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Veteran Virtual Coaching Discussion Board

<p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><img alt="" height="183" src="/sites/default/files/flag_0.jpg" width="276" /></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.656;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-ac2b07da-e2d5-1b7d-ebb1-724183328594"><span style="font-size: 16px; font-weight: 700; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">GSA&#39;s Office of Small Business Utilization wants to help Veterans!!!</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.656;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-ac2b07da-e2d5-1b7d-ebb1-724183328594"><span style="font-size: 16px; font-weight: 700; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">This board will provide virtual &nbsp;support that offers information and insight specific to the concerns of Small Veteran and Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses.</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.656;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-ac2b07da-e2d5-1b7d-ebb1-724183328594"><span style="font-size: 16px; font-weight: 700; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Why are we doing this? </span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.656;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-ac2b07da-e2d5-1b7d-ebb1-724183328594"><span style="font-size: 16px; font-weight: 700; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Because we understand that when you are starting or growing your business you need information quickly and accurately. We want to make this process easier by addressing your questions and directing you to the right resources which will assist in the success of taking the next step to growing your business. &nbsp;</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><br /><span id="docs-internal-guid-ac2b07da-e2d5-1b7d-ebb1-724183328594"><span style="font-size: 16px; font-weight: 700; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">This board is available Monday - Friday from 9:00 - 3:30 pm. &nbsp;Responses to question will be within a 48 hour period due to research, unless they can be answered more quickly. </span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span><span style="font-size: 16px; font-weight: 700; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Also, please visit us at www.gsa.gov/osbu and access our training and on-demand videos at www.gsa.gov/smallbizresources!</span></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span><span style="font-size: 16px; font-weight: 700; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">We look forward to serving you!</span></span></p>
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vcannady

I am a SDVOSB and State of Missouri SDVE yet I too cannot get any sort of contract whether it is with the Federal Government or a state government. SDVOSB's won under Kingdomeware and the VA is sending me emails with FBO Solicitations they are just not any of my NAICS Codes, I do not list making a tarmac or a building. We perform IT Specific work with moderate Medical Coding and all kinds of Staffing Services but we are not builders of anything other than databases, websites, platforms, etc...

 

The problem we is the same problem of the first post by owlconsultinggroup we have done everything in order to get a contract and no matter what we never get one, we try for small ones, larges ones, we try teaming, we go to get togethers, we have PTAC and Score Mentor, we have certifications including MBE certified by the State of Missouri. Nothing. So what more can we do. I hope the answer from you is better than the one OWL got. Because you cannot get on a schedule unless you have past experience, and have made so much money. Well after six years of trying I had to take a Day Job Remotely because of disabillity. It is still IT the only thing it does is keeps the little sole proprietorship funded. But no banks will touch me without a contract no small expansion 7a SBA Expansion loan, I even got rid of student loan debt, there are no special programs that do not count credit ( that means using it not having it, owning everything outright is bad for credit) for SDVOSB's. There needs to be more NAIC Specifics SET ASIDES for SDVOSB under 100K in earning to get them started. SMall contract like IT Equipment Purchase. Audits, Review of Systems. Anything under 250K for these specific SDVOSB with the NAICS codes. Locality Based

JudyRomano

Thank you for the opportunity to address your concerns. The GSA Office of Small Business Utilization is an advocate for small businesses. We exist to provide assistance, guidance and training that ensures small businesses not only get in the game, but also compete on a level playing field. 

 
Have you heard about the Making It Easy initiative? It's a new initiative for those in the IT community who are seeking government contracts and opportunities.
 
We offer training that is available to any small business, even those who do not yet have a government contract. One that might be of particular interest to you and assist you in your quest to find and secure opportunities, is Partnering for the Strategic Advantage. This webinar looks at Subcontracting, Contractor Team Arrangements (CTA), Joint Ventures, and the Mentor-Protege’ Program. You’ll get tips on how to locate partnering opportunities. The course also includes a handy checklist, helpful guidance and many resources for successful partnering.
 
We also offer some tips on finding and pursuing government contracts on our website and offer a free webinar on Understanding How to Access Procurement Opportunities that will walk you through the process involved in conducting your own search on FedBizOps and understanding and navigating the Forecast of Contracting Opportunities.

