AFCEA Small Business

July 1, 2021
By Julianne Simpson

Small businesses make up more than 99 percent of companies in the United States, but because of their size and scale, many have constraints not experienced by most larger organizations. With a small business, the margin for error is small, so they have to be extremely flexible, lean and thrifty with every resource. While their larger counterparts typically have access to a multitude of business development professionals, small businesses are limited in the time they can invest in identifying personnel, building a network, developing relationships and finding partners.

June 4, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
Credit: Dawid S Swierczek/Shutterstock

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is taking innovation in-house as it strives to change the way it contracts with large and small businesses. The agency has instituted a number of programs that include actively seeking alternatives to contracting processes from companies seeking to do business with the revenue service.

May 18, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
Credit: Roman Motizov/Shutterstock

Small businesses that lose a federal bid should take part in every applicable activity after the contract is awarded, including protests, if applicable. In many cases, these would set up the firm for a better chance to win their next bid. And, in some instances, a successful protest could overturn a contract award to a company’s favor.

These points were outlined by Josh Duvall, founder and managing partner of Matross Edwards LLC. Speaking to the AFCEA Small Business Committee, Duvall outlined several major points for firms that did not succeed in their bid proposals.

February 4, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
Credit: Somkid Thongdee/Shutterstock

The newest governmentwide acquisition contract (GWAC) for both Defense Department and civilian agencies across the government is designed to fill a gap that previously left some small businesses at a disadvantage, according to private sector analysts. Known as Polaris, the governmentwide small business information technology (IT) services contract offers many opportunities for small businesses but also poses some pitfalls for companies that are not careful with their bids.

October 14, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
(Credit: Shutterstock/Jaroslaw Grudzinski)

The Chief Information Officer-Solutions and Partners 4 (CIO-SP4) governmentwide acquisition contract (GWAC) is adopting a new approach to information technology contracting that could be a boon to small businesses, according to the acting director of its contracting agent. The NIH Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC), the federal executive agent for four GWACs covering information technology services and commodity solutions, has issued a draft request for proposal (RFP) for CIO-SP4 that could be worth up to $40 billion over its lifetime.

July 16, 2020
By Maryann Lawlor
Maj. Nadine Quashie, USA, prepares to ask a question during a breakout session at a contracting symposium the 408th Contracting Support Brigade hosted at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. Credit: U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Robert Waters, USA

Companies, especially small businesses, need to mix Best In Class contracts in their business development quiver if they hope to stabilize and grow in today’s government acquisition environment. Although it’s valuable to be on large contract vehicles, if for no other reason than to list them on a corporate website, small firms must be careful not to depend only on them for steady business income.

May 27, 2020
By Maryann Lawlor
Cybersecurity experts emphasize it’s important for businesses, no matter their size, to have a plan to protect their data and systems as well as recover from an inevitable cyber attack. Credit: Den Rise/Shutterstock

Rapid changes in technology create new security vulnerabilities that require small businesses to expend resources to remain compliant. Lack of guidance, definitions or policies place these companies in positions that require them to make security investments without fully understanding the need or outcome of the resources they are spending.

While government information technology firms are better staffed from a security perspective, those that provide other services often do not have enough employees or the expertise to operate their internal computer systems at a high level of security. This situation makes them ideal targets for adversaries.

October 16, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Mauricio Vera, director, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) at the USAID, offers that small businesses have many opportunities for procurements through his agency.

Many U.S. small businesses possess capabilities and technologies that are ideal for supporting overseas emerging economies, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is striving to arrange matches that serve both parties’ interests. The agency spent more than two-thirds of its nearly $17 billion FY 2018 funding on assistance, with the rest in acquisition. Overall, 14.6 percent of USAID awards worldwide go to small, disadvantaged, women-owned, service-disabled, veteran-owned and HUBZone small businesses.

August 21, 2019
By Beverly M. Cooper
Small business experts discuss techniques to develop good partnerships during a small business panel at AFCEA TechNet Augusta. Moderating was (r) Brian Moore of EWA Government Systems. Panelists were (l-r) Rufus Gates, U.S Army Mission and Installation Contracting Command; Col. Laurie Moe Buckhout, USA (Ret.), president and CEO, The Corvus Group; Roy Rucker Sr., CEO and founder, TRECIG LLC; and Dawn Ross, chief information officer, Grimmer Technology and Operations. Photo by Michael Carpenter

Developing partnerships with diverse companies, especially to gain niche capabilities, is one of the ways small business can be competitive, even on prime contracts. But when small businesses do partner with multiple subcontractors, experts recommend certain steps, not only to protect the business but also to be seen in a positive light by acquisition officials.

Sharing their recommendations, a panel of small businesses and contracting officials came together at AFCEA TechNet Augusta to provide their advice on building and maintaining successful partnerships.

April 26, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
From l-r, Lt. Gen. Robert Shea, USMC (Ret.), president and CEO of AFCEA International, presents the winner’s trophy to Mike Fong, CEO of Privoro, after his company’s technology was chosen as the top competitor in the championship round of AFCEA International’s small business innovative shark tank. Also present are John Kreger of MITRE, chairman of the AFCEA Homeland Security Committee and Tina Jordan, AFCEA vice president of membership.

A simple piece of wraparound electronic hardware that shields a mobile phone’s sensors from hackers emerged as the top technology in the final competition of AFCEA International’s small business innovation shark tank. The technology allows its user full access to a phone while blocking the smartphone’s cameras and masking surrounding audio.

Developed by Privoro, an Arizona-based startup, the technology is known as SafeCase. Mike Fong, company CEO, described to the audience at the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference in Washington how a user simply places his or her iPhone into the SafeCase unit, and then chooses the degree of jamming desired.

April 2, 2019
By Maryann Lawlor

The General Services Administration’s current 8(a) STARS II, a small business set-aside governmentwide acquisition contract (GWAC), expires in July 2021, and acquisition experts believe the competition for the follow-on contract should begin this year to avoid a lapse in ordering periods.

“Because there will be hundreds of bids to evaluate and there may be protests, the GSA should issue the request for proposal for 8(a) STARS III by July 2019 in order to ensure that there’s no break between STARS II and STARS III,” says Stephanie Mitchell, a U.S. Defense Department and federal government acquisition specialist with BD Squared LLC.

February 11, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Lori Gillen (l) and Sandra Clifford of the Small Business Administration laud its All Small Mentor-Protégé Program (ASMPP). Photo by Elizabeth Moon

Small businesses are underutilizing a mentor-protégé program that streamlines their access to the federal marketplace, say government officials. Known as the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program, or ASMPP, the effort provides small businesses with a new avenue into federal contracting.

January 7, 2019
By Julianne Simpson
AFCEA International’s Innovation Shark Tank Series offers entrepreneurs and small businesses an opportunity to get advice and input from industry experts serving as judges in the competition. Pictured are the participants and judges from AFCEA’s November 19, 2018 event. Credit: Elizabeth Moon

AFCEA International has received the 2018 Best of Small Business Award as the Best Non-Profit and ranked 16th in the Small Business Top 100. The Small Business Expo presents these awards to recognize America’s preeminent small to midsize business visionaries.

The Best Non-Profit Award honors nonprofit organizations that specialize in supporting small businesses and small business owners with workshops, business counseling and guidance. The SB100 Award recognizes the top 100 small to midsize businesses in the U.S. and celebrates their growth and accomplishments in the previous year.