Announced last month, PTAC is now called APEX Accelerators, and with that comes some new and exciting goals from our federal grant funder, the Office of Small Business Programs under the DOD. One of these goals is to help traditionally disadvantaged businesses (8(a), Woman-Owned, HubZone, Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned, and more) register and sell to the Federal … Continue reading Calling all Iowa Innovators!
Did You Know? Newswire Stories
Calling all Iowa Innovators!
APEX Accelerator: A New Name for PTACs
The Procurement Technical Assistance Program (PTAP), formerly managed by the Defense Logistics Agency, changed hands on October 1, 2022, and is now under the direction of the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP). The PTAP program was authorized by Congress in 1985 to expand the number of businesses capable of participating … Continue reading APEX Accelerator: A New Name for PTACs
Wrapping Up 2022 and Preparing for 2023
As we wrap up 2022, our team wanted to take the opportunity to provide Iowa businesses doing business in the government sector with updates and considerations. Iowa Department of Administrative Services (DAS) has a new registration site. The new state of Iowa DAS electronic bidding system, the Iowa Management of Procurement and Contracts Systems (IMPACS), … Continue reading Wrapping Up 2022 and Preparing for 2023
Did You Know? Taking Advantage of Networking Opportunities
By: Justin Niceswanger In my role as a counselor for Iowa businesses seeking government contracts and subcontracts, I’ve noticed how it can be difficult for some of our clients to move forward in using direct marketing efforts, and begin building relationships with government personnel and prime contractors. These actions aren’t easy for everyone: Even if … Continue reading Did You Know? Taking Advantage of Networking Opportunities
Did You Know… Your Small Business May be Able to Help After a Natural Disaster?
Hurricane Ian worked its way up the eastern State’s coastline and destroyed homes, businesses, bridges, roadways, power lines, and much more infrastructure. Per FEMA, The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 5121-5207 (the Stafford Act) §401 states in part that: “All requests for a declaration by the President that a … Continue reading Did You Know… Your Small Business May be Able to Help After a Natural Disaster?
Did You Know? Agencies Buy Benefits Not Features
Every product or service has features and benefits, but did you know that you should never mention a feature without explaining the benefit of that feature? Why? Because not every feature is a benefit to your target customer. For example, if your target customer lives in Florida, heated seats (the feature) of a product would … Continue reading Did You Know? Agencies Buy Benefits Not Features
Did You Know? Iowa’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Plan
As part of the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, federal funds were authorized to support the continued development of electric vehicle (EV) chargers. Iowa is joining with many other states in developing plans to create an EV charging network along Interstates 29, 35, 80, and 380. Our state federal funding for 2022 is $7.6 … Continue reading Did You Know? Iowa’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Plan
Did You Know? Updates to SAM.gov
If you are experiencing challenges with your SAM registration – You are not alone. On April 4, 2022 the U.S. government transitioned from DUNS numbers to Unique Entity IDs, also known as a UEIs. Many companies are experiencing challenges and delays in getting their SAM registrations renewed, preventing the government from being able to issue … Continue reading Did You Know? Updates to SAM.gov
Did You Know?” The SBA Has Expanded WOSB NAICS Codes
By Samantha Ferm If you’re a Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB) and have applied for the SBA’s WOSB certification in the past, you might have been aware of the odd requirement a limited number of NAICS codes were even applicable to be considered as a ‘woman-owned small business.’ This eliminated hundreds of possible NAICS codes across … Continue reading Did You Know?” The SBA Has Expanded WOSB NAICS Codes
Did You Know? The SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program
By: Justin Niceswanger In past years, federal agencies have established contracting goals to award at least 5% of their prime contract spend to small disadvantaged businesses. In December of last year, the Biden Administration announced the goal would substantially increase. How much was the increase? Can your company qualify as a small disadvantaged business, and … Continue reading Did You Know? The SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program
Did You Know? The GovCon World is Ever-Changing
By Jodi Essex We’ve seen so many changes in the government contracting world in the past year it’s difficult to keep it all straight. Here’s a quick recap of the changes that are happening or are in the works: CMMC / Cybersecurity The government has now introduced a less burdensome version of the Cybersecurity Maturity … Continue reading Did You Know? The GovCon World is Ever-Changing
Did You Know? New SBA Business Size Standards Rule
By: Mary Zimmerman Certain government programs, such as Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs and contracting opportunities, are reserved for small businesses. To qualify, businesses must satisfy the SBA’s definition of a small business concern, along with the size standards for small business. SBA sets the size standards for businesses by industry using either revenue … Continue reading Did You Know? New SBA Business Size Standards Rule
Prepare for Government Contracting in 2022 with Your PTAC Counselor
By Samantha Ferm There’s no better time than the start of a new year to connect with your PTAC counselor and do an audit of your goals with government contracting….and we are here to help! One thing I love to do for clients is simply work with them in updating a free market research report, … Continue reading Prepare for Government Contracting in 2022 with Your PTAC Counselor
