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OHIO NEWS

Former VA Director Faces
36 Count Indictment

James F. McCarty
Cleveland Plains Dealer

The then-director of the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center in Cleveland accepted bribes and kickbacks from crooked contractor Michael Forlani in exchange for confidential information that helped Forlani receive VA contracts, according to a 36-count indictment released Wednesday.

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10 Highlights From
National Small Business Week

SBA 10 Highlights from Nat'l Small Biz Week | Webinar- Mobile & Location Based Marketing | Creative Summer Marketing

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“SBA is no longer the federal government's best kept secret.”- SBA Administrator Karen Mills

John Stonecipher, President and CEO of Guidance Aviation in Arizona, was named the 2013 National Small Business Person of the Year

“Technology helps level the playing field for entrepreneurs.”- SBA Administrator Karen Mills

Advice to entrepreneurs from Co-Founder of Square and Twitter Jack Dorsey- “Always ask the question why.”

“If you don't have a business mentor, go get one for free at SBA.gov.”- SBA Administrator Karen Mills

“The 3 P's of entrepreneurship are people, passion and perseverance.” - Steve Case, Chairman and CEO, Revolution Co-Founder, America Online Chairman, The Case Foundation

“If you get a compliant about your business, go grab a cup of coffee. Think about a thoughtful response before replying.”- Angie Hicks, Founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Angie's List

“Cash flow is king to helping small businesses succeed.”- Dave Rader, Wells Fargo, SBA's 7(a) Loan Program Lender of the Year

“We need to make sure America stays a magnet for manufacturing, and small business plays a big part in that.”- SBA Administrator Karen Mills

“You don't have to look far to see the hard work of small business owners, they stand with their companies through every challenge and success.”- Lee Rhodes, Founder, glassbaby


VA to Review Regulations
Governing Small Business
Contracting Program

Jill R. Aitoro
Washington Business Journal

Veteran owners of small businesses might see some respite from what many have described as an arduous, unfair process used by the Department of Veterans Affairs to determine who's eligible to bid on set-aside contracts: The VA is apparently committed to making the verification process more efficient and less burdensome.

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Boehner to Suspend Military Flights
for Congressional Trips

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will suspend the use of military aircraft for official travel by House members if sequestration kicks in, a GOP House leadership aide said Wednesday.

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Prepping for the Big Day

Although the 2013 Ohio Business Matchmaker is three-weeks away, it’s not too early to start planning for the event.

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The Columbus District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration will host a workshop on Preparing for the Ohio Business Matchmaker 0900-1200 hours 14 March.

The workshop will be held at the District Office, 401 N. Front Street, Suite 200 in Columbus.

The workshop will demonstrate how to create a capabilities statement and how to interview with procuring agencies. Shanda Harris, procurement specialist PTAC at Ohio University, will lead the program.

The Ohio Business Matchmaker is the state’s signature event bringing together potential qualified suppliers with buyers from federal, state, local and prime contractors. Buyers and suppliers have 10 minutes in one-on-one sessions to discuss billions of dollars worth of upcoming opportunities.

The two-day event also provides training sessions to prepare and assist small business owners understand the procurement system. Matt Sherwood, executive director of VetBizCentral, will conduct a workshop on the essentials of starting and running a small business.

The Ohio Matchmaker is scheduled for 27-28 March at the Dayton Convention Center, 22 East Fifth Street, Dayton. For details, visit ohiobusinessmatchmaker.com or e-mail ohiobusinessmatchmaker@development.ohio.gov or call
(614) 466-2711.

To register for the for the Ohio Business Matchmaker, follow the above link. For details, call (614) 469-6860 (ext. 247).


Service Disabled Bidders Sought

Service Disabled Veteran Businesses are being sought for a construction contract at the North Butte County Courthouse in Chico, Calif. The project has a goal of three percent of contractors and subcontractors for the project.

Download PDF for more information


Washington Update

The U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee and Senate Veterans Affairs Committee have the following hearings scheduled:

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February 28, 2013. Joint HVAC and SVAC hearing on the Legislative Presentations from multiple Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs). 1000 hours Ground room 50, Dirksen SOB

March 5, 2013. Joint HVAC and SVAC hearing on the Legislative Presentation of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). 1000 hours; Ground room 50, Dirksen SOB


Proposal to Extend Vets Retraining Act Mulled by Committee Chair

(House.gov) Today, Chairman Jeff Miller (FL-01) introduced H.R. 562, the VRAP Extension Act of 2013. The bill would extend the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) through June 30, 2014, a move that would make it easier for program participants to finish job-training programs they have already started.
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Ohio’s Small Biz Profiles

Small businesses, including veteran and service disabled veteran owned, significantly impact Ohio’s economy. They represent 98.1 percent of all employers and employ 47.7 percent of the private-sector labor force. Small businesses are crucial to the fiscal condition of the state and numbered 916,879 in 2010.

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This profile uses the latest available data to illustrate the status of Ohio’s small businesses. (Note that a small business is defined as one with fewer than 500 employees.)

Ohio’s economy was strong in 2011, with real gross state product increasing 3.6 percent and private-sector employment increasing 1.5 percent (Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Small businesses employed 2.1 million workers in 2010 (Table 1) with most of the employment coming from firms with 20-499 employees.

The employment situation from 2007-2010 was weak, and small businesses in Ohio had a net job loss (Table 2). The unemployment rate in 2010-2011decreased by 1.4 percent.

Most of Ohio’s small businesses are very small as 79.3 percent of all businesses have no employees, and most employers have fewer than 20 employees.

In 2011, the number of opening establishments was lower than closing establishments, and the net employment change from this turnover was positive (Table 3).

