As of November 12, 2019, Federal Business Opportunities, the website for publishing all public government procurements, will be officially decommissioned. After Veterans Day, the authoritative source for federal solicitations will be under a page on beta.SAM.gov. According to the current timeline from the General Services Administration (GSA), the current FBO.gov site will enter a “data freeze” beginning on November 8. During that freeze, no new procurement data will be uploaded to the site as it is fully decommissioned over the holiday weekend. Beginning on November 12, all federal procurements will be posted on beta.SAM.gov under the “Contract Opportunities” tab.
Users will have to use an existing account through Login.gov or create a new one, in order to get full use of the new opportunities site. The Contract Opportunities site will have most of the same capabilities as FBO.gov, with some additional bells and whistles. For example, the new site will allow users to choose between more filter options, including by solicitation type and four-digit product services codes.
The new site will also users to download search results and individual notices directly and will have access to new APIs that will replace the ftp.FBO.gov capability.
Non-government users—vendors—also will have to do some initial legwork to ensure their current watch lists and other settings migrate to the new site:
- Confirm FBO account details such as what notices are being watched, what’s in the Search Agent, what attachments the account can access and which vendor lists include the account.
- Create your SAM.gov account through Login.gov with a business or federal email.
- No need for roles. The system will automatically give non-government users permission matching the legacy “vendor” role.
- Check out the new workspace, including the account’s profile, opportunities being followed and saved searches.
Users who forget about the transition will still be able to use the FBO.gov link, which will redirect to a landing page with additional information about the new Contract Opportunities section. GSA is also offering a host of resources to ease the transition, including an official fact sheet, transition guides for federal users and administrators, FAQs on system accounts and federal hierarchy, video tutorials and quick-start guides for users, administrators and contractors, among others.
The SAM.gov site itself is still in beta as more functionality is shifted from the old awards management site. GSA says the site is expected to come out of beta in fiscal 2020 as the final capabilities from the legacy SAM.gov site are migrated over.
If you enjoy listening to podcasts on the way to work, check out www.govconpodcasts.com. This is a relatively new website that features a collection of some of the nation’s top podcasts and information from top experts in government contracting. A great way to learn on the go!
In November, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will launch the tenth round of its SBIR/STTR Phase 0 Assistance Program to coincide with the November 12, 2019 announcement of the FY2020 Phase I Release 2 SBIR/STTR Topics. The program is aimed at helping eligible small R&D businesses and individuals successfully apply for SBIR/STTR federal funding from the DOE. Since the program is entirely funded by the DOE, these services are AT NO COST TO PARTICIPANTS. The goal of this program is to increase the number of responsive, high-quality Phase I proposals submitted to the DOE from all first-time DOE SBIR/STTR applicants.
Companies and researchers planning to form a company may apply for services directly by completing a simple online form available at www.dawnbreaker.com/doephase0/apply.php. Registration for this round of the DOE Phase 0 Assistance program will begin November 12, 2019. Applicants will subsequently be contacted by a representative of the DOE Phase 0 Assistance Program to affirm that they meet the additional criteria specified by the DOE.
With the upcoming DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to be released on December 16, 2019 we anticipate providing services to 100 or more Phase 0 participants. Potential applicants are encouraged to find out more about the DOE Phase 0 Assistance Program at www.dawnbreaker.com/doephase0. Recognizing that multiple states already offer some level of assistance to their SBIR/STTR applicants, the DOE Phase 0 Assistance Program is designed to complement services already offered by existing professional organizations, SBDCs, universities, incubators, and other state organizations. The services offered by the DOE SBIR/STTR Phase 0 Assistance Program are also available to eligible, qualified individuals who commit to form a company should they win a DOE SBIR/ STTR Phase I award.
Eligible parties may receive one or more specialized services following an initial assessment by a member of the Dawnbreaker team. The services include:
- Letter of Intent (LOI) review;
- Phase I proposal preparation, review and registration assistance;
- Market research assistance;
- Technology advice and consultation;
- Intellectual property consultation;
- Indirect rates and financials;
- Travel assistance.
As part of this initiative, Online Tutorials covering all aspects of the DOE SBIR/STTR Phase I application process are available at https://science.osti.gov/SBIRLearning. The Online Tutorials will provide training on application preparation for individuals interested in preparing a DOE SBIR/STTR Phase I proposal and will be available nationally at no charge to everyone.
For more information on the DOE Phase 0 initiative, please visit: www.dawnbreaker.com/doephase0
In October 2019, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) will institute a single process for accessing technical data within its Collaboration Folders (cFolders) that is subject to export-control under either the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) or the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). DLA will limit distribution of the export-controlled technical data to DLA suppliers that have an approved US/Canada Joint Certification Program (JCP) certification; completed the “Introduction to Proper Handling of DOD Export Controlled Technical Data Training”; the DLA “Export-Controlled Technical Data Questionnaire”; and have been approved by the DLA controlling authority to access the export-controlled data.
Instructions for obtaining access to DLA export-controlled data can be found at: https://www.dla.mil/HQ/LogisticsOperations/EnhancedValidation/.
There are many great people supporting businesses in the government marketplace – from for-profits and non-profits to universities and government agencies. Unfortunately, there are also as many scam artists and snake oil salesmen lurking in the shadows. They want to sell you the magic pill to success but at the end of the day, take your money and leave you frustrated with the results. Here are some tips to help you save money and keep your peace of mind.
