Procurement Counselors are passionate about helping clients navigate the complexities of government contracting but find a good chunk of their counseling sessions are lost opportunities to help clients due to avoidable technology challenges. Counselor’s schedules are often booked 30-60 days in advance and, like any professional service provider, it is important that the limited time you have with your counselor is productive. In that spirit, we ask that clients be prepared to attend their meetings by taking some basic precautions to avoid rescheduling. This list will help you prepare, even if many items seem obvious. We understand entrepreneurs are busy people so prefer to be explicit in our expectations:
Attend your virtual meeting on a personal computer and NOT a mobile device. If in person, bring your laptop and charger with you so to navigate the appropriate website/portals. Attempting to attend a counseling session by phone only or from a vehicle will result in wasted time and a rescheduled meeting and may be considered a no-show. Review counseling policies here: https://VirginiaAPEX.org/services/counseling/counseling-policies/
Update your Zoom or MS Teams software and be ready to join at the time of your meeting.
Understand how to share your screen on the chosen meeting platform and practice how to do it in advance if you have not used that platform before.
Choose a quiet location so you can focus on the meeting with your counselor.
Strong internet is essential so your screen-share and audio quality are not impacted.
Gather your passwords and be able to login to the websites in question based on your counselor’s advance guidance (SAM.gov (login.gov), eVA login, or other system).
Gather documents (your counselor will advise you which ones to have ready) and have them in PDF form on your computer for easy access/upload. Some examples of common documents you may need include:
Operating Agreement, Articles of Organization from the SCC
Bylaws, Stock Certificate, Stock Ledger
Bank account and routing numbers for SAM.gov and connect.sba.gov entry
Additional documents vary depending on the certification
Please be aware with the recent lower court ruling and resulting interim guidance issued by SBA regarding the 8(a) Business Development Program, it may be necessary to write a Social Disadvantage Narrative to respond to 8(a) Set-Aside Solicitations or receive a Sole Source award. You may need to provide this narrative to the Contracting Officer to be approved by the SBA before the award can be finalized. This appears to include upcoming option year modifications.
DoD is seeking public input on improving the timeliness of payments to defense subcontractors. The request for feedback published Friday July 14 in the Federal Register and stems from the Defense Contract Finance Study, which found that defense subcontractors and suppliers generally do not receive favorable cash flow benefits as consistently or to the same extent enjoyed by defense prime contractors. Input on this matter is solicited from interested parties, including current prime contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, or vendors, and potential new entrants. This is a great opportunity for small businesses in particular to have their voice heard.
The Program Executive Office, Defense Healthcare Management Systems (PEO DHMS) and the Federal Electronic Health Record Modernization (FEHRM) office have partnered to create the Health Innovation Vision Exchange (HIVE) as a space to promote innovation in the federal health space.
With the HIVE, PEO DHMS’s primary goal is to foster collaboration and introduce state-of-the-art healthcare solutions to the Federal marketplace. Serving as a centralized platform, HIVE HUB facilitates the cross-pollination of ideas between contractors and Federal agencies, creating an ecosystem that thrives on innovation and ingenuity. This real-time communication platform ensures that businesses have the opportunity to communicate directly with the government, and to join in the conversation themselves.
Help build a thriving community together at the forefront of healthcare innovation! Anyone can join by registering at https://connect.bidscale.com/register to create a free account. That’s all it takes to stay updated with the latest news, explore real contracting opportunities, discover upcoming events, communicate with federal health contracting officers, and gain valuable insights not available elsewhere.
The Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) Program run by the Small Business Administration (SBA) has an updated Map based on the most recent census data to ensure the program continues to serve the communities that are most in need of assistance. The new map is effective July 1, 2023. More information about these changes can be accessed here: https://maps.certify.sba.gov/hubzone/map/help
SBA launched a new feature in the Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) tool that allows you to link your capabilities statement to help market your business to agencies.
This new field is now available in DSBS allowing small businesses to add a URL for their Capabilities Statements.
For 8(a) small businesses who have already uploaded a Capabilities Statement on Certify.SBA.gov as of 6/22/2023, the field will already be populated with the Capabilities Statement URL. For all other small businesses, add a Capabilities Statement Link by visiting the DSBS profile (also known as “Pronet supplemental pages”) to add a link.
We received word that a message was distributed to WOSB firms – please check out the message and link below:
Dear Valued WOSBS,
Please note that the annual update requirement for approved WOSB firms has been repealed. Since May of 2022, the annual update has been in abeyance; it has now been removed entirely from the regulation. You will still need to recertify with the WOSB program every three years. No further action is needed at this time. Please see more information about the removal of the annual update requirement by visiting our Knowledge Base: Repeal of Annual Update Requirement for Approved WOSB Firms · WOSB.Certify.sba.gov.
Thank you for your continued participation in our program.
The new interim contracting rule: federalregister.gov/d/2023-11756 applies to devices regardless of whether they are owned by the government, the contractor, or the contractor’s employees, including phones used as part of a “bring your own device” program. It does not apply to a personally-owned phone that is not used in the performance of a contract.
Please note that many clients of Virginia APEX Accelerator are receiving messages from email@example.com with the message that their SAM.gov entity registration was updated when no such update occurred.
A review of the current outages on the Federal Service Desk website reveals there is a SAM.gov outage AND that the cause of these emails are being investigated. The latest message on 3/8/2023 referenced “We believe the matter is related to a software issue” but we recommend checking for updates on the SAM.gov alerts page linked below.
*As a friendly reminder, Virginia APEX Accelerator, an APEX Accelerator, is not connected to SAM.gov and is a separate resource provider. We help our clients navigate SAM.gov but do not have any control or access to the backend of the system.
The Procurement Technical Assistance Program (PTAP) is now under the management of the Department of Defense (DOD) Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) and has changed its name to APEX Accelerators. The Virginia APEX Accelerator, hosted by George Mason University, will be transitioning to the new name in the coming months. Please note, our mission and assistance will not change. We are still here to serve businesses with Local, State and Federal Contracting assistance within our service area. This change will enhance our scope and resources in order to do more for the businesses we serve. So, whether we are called a Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) or an APEX Accelerator, we continue to be here for you, our clients, for all your government contracting needs. Note: APEX is not an acronym, it is a destination.