Self-employment in Ohio declined over the last decade. Male self-employment fared the best compared with other demographic groups. Veteran-owned businesses declined by nearly 50 percent over the last decade.

The Office of Advocacy’s Small Business Profiles for the States and Territories supply data on small businesses in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The publication also provides national-level data and limited data on the U.S. territories. The usefulness of the publication is the great detail it provides about small businesses at the state level. The following topics are covered: the number of firms, demographics of business ownership, small business income, banking, business turnover, industry composition, and employment gains and losses by size of business. Detailed historical data may be found in the Small Business Economy


In Case You Missed It
GAO

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The Government Accountability Office recently issued a report on the VA’s verification system. This after the GAO and the VA’s Office of Inspector General identified weaknesses in VA’s processes that allowed ineligible firms to be verified as SDVOB. (VA is required to give contracting preference to SDVOBs and other veteran-owned small businesses.)

The program, coordinated by the VA’s Center for Veterans Enterprise, has received boatloads of criticism from Veteran Entrepreneurs. Among the complaints have been the VA’s misplacing records, prompting veterans to start the process all over, and the subjective nature of the VA’s verification.

Some in Washington claim the CVE verification program is being considered for all Federal agencies. Currently, only VA utilizes the program.

The GAO assessed the VA’s progress in establishing a program for verifying firms’ eligibility on a timely and consistent basis and key operational and policy issues that VA would have to address should the program be embraced government wide.

The 63-page report recommended the VA refine and implement a strategic plan with outcome-oriented long term goals and performance measures and, secondly, integrate its efforts to modify or replace the program’s data system with a broader strategic planning effort to ensure the system addresses the program’s short and long term needs.

Let’s wait and see if the VA follows the GAO’s recommendation.

READ the GAO Report

GAO Report Highlights (PDF)

Latest GAO Updates


Gulf War Vets Can File for Tax-Free Bonus
State of Ohio

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Veterans of the Persian Gulf War have only until 31 December 2013 to apply for a tax-free bonus from the state totaling between $150 and $5,700. The only requirements are that the veteran was an Ohio resident when he or she entered the service, is currently an Ohio resident and he or she served at least 90 days on active duty between 2 Aug, 1990, and 3 March 1991. It does not matter whether the applicant was in a combat zone.

Veterans of the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq wars are the only ones who are eligible at this time. For more information, call 1-877-OHIO VET (1-877-644-6838) or visit the Ohio Veterans Bonus Program website.

For more tips and guides for tax season, visit the Military.com Tax Center.


Recent Bid Protest Decisions Cited

General Council, PC

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Researched, written and distributed by the attorneys of General Counsel, P.C., the Bid Protest Weekly allows the Government Contract community to stay on top of the latest developments involving bid protests by providing weekly summaries of recent bid protest decisions, highlighting key areas of law, agencies, and analyses of the protest process in general. If you have any questions or comments on one of these decisions or you have an award that you are considering protesting please contact the editor of the Bid Protest Weekly at ldougherty@gcpc.com

Kingdomware Technologies - Reconsideration, B-407232.2, December 13, 2012

Link: GAO Decision

Protestor: Kingdomware Technologies

Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs

Disposition: Request Dismissed.

Digest:

1. In light of actions by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, the Government Accountability Office will no longer hear protests arguing solely that the Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act of 2006, 38 U.S.C. §§ 8127-28 (2006), requires the VA to consider setting aside a procurement for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, or veteran-owned small businesses, before procuring its requirements under the Federal Supply Schedule.

Kingdomware Technologies requested that the GAO reconsider its decision dismissing Kingdomware’s protest of the award of a task order (and exercise of subsequent option year) to LiveProcess using FSS procedures. Kingdomware argued that the Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act of 2006 required that the agency consider setting aside the procurement for SDVOSBs. The agency had sole-sourced the task order, and did not post the task order or option exercise on FedBizOpps. Upon learning of the awards, Kingdomware protested. The protest was dismissed, as the GAO concluded that, given the passage of time of more than a year since the initial award, no useful purpose would be served by consideration of the issue.

The GAO dismissed the request for reconsideration of its earlier dismissal, stating that it will no longer hear protests based only on the argument that the VA must consider setting aside procurements for SDVOSBs (or VOSBs) before conducting an unrestricted procurement under the FSS. Given the recent US Court of Federal Claims’ decision that the VA’s interpretation of the 2006 VA Act as allowing the agency to place orders on the FSS without first considering set-asides, and the agency’s advisement to the GAO that it does not intend to follow the GAO’s recommendations stating otherwise, the GAO concluded that protestors pursuing these arguments will not be able to obtain meaningful relief.

The recent decision by the Court of Federal Claims effectively lay to rest the longstanding battle between the VA and the GAO regarding the applicability of the “Vets First” contracting priority under the 2006 VA Act. What was viewed by many as a contracting preference applicable to all VA procurements has been reduced to an optional tool to support the VA’s efforts to reach minimum goals for SDVOSB and VOSB contracts. While the GAO agreed with the veteran community that the VA should be prioritizing contracting with veterans, the VA continuously refused to follow the GAO’s recommendations. SDVOSBs and VOSBs should still seek CVE verification for those opportunities the VA does opt to set aside, but should obtain relevant FSS contracts so as to maximize their opportunities.


NEW CLIENT
REQUEST FOR COUNSELING

E-Center Registration Button

The U.S. Small Business Administration requires all clients to complete the Request for Counseling (Form 641). This form will act as our Confidentiality and Code of Conduct Agreements. All client information is held in strictest of confidence.

To start the process, please click on the above e-CENTER button to access our electronic Request for Counseling form. After submission, a counselor will contact you shortly.

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