy whose value is not measured by performance and value per tax-payer $$ spent; but by favor to firms’ ran by minorities committed to soon to be retired personnel. I write this, not to have you give up, or presume hopelessness – no, not by a long shot. I tell this story, so that those of you who are doing everything right and enjoying the results of your labor, nevertheless, don’t presume to relax and believe that a 50/50 portfolio upon graduation is a sufficient cushion to propel you into the full & open with sustained momentum – it’s not.

You now need to start competing for (and winning) small business set-asides (outside of 8(a)) in years 4 and 5… but back to the story. Once upon a time, an 8(a) started the program with a solid strategy, solid private-sector past performance, and strong agency relationships – or so they thought. As a result and expected, they hit the ground running. Built a portfolio of solid contract vehicles, set-aside and not; and enjoyed 9 years of 8(a) bliss. Management negotiated good faith contract transitions for program off-ramp in a fashion that would be on par with private sector risk management. Again, they did it right.

But, then the fears of post-career unknowns visited upon the relative contracting officer personnel office and Maslow’s Hierarchy was descended by these folks like it was Jacob’s Ladder and all bets were off. For you see, cloaked in the statement “gov’ts best interest” is many times some bureaucrat’s self-interest. Despite stellar past performance over 9 years, forged relationships, and commitments made between Men as men have done for decades in this space; we watched this “example of excellence” be thrown unapologetically under the bus asif it were a form of Cesar reincarnated.

So, I say to you -do not believe, despite past-performance is no longer prologue for positive leverage post graduation. Take all commitments, even those executed in writing, by bureaucrats as having a shelf-life not communicated. Establish a reserve beginning with the your 1st 8(a) win above the line of profit – and title it “fund for defense and claims on portfolio.” Soci-economic programs are now on par with Vegas; the house is not happy to see you leave with any winnings; you may have to fight if you plan on leaving of the front door…

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