 

You should also take advantage of other free training opportunities across the government. The Small Business Administration is particularly helpful in offering a variety of training opportunities. Their local office should be able to guide you through any stumbling blocks you encounter.

In most cases, the hardest part of doing business with the government is exactly what you described, finding an opportunity and then securing the contract. Determination and follow-up are the biggest keys to success. 

Thank you for the opportunity to address your concerns. The GSA Office of Small Business Utilization is an advocate for small businesses. We exist to provide assistance, guidance and training that ensures small businesses not only get in the game, but also compete on a level playing field. 
 
Have you heard about the Making It Easy initiative? It's a new initiative for those in the IT community who are seeking government contracts and opportunities.
 
We offer training that is available to any small business, even those who do not yet have a government contract. One that might be of particular interest to you and assist you in your quest to find and secure opportunities, is Partnering for the Strategic Advantage. This webinar looks at Subcontracting, Contractor Team Arrangements (CTA), Joint Ventures, and the Mentor-Protege’ Program. You’ll get tips on how to locate partnering opportunities. The course also includes a handy checklist, helpful guidance and many resources for successful partnering.
 
We also offer some tips on finding and pursuing government contracts on our website and offer a free webinar on Understanding How to Access Procurement Opportunities that will walk you through the process involved in conducting your own search on FedBizOps and understanding and navigating the Forecast of Contracting Opportunities.
You should also take advantage of other free training opportunities across the government. The Small Business Administration is particularly helpful in offering a variety of training opportunities. Their local office should be able to guide you through any stumbling blocks you encounter.

In most cases, the hardest part of doing business with the government is exactly what you described, finding an opportunity and then securing the contract. Determination and follow-up are the biggest keys to success. Research on federal contracting costs indicates some federal vendors spend $80-130K a year to earn their first order.

owlconsultinggroup

I am a VA certified SDVOSB within the IT/Software industry and I am finding it difficult to find opportunities. I am registered with SAM/SBA/VA etc... I regularly check fbo.biz, continually see media articles(1,2) about an increase in tech sector opportunities by the government, disabled veteran opportunities and you have even stated "I "own" that web site here at GSA, and we're working to improve it"
 

I here this sentiment quite a lot from different department heads and yet when the improvements are happening I am left out in the cold while someone else is doing the work. What am I missing, who am I not paying off, who do I need to be friends with?

I have abided by the rules and followed the protocols and I am still left scratching my head because there is obviously something that I am missing and I could use your help in identifying that.

Thank you for your time and consideration in your response
 

1) https://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/technology/techhire

2) https://18f.gsa.gov/

mar79

Good question, 

GSA's CIO office would be better suited to address your PE concerns, forwarded is a direct link to their office with contact info (http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/104724).  

Also, I am not sure if your organization has considered doing business with GSA and possibly pursuing a GSA Schedule.  Provided below is another link to see if your organization is a good fit (http://www.gsa.gov/portal/category/108067). In the event that you have further questions, please do not hesitate to submit additional questions to the site and we will do our best to respond to your inquiry as soon as possible. 

 Thank you for your question!

mar79

Good question, 

GSA's CIO office would be better suited to address your PE concerns, forwarded is a direct link to their office with contact info (http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/104724).  

Also, I am not sure if your organization has considered doing business with GSA and possibly pursuing a GSA Schedule.  Provided below is another link to see if your organization is a good fit (http://www.gsa.gov/portal/category/108067). In the event that you have further questions, please do not hesitate to submit additional questions to the site and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible. 

Thank you for your question!

 
DavidPaschane

GSA does not seem to list or promote Performance Engineering (PE) as a service. This may be due to the fact that appropriations to technology projects and program projects are separated.

Executive leaders who use PE appreciate that the operational research (in the program) is rigorous, leads to optimization models, and then it is the basis of testing component tools, so that operational and analytic tools are complementary and automated. PE puts the science in front of the technology.

While PE is the go-to reform of capability in the commercial sector, especially for large organizations, it seems to be overlooked in government. Most likely because of the ambiguity of who is leading within the agency - CIO or Program SES.

This seems to be an issue that GSA can take the lead, as it does both, supports both, and has the authority to shape services back to agencies. Can you provide clarity on how GSA will be leading PE in the future?