- Before you spend your money on services, check with your PTAC consultant. We may have just what you need or will point you in the right direction.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is. When you see or hear things like “we guarantee a contract” or “if you would like a 5-year no-bid contract with the federal government, call us,” be cautious. Snake oil salesmen are very sneaky. Even if they “get you a contract,” that doesn’t mean you will be awarded dollars under this contract if it’s not right for you. We see this happen quite often with companies that get onto a GSA schedule and make no sales.
- Beware of scams! If you receive an email from a government agency or visit a website that looks like an official government website, look for the .gov extension in the email address or the URL. There are plenty of impersonators out there. In fact, each year when disaster strikes, scams like “Get registered with FEMA” start popping up on the Internet. This problem is so prevalent that FEMA has established a “FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline.” That number is 1-866-720-5721. Unfortunately, this is just one example of scams that can trap the unwary.
With a little caution, due diligence, and guidance from your PTAC, you can navigate around scams and snake oil salesmen to find credible resources that will help you in your journey.
The General Services Administration (GSA) announced this week that they are using a streamlined process to procure innovative, commercial solutions. Click here to read the article.
In a recent article, published on SmallGovCon, the government contracts attorney Matthew Schoonover discusses the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals’ decision to cancel a contractor’s SDVOSB verification on the grounds that the contractor provided false information. Click here to read the full article.
September 10 2019 by Jane Dowgwillo
GSA has posted an announcement of its intention to consolidate the current 24 Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) and release a new single Schedule for product, services, and solutions on October 1, 2019. You can find more information on the GSA’s Interact website including what to expect after the consolidated schedule is released.
On October 1, 2019, GSA will publish the new, consolidated, solicitation on FedBizOpps along with applicable attachments. The FBO package will contain:
- Available Offerings Summary Document
- One Attachment for each Large Category
- Regulations Incorporate by Reference
- Significant Changes Document
You can read more on the GSA Interact website.
Attention: IT Small Business Vendors
Save the Date – CDC Partnering with NITAAC(NIH) for Small Business Industry Day, November 5, 2019, at the HYATT Regency, downtown Atlanta
The National Institutes of Health Information Technology Acquisition Assessment Center (NITAAC), in conjunction with the Atlanta Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Contract Management Association Atlanta, is pleased to invite you to participate in the Atlanta-area Industry Day on November 5, 2019, at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.
The Atlanta Industry Day is a one-day industry event, where agencies, local businesses, and private sector government contractors come together to learn, share and connect with each other. Attendees are a mix of federal agency IT decision-makers, procurement officials, and industry stakeholders.
Attendees will leave the industry day with a better understanding of the NITAAC GWAC vehicles, recent industry/government developments and various program requirements and other procedures.
This event is complimentary to attend. Register Now, space is limited.
by Yolanda Cowart, Florida PTAC at USF | February 22, 2019
Why do so many businesses fail to access the federal marketplace?
The spending power of the federal government makes it a very attractive market. However, operating a profitable business in the federal marketplace creates obligations, potential liabilities and risks that do not exist in the private sector.
In order to sell products and services to the government, a business owner will need to plan, prepare and evaluate the company’s potential.
There are several reasons why business owners fail to secure government contracts or fail while performing on federal government projects. In order to give a company a fighting chance, avoid these eight common mistakes:
- Inadequate business framework: Accessing government contracts requires a blueprint for success. In order to compete successfully, a business owner will need to create a business plan for government contracting goals. A well thought out strategy forces one to think about opportunities, risks, strengths, and weaknesses.
- Poor execution and internal controls: Government contracts require intelligent processes and procedures. Business owners must adopt safeguards that will protect not only their business, but the government from mistakes, mishaps, uninformed decisions, and inappropriate actions by any employees or team members.
- Overexpansion: Government contracts often require business owners to beef up their operations. Taking on added overhead and operational expenses too soon can impact the ability to perform and execute contracts efficiently. Business owners should start with realistic goals and manage growth and expectations.
- Poor capital structure: A business owner should conduct a cash flow analysis and cash flow projection in order to avoid accumulating too much debt. Government contracts will have a direct impact on a company’s cash flow cycle. It requires a capital structure that can support growth and sustain an entire operation until the government pays.
- Lack of reserve funds: Government awards are often accompanied by unexpected cost associated with executing contracts, fulfilling orders and meeting demands. These pitfalls could be devastating for a business if the company does not have the funds to address unforeseen cost quickly. Failure to be able to address issues fast and efficiently could result in the loss of credibility with the contract administrator and ruin the potential for future awards.
- Overspending: Many businesses blow their operational budgets before cash has begun to flow in at a positive rate. A company must ensure a government contract will be well-capitalized. Understanding cash flow by capturing expenses and resources prior to beginning a project, will ensure the contract is capitalized properly.
- Ineffective marketing and self-promotion: It is important for a business owner to learn how to market the company’s capabilities effectively. A strong Capabilities Statement will help gain the attention of contract specialists. Inadequate marketing often occurs due to a lack of research and a misunderstanding about how the federal sector operates.
- Underestimating the competition: There is a large possibility that many competitors may have already built relationships with government agencies, prime contractors and contract specialists. Winning a government contract doesn’t just happen; it is earned. If a business owner doesn’t take the time to learn about customers and potential partners, the competition will.
Successful government contractors have strong capital structures that include reserve funds for unforeseen cost. They also have good internal controls and intelligent processes and procedures that allow them to execute contracts efficiently. An adequate business framework will avoid overexpansion and overspending.
The federal landscape is filled with small companies that fail to secure that first contract. In order to sell your products and services to the government and successfully execute contracts, you will need to understand your competition, create a marketing plan, prepare your operations and evaluate your potential.
There are a number of local resources available, such as the professionally credentialed procurement specialists at the Florida PTACs, that can assist companies as they decide to enter the government contracting arena.