Is the federal government your customer?   Would you like to learn more about what and how the government buys? 

Please join us for our next in a series of webinars “Live Chats with Federal Buyers– “How to Do Business with the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA)”

Hosted by:  The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont District Offices

Presenters:  Mr. Jerry Smith, Director and Ms. Deborah Tarleton, Business Specialist, GSA Office of Small Business Utilization (OSBU), New England Region 

What: This FREE webinar will give participants an opportunity to hear directly from the small business office of GSA – New England Region about how and what the agency procures, upcoming projects, and how to navigate their website to keep up to speed on potential opportunities.  There will also be time for open discussion to answer any questions.

When:         Wednesday, September 3rd from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

How:          To join the webinar simply click this link:  https://connect16.uc.att.com/sba/meet/?ExEventID=87597705

 When prompted, enter the meeting access code:  7597705#

When asked how you would like to join, click on “join as web participant

When asked to join the audio portion (this will be via telephone), click “call me” and enter your phone number.  The system will automatically call you and you can quickly join the call.

 Please mute your phones to cut down on the background noise.

 If you have any questions, please contact William Card at william.card@sba.gov

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Quick Guide to Doing Business with GSA:

            http://www.gsa.gov/portal/mediaId/169031/fileName/2013_DB_AQuickGuideEngishFINAL.action

GSA created the Vendor Tool Box Readiness Assessment: https://vsc.gsa.gov/RA to assist you in determining if applying for a GSA MAS contract is right for your company.

VAMBOA VA RFPOn August 25, 2014, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that it plans to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a new Medical Appointment Scheduling System. This will be the next step in a series of actions that the VA is taking to replace its current scheduling system. The new system is expected to improve access to care for Veterans by offering medical schedulers with innovative scheduling software.  The RFP will be made public by the end of September, 2014. From the day of issuance, eligible vendors will have 30 days to respond.

The VA will issue a draft RFP prior to releasing the full RFP to maximize industry and stakeholder input. The solicitation will require a two-part demonstration of capabilities, consisting of a written proposal and a technical demonstration to scheduling staff. The VA hopes to award the contract by the end of the calendar year.

“VA chose a full- and open-competitive strategy to acquire a ‘commercial, off-the-shelf’ scheduling system,” said Stephen Warren, VA’s Chief Information Officer. “We want a system that is user-friendly and tailored specifically for our Veterans.”

VA Secretary Robert McDonald stated, “We want this process to be open to all eligible vendors to make sure the nation’s Veterans have the full benefits the innovative marketplace has to offer. When we can put a solid scheduling system in place, this will free up more human resources to focus on direct Veterans’ care. As VA recommits to its mission of caring for Veterans and evaluating our actions through the lens of what serves them best, we know a better scheduling system is necessary to provide them the timely, quality health care that they have earned and deserve.”

Even as the VA plans to issue its RFP to replace the existing system, efforts are progressing to make the current system better. The VA recently awarded a contract to improve the existing scheduling interface, providing schedulers a calendar view of resources instead of the current text-based, multiple-screen view.  This update is scheduled to begin roll out in January, 2015.

The VA is also developing two new mobile applications, one which will enable Veterans to directly request certain types of primary care and mental health appointments. The other app will give VA schedulers an easier-to-use interface to schedule medical appointments. Both apps are scheduled to roll out in December, 2014.

Veteran business owners will want to throw their hat in the ring, or at least closely watch which company or companies get this large contract with the VA. The companies who win contracts will most likely be looking for Veteran owned small business to sub-contract to, as part of their agreement with the VA.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business Coaching, Contracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

VAMBOA: VA To Issue RFP:  By Debbie Gregory

VAMBOA certifiedMany Veteran and Service-disabled Veteran small business owners have been told that they need to make sure their company is certified by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). And for a number of businesses, obtaining a small business certification is vital to the success of their company. But in actuality, the majority of Veteran-owned small business don’t require the certification.

A small business certification is not necessary for companies providing goods and services to the general public. But if a small business ever wants to obtain a government contract, a small business certification is mandatory.

The federal government sets aside nearly $100 billion worth of contracts intended solely for competition among small businesses, including: service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, disadvantaged small businesses, and women-owned small businesses. To qualify for these contracts, certification is a must.

The government maintains size standards that define the maximum size that a company (and its affiliates) can be to qualify as a small business. Company size is determined through either the number of employees or average annual receipts. Typically, most manufacturing companies with 500 employees or fewer and most non-manufacturing businesses with average annual receipts under $7 million will qualify as a small business. However, there are exceptions that should be viewed on the SBA’s Small Business Size Standards.

According to the SBA, small businesses that want to compete for government contracts need to complete the following actions:

  • Obtain a Dun & Bradstreet (D-U-N-S) Number.  The D-U-N-S number is a unique nine-digit identification number for each physical location of your business. It is free for all businesses required to register with the federal government for contracts or grants. Visit the D-U-N-S Request Service to register.
  • Register your business with the federal government’s System of Award Management (SAM). This registration is sometimes referred to as “self-certifying” your small business, and is the primary database of vendors doing business with the federal government. Federal Acquisitions Regulations (FAR) require that all would-be vendors be registered in SAM prior to the awarding of any contract.

To find out more about certifying your small business, SAM, D-U-N-S numbers and obtaining government contracts for your small business, visit the Register for Government Contracting page at www.sba.gov

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business Coaching, Contracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

VAMBOA: Certifying Your Small Business: By Debbie Gregory

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Attention female veterans!  Are you interested in starting a technology business?  If so, you may want to find out more and consider participating in next week’s first ever hackathon for female veterans.

What’s a hackathon you ask?  A hackathon is a full day business and app development competition.  The event’s goal is to invite returning veterans to be part of a team focused on building successful startups and to foster a community of veteran entrepreneurship.

SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet will be participating in the event, Women-VetsInTech Hackathon @ Facebook, as a keynote speaker.  The event will be held at the Facebook Campus, Bldg 15, 1 Hacker Way, Menlo Park, CA on Monday August 25th from 9am to 8pm.

To find out more information or sign up, please visit http://t.co/FDY7G48Yjn.