We are a certified SDVOSB that has successful PE work, but only one opportunity has been available in the government, namely VA, and they experienced a $17M ROI, and now have the best capability for managing event-based training of government employees. A model that could be government-wide, and another opportunity for GSA.

 

 

Mazda3Bob

Do GSA Schedule Contract holders have a mandated SMB purchasing requirement they must meet?

If so, what is the average percentage of that requirement to gross sales?

thanks, Bob

bnorman
There are no mandated sourcing requirements for Schedule holders such as purchasing from Small Minority Business (SMB?)  
Schedule vendors have only few GSA directives to follow i.e. Trade Agreements Act compliance and the $25k minimum sales requirement.
 
 
universalspartan

how do i look at the responses

bnorman

Questions are maintained in a que until approved once approved/answered you should be able to view your post and responses.

concerned veteran

As a VOSB, our largest customer used to be the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and we had an excellent reputation there.  Over the last 5 years, however, the vast majority of small business opportunities that we are qualified for at VA have been set aside for SDVOSB’s, thereby eliminating our ability to submit proposals as a prime vendor.  The result of this trend is that the VA no longer ranks even in the top 5 of our customer base.  Even in those instances where VOSB’s are eligible to bid, the evaluation factors listed for those small business opportunities gives extra credit for SDVOSB’s, thereby making it very difficult for VOSB’s to compete.

 

What can GSA or the VA do, if anything, to allow for more small business opportunities for veteran business owners who are not disabled?  Can any opportunities at the VA not give extra credit for SDVOSB's? Are there other programs that exist in Government today to open up more business opportunities for VOSB’s?  

 

Thanks for your help

bnorman

Thanks for your patience, considering your primary concern is with the VA and their procurement evaluation process, I am providing info so you can reach out directly to the VA's OSBU office to address your concerns.  

http://www.va.gov/osdbu/about/contacts.asp#sbl

1-866-584-2344
 
In addtional I am also providing you with a link of how how to do business with GSA.  There is a wealth of information available to assist if you would like to pursue other federal opportunites.
 
universalspartan

I need a GSA representative in Louisville, KY d you have a contact

JudyRomano
The contact we have listed is Eric Terrell. He is the Customer Service Director for Small Business interest for the Louisville Ky office. He can be reached at eric.terrell@gsa.gov .
 
His address is 
Marketing and Business Support Branch
 5813 Bardstown Road Louisville Ky. 40291-1988 
bnorman

Please provide details of what knowledge you would like to gain, I can provide assitance or refer you someone if needed.

universalspartan

How do I register for other contract vehicles ie tls, eagle

 

 

bnorman

First you should conduct due diligence by understanding, how to do business with the Gov't to ensure your postioned to be responsive to solicitations, and RFP/RFQ's.  With the Gov't you have to pursue opportunites by getting a better understanding of what's required.  You can reach out to the Program Ofiice/Contracting Officer of the contract vehicles your interested in and they can brief you on the details. 

ProgBio

Good afternoon,

Under the Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act of 2006 (the “VA Act”) and the current Supreme Court Ruling, will GSA allow Veteran Companies access to E-Buy utilizing their VIP Certification or do we still need to have a GSA contract before we have access to E-Buy? How will GSA allow Veteran Companies access as per regulations?

appreciate your answers

 

bnorman
 
 

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) has instructed agencies, other than the VA, to continue to follow existing regulation which recognizes the discretionary nature of whether or not to set-aside Federal Supply Schedules (FSS) orders.

 
A VIP SDVOSB/VOSB will still need to be on the FSS for eBuy. I have provided a link to GSA's eBuy which will give you addition information.
 
 
bnorman

The ruling was decided a little over a week ago and our policy division is awaiting further formal details of how to address various GSA contracting vehicles that were impacted by the decision.  I am forwarding my e-mail address so you can contact me directly as I pursue answers within policy.  It's a good question so once resolved I will post on the discussion board.

bianca.norman@gsa.gov

Mazda3Bob

I am a VOSB and work alone as a solopreneur. I am what is termed as a promotional products distributor. Through my trade association memberships I have access to a large variety of goods that the GSA and other government agencies buy. I am able to source from small two man shops to large multimillion dollar enterprises that have been around for many years. You could call my business model 3rd party where I connect buyer and seller. Unlike an enterprise that sells from its own inventory, I have access to the inventory of a much wider variety of companies and would be sourcing from companies that have proven capabilities. The sources I would select from would have the highest reliability ratings. 

