Why do I need a professional website and business email to receive one-on-one counseling from my APEX Accelerator?

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To be taken seriously in government contracting, a professional website and email address are essential. Large primes and government customers rarely see a Yahoo, Gmail, or another personal email address and think the business reaching out is capable and qualified. An unprofessional email address will in fact harm most GovCon Business development efforts. Part of marketing your company to a government audience is demonstrating the requisite skills to meet the requirements of the contract, including good cybersecurity hygiene, even if your company is selling a consumer good or service that does not by itself require an online presence.

APEX Accelerators are funded to provide technical assistance and training to companies who have the products and services government is seeking to buy. We cannot help you formulate a business idea from scratch and we also do not have the resources to assist with other startup activities such as website development. All who are interested in our Government Contracting focused training are welcome to attend our events and take advantage our useful links page. Startup advice, basic marketing help, or assistance in establishing a business can be obtained from your local SBDC: https://www.virginiasbdc.org/start-your-business/

 

Link to our Homework articles: https://virginiaptac.org/tag/homework/

Signup for our event notifications: https://virginiaptac.org/services/training/event-notifications/

Keep tabs on our training calendar: https://virginiaptac.org/resources/training-calendar-tips/

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Can I attend a standard webinar without downloading the software?

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Yes, you may either dial in by phone using the phone number and attendee pin provided in your GoToWebinar invite to listen in to the webinar OR you can add this addendum to the join link you received via email to participate via browser “instant join”: ?clientType=html5

For more information please see this forum response from the LogMeIn community forum: https://community.logmein.com/t5/GoToWebinar-Discussions/How-to-join-Webinar-using-Instant-Join-instead-of-Desktop-app-on/td-p/160471#.YCvtdS9cCuA.mailto

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How do I obtain a copy of the presentation for the class or webinar I attended?

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Generally when instructors make slides available in PDF for the attendees, they will be posted on the Virginia APEX Accelerator eCenter underneath the class description on the page you where you initially registered to attend the class (you must be logged in to view). If you have been advised that slides will be made available, please allow a few business days for the attachment to be posted. If you cannot see the attachment, please contact ptac@gmu.edu to verify that you have permission to access the document. Documents will be removed after 1 year. See screenshot below for an example:

 

eCenter document attachment example
Documents are at the bottom of the event description under the instructions

 

NOTE: A series class session will not display as a separate listing from the overall event in the “My Events” menu of the eCenter. If you do not have a recent reminder email with a direct link to the event page saved, please locate the class description by navigating to the start of the series to locate handouts for all session dates. If you do not remember the start date, please use the search function on the calendar to backdate a few weeks or months and search for the class page by title keywords such as “series” or “pipeline” depending on the individual class:

 

eCenter document attachment example
Choose “Year” to see the class list by full title.

 

 

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My business has been established for less than 2 years. What help can my APEX Accelerator offer me?

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To provide the most economic impact with the resources available, we are limited in what individualized services we can provide to startup companies without sufficient past performance or experience to demonstrate a potential for successful government contracting. We offer a broad array of training in the field of government contracting via our eCenter calendar, resources such as a handful of on-demand webinar recordings, local events, and our resources page to allow the startup company to take advantage of self-directed learning.

If you are interested in creating a business plan, establishing your business as a legal entity, or other topics that are not specific to government contracting, please find your local SBDC or SCORE office to see what services (including counseling) that they can provide.

Referrals from SBA’s socioeconomic certifications programs must meet the same guidelines as other clients to be eligible to seek assistance with their SDVOSB, VOSB, WOSB, and other set-aside applications. If you are unsure of your eligibility to become a client, please contact apex@gmu.edu. We do encourage both eligible clients as well as startups or businesses not ready for government contracting to continue to utilize the webinars and training offered by the SBA. Those companies ineligible for counseling from their APEX Accelerator can contact their local SBDC, SCORE, WBC, or VBOC for assistance. Resources specific to your jurisdiction may also be available, so check out your local economic development initiatives for additional information and help such as Fairfax Core.