1. Will GSA entertain bids I submit that I subcontract out into my trade network?

2. I have only been in business for about 2 years. Would the GSA review the bid proposals I submit based around my own business's profile and longevity or would they take into account the stability of those I subcontract the bid out to? These are the firms who would actually be providing the deliverables. 

It is normal for promotional distributors to subcontract out 100% of their orders. This business model allows me to reach out to a large vendor network of over 4000 suppliers. Many of who whom who have been in business much longer than I! 

bnorman

First you should research and determine how to conduct business with GSA, as a prime contractor typically the contracting agency contractual relationship is with the prime and not the subcontractor.  As a prime submitting a bid/proposal it should be reviewed.  However, it would be beneficial if you understood how to get started and do business with GSA.  I'm providing a link which will be helpful in getting started.

http://www.gsa.gov/portal/category/108067

 

bridgewaytech

Ques: Once you are certified as SDVOSB / VOSB how do you gain access to contracts? The VA uses SEWP as preferred contract vehicle, you cannot join SEWP because enrollment is not open. How do you proceed?

 

bnorman

You can search via Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) which provides request for quotations or proposals for Government contracts seeking suppliers/service providers but you'll need to be in SAM first!

bnorman

Ques:

A SDVOSB wanted to know where to look for Federal bid opportunities for less than $25K? 

Response:

The SDVOSB can use the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) https://www.fpds.gov to identify procurement offices that may have purchased their products and services to see if they can get on their bidders list.

One can also utilize GSA's forecasting tool which Federal agencies provide data of their anticipated purchases. Although there is no guarantee that they will commit to those purchases, still a good planning vehicle.  https://www.acquisition.gov/procurement-forecasts.

bnorman

Ques:

A SDVOSB is attempting to provide a product to the Army but was confused regarding the registration process/requirement. Is he required to apply with SBA or SAM to ‘certify’ that he is a Disabled Veteran Business? 

Response:
All you need for Army and all the other Agencies with the exception of the VA is the self certification in SAM!  The VA has a CVE certification.  There are efforts to simplify and standardize the certification across the Government but for now, register and self certify in SAM and you should be good to go.
 
bnorman

6/23/2016

Ques:

A SDVOSB had an inquiry wanting to know who to reach out to since their proposal was excluded from a solicitation, of which the SDVOSB deemed unjust.

Response:

Seek to communicate with the soliciting Contracting Officer in attempts to get a resolution at that level.  If you're not satisfied with the outcome every office in the US Government has an Inspector General or IG for short as they did in the military. The IG investigates allegations of fraud or any cases of illegal activities or improprieties that may be occurring. A link to the IG of the Gov’t agency in question was provided.  

 

 

 

bnorman
Ques 6/22/2016
 
How do I get certified as a SDVOSB?
 
Consider applying for verification, via the VETS First Verification program.
 
 
 
bnorman
6/21/2016
 
Ques:
 
How do I obtain a certification as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business?
 
Response:

Service-Disabled and Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSBs) (VOSBs) may apply for verification and be listed in the Vendor Information Pages (VIP). Once eligibility is validated and determined a SDVOSB or VOSB is verified and can participate in VA’s Veterans First Verification Program.

www.vip.vetbiz.gov

bnorman

6/9/16

Ques:

A SDVOSB, did a quick search on the FBO website and did not come across a single opportunity in the last 120 days that both 1) have a set aside for SDVOSB and 2) are for  NAICS 221114 – Power Generation, solar electric.  He wanted to know if he was inputting the info correctly.

Response:

Research the Federal Procurement Data System to find agencies interested in solar power. Generally its going to be the agencies that own their own facilities as opposed to leasing. Agencies such as GSA, VA, Army Corps, NAVFAC, and the Postal Service are good places to start.  Agencies will do set-asides when they know of 2 or more SDVOSBs who are interested and can do the work.

Ques:

A SDVOSB inquired about the OASIS a GSA contract vehicle of which the Air Combat Command (ACC) has opted use, transitioning from the CAAS IV IDIQ. The SDVOSB feels as if they are being excluded thus negativity impacting their business.  The claim is that only 130 SB's are on OASIS with 9 only being SDVOSB's, and it's difficult to be classified as a small business under OASIS SB due to the selection criteria.  
 