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Does Virginia APEX Accelerator help clients with how to do business with George Mason University? I have a product that I think GMU will want to purchase.

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Although we are hosted by George Mason University, we don’t have special access to procurement professionals who buy for the university. GMU is a member of VASCUPP and does post open solicitations on eVA as do other State of Virginia universities. We recommend you register in eVA and keep an eye on the GMU opportunities website here: https://fiscal.gmu.edu/purchasing/do-business-with-mason/view-current-solicitation-opportunities/ If you have further questions about a procurement, the contact information for the procurement officers who can answer those questions are generally listed in the RFP. If your company has an existing contract with a Virginia school or a major cooperative organization (E&I/NASPO/OMNIA, etc) it may be helpful to get added to contract vendor lists. Please visit https://fiscal.gmu.edu/purchasing/do-business-with-mason/ for additional information or talk to your PTAC counselor.

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Missing registration link or other information on a SAM.gov opportunity

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Are you searching for information on sam.gov and can’t find it? Maybe it’s an attachment that should be associated with an opportunity or maybe it’s a link to register for an announced event? Check to make sure you have reviewed the opportunity listing with all changes and edits applied. Sometimes a link you receive will lead to the original opportunity listing but in order to see any updates, you need to click the link at the top of the page to reveal updates:

That may not be enough so check to see if there is a “view changes” button after you follow the previous link:

If you still can’t find what you are looking for contact your local APEX Accelerator counselor for assistance.

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Why did I receive an email requesting an updated electronic signature?

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Our funding agency has requirements regarding the method and documentation by which a participating client company has agreed to receive counseling services. Recent updates in our reporting requirements have necessitated that we update certain client records to comply with the new requirements by having an authorized signature on file electronically. This eSignature acknowledges the same information that our new clients agree to during the sign-up process and without it, a counseling appointment cannot be scheduled, nor guidance provided. A factor that may have caused you to receive this email is the length of time which your company has been a client of Virginia APEX Accelerator. If you are no longer the primary or authorized contact for the company, please let us know the contact information for the updated company contact.

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Why have I been told to attend a training class?

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We often receive very similar inquires and questions from our new clients. In order to provide information in a format that provides the most benefit for your time investment, we have training seminars on topics that are important for all government contractors to know. Our overview and market research classes among others are a solid foundation that allow you to understand the terminology and context of how to approach your pursuit of federal government contracts and arm you with the understanding necessary to ask the right questions. A one-hour counseling session is most productive and useful when you come prepared to address specific challenges your company is facing so your company can move forward. If you already have specific questions, contact your counselor to make an appointment.

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Why has Virginia PTAP become Virginia APEX Accelerator? Is this name change necessary and how will it impact me as a client?

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Recent changes to the terms and conditions of our federal funding require that we use “PTAC” in our name in order to create more brand recognition across the US. This will help our federal sponsor build more uniform recognition among corresponding regional and statewide programs throughout the nation and allow our clients and potential clients to understand the PTAC mission no matter where they live. We have not changed our mission and the change from “Program” to “Center” will not impact the services in any way. Some highlights of the transition to Virginia Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) include:

  • Emails sent to ptap@gmu.edu will automatically be forwarded to our new ptac@gmu.edu email address as of 3/29/2019
  • URLs for our main website and client login WILL change but redirects will be put in place for 90 days to give you time to update your bookmarks
    • The new website address will be virginiaptac.org
    • The new client login will be virginiaptac.ecenterdirect.com
  • Phone numbers and staff emails will remain unchanged
  • You may still see the occasional Virginia PTAP branded business card as we transition but contact information for individual counselors will not change as a result of the brand change, and we are still George Mason University employees
  • Services remain the same: Counseling, Training, and Bid Match Service

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