Response:
 
OASIS is not a mandatory use vehicle. OASIS is not a Schedule, therefore, not everyone is entitled to be an OASIS vendor.  OASIS was awarded under FAR 15 procedures and therefore everybody had an opportunity to compete and now the solicitation is closed.  Second, this memo makes it sounds that the entire Air Force only uses OASIS for AA&S work. That is not true. The $500M MOU with the AF for reduced fees are agency wide for all AF type work, not just for the ACC CAAS program. 
 
The AF has already crunched the numbers of exactly how much time and money OASIS has saved them in the redundancy of putting their own IDIQ contracts in place versus using the OASIS Contract. The AF fee for OASIS is 1/10 of 1%. The AF Fee for GSA Schedules is .75%. The memo states incorrectly that the AF must pay a higher fee until they meet their threshold.  Also, it's  not just a savings on fee but, the millions of dollars it takes to put an IDIQ like ours in place across all the different commands in the AF. 
 
GSA's mission is putting contracts in place. The AF mission is not putting these type of contracts in place. These type of contracts like OASIS take several years, require multiple levels of highly skilled personnel.  A typical task order placed  under OASIS takes 3 months and the manpower costs are greatly reduced. We take that burden off DoD so they can focus on their real mission and faster delivery to the warfighter.  We did not take credit for subcontractor past performance because we set a higher threshold for OASIS. GSA already has a schedules program where the threshold is entry level and much easier to attain. 
 
OASIS is not for every entry level contractor. We were looking for proven leadership as a Prime. Being responsible for a multi million dollar project as a Prime is much more intense and risky than being a sub on a small piece of an overall project.  Also, we created two vehicles. One where both large and small businesses competed and one called OASIS SB for only small companies. We have 129 small business and many socio-economic companies on OASIS SB across 224 contracts. OASIS SB is the very first multi agency, multiple award IDIQ. We only have given more opportunities to more small businesses that never existed before OASIS SB.
 
Ques:

Information needed on where to go and how to apply for a disabled woman's owned business. Also where to get a NAICS certification?

Response:

Here's the basics for doing business with the Government which I usually provide to  Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses. 

1) You will need to register your business on the System for Award Management (SAM) and "self certify" as a Service Disabled business (no charge by the way to do business with the government, don't let a third party convince you into paying a fee).  If you want to do business with the Veteran's Administration though, pursue the  "CVE" SDVOSB certification process through the VA, but you still need to be in SAM first.

2) Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) lists all the request for quotations or proposals for Government contracts seeking suppliers/service providers but you'll need to be in SAM first!

3) The U.S. Small Business Administration can provide guidance and help (and loans) for all small businesses which may answer your other questions:

There are quite a few resources available to Veteran's and small business (called PTACs funded by DoD) and Veteran Service Centers (funded by SBA), so look for those that may be near your locale as well.  Also network at government and industry forums that are always looking for SDVOSB to team with or help out!  I'm not sure where you are, but in late June in Norfolk, there's a Veteran's Small Business conference as an example of networking opportunities!

Ques:
My business is considered a SDVOSB,   
1. Is there a site that lists all the available opportunities? 
2. Who would be able to assist me with these types of questions? 
 
Response:
There isn't a specific SDVOSB opportunities listing, but if you haven't discovered Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) that lists all the contracting opportunities and you can search on that.  Ironically I "own" that web site here at GSA, and we're working to improve it, but in the short term, it's the go to listing.
 

Questions may be posted on Veterans Virtural Coach discussion page you'll recieve a researched response within 48hrs.

 
bnorman

A SDVOSB wanted to know if a Federal contractor can utilize GSA schedules to purchase Electric Vehicle charging Stations for its own fleet operations and for their customers?

 
Response:
In certain instances Contractors are authorized to purchase under schedules depending on the contract type the Contractor entered into with the Government. These are typically cost type contracts and for official use only.  In this instance, it’s recommended that the Federal contracting officer follows up with their Government contracting officer. The objective would be to obtain clarification of the contract type, and to determine if they're eligible for any type of schedule purchasing authorization associated with their contract.

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