Did you know? There is a Resource Available to Help You Understand Doing Business with Other States
By Julie Fagle In recent weeks we have been discussing doing business with state/local Governments, some specific options for the surrounding states including their direct websites, as well as the relationship driven nature of marketing and contracting with these organizations. There is also a resource available to help you develop these potential customers even further … Continue reading Did you know? There is a Resource Available to Help You Understand Doing Business with Other States
Did You Know? Federal Contract COVID Vaccination Requirements
By Justin Niceswanger On September 9, 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order 14042, Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors. The order creates requirements for federal agencies to add a new Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) clause in many federal solicitations and contracts (and other contract-like instruments) which, in turn, requires many federal contractors and subcontractors to … Continue reading Did You Know? Federal Contract COVID Vaccination Requirements
COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan
If you are a small business, nonprofit organization of any size, or a U.S. agricultural business with 500 or fewer employees that has suffered substantial economic injury as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you can apply for the SBA’s COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). This loan provides economic relief to small businesses and nonprofit organizations that are … Continue reading COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan
Did You Know? Rock Island Arsenal Overview
Did you know that the Rock Island Arsenal (RIA), which is an actual island situated between Iowa and Illinois on the Mississippi River, houses more than one major Army command and over 60 tenant organizations, both public and private entities? The five major Army organizations on the island each have different and unique buying needs: … Continue reading Did You Know? Rock Island Arsenal Overview
DID YOU KNOW?… Federal Certification for Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs)
Federal agencies have an annual goal to award at least 5% of spend on prime contracts to Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs) and, for contracts which include small business subcontracting plans, the WOSB subcontracting goal is also 5%. To help meet these goals, agencies will sometimes set-aside or even sole-source opportunities to WOSBs and Economically Disadvantaged … Continue reading DID YOU KNOW?… Federal Certification for Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs)
Did You Know?…Navigating NAICS and Government Acronyms
NAICS is old news for a news email, as the system has been around for 23 years. But this topic comes up often with clients, so I thought it would be a nice refresher to emphasize the importance of NAICS and their ongoing relevancy.
NAICS – Also known as North American Industrial Classification Codes, these codes are used in federal procurements and in small business size standards. The North American Industry Classification System, or NAICS (pronounced “Nakes”), was developed under the direction and guidance of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as the standard for use by federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the collection, tabulation, presentation, and analysis of statistical data describing the U.S. economy.
Did You Know?… How PTAC Helps with Bidding
Besides helping you with your government vendor registrations and figuring out tricky interpretations of contract clauses or requirements, PTAC counselors also can help small businesses during the bidding process! But how?
Did You Know?…Iowa DOT Small Business Development Contracts Program
The Iowa Department of Transportation offers a program specific to small business contractors where small businesses compete against each other and not against large contractors. This program, separate from the DBE Certification, is called the Small Business Development Contracts Program. To be eligible for this, a small business must become a Certified Small Business Contractor (CSBC) by meeting the requirements through the Iowa DOT’s Civil Rights Bureau. (Note: There is no ethnic or gender limitation for this program.)
To become a CSBC, and to bid on the small business contracts, follow the steps below:
DID YOU KNOW?… Optional Contract Types May Reduce Uncertainty
Although many of us are optimistic 2021 will be better than the year we just went through, the world will continue to struggle with both the short- and long-term impacts of the COVID pandemic. In addition to trying to keep ourselves and others physically and mentally healthy during these trying times, there also are concerns about the health of our economy – including volatility in the pricing and availability of labor and materials. Economic swings may impact not only the way government agencies contract for products and services, but also the amount of risk contractors are willing to accept on these contracts.
Here are a few options for you to consider:
Did You Know?… 2021 is Finally Here!
Many of us are extremely grateful to put 2020 behind us and begin focusing on a more promising 2021. Our PTAC team is no different. We understand the challenges that many businesses have faced this past year and are working hard to support you virtually. I want to take this opportunity to remind you of the ways we can assist your business with pursuing government contracts:
Did You Know?… Threshold Changes for Small Business Sub Plans
Government policy says that a portion of each federal spending dollar should be used to help small businesses. Federal agencies put this into practice by requiring that large prime contractors submit a plan along with their proposals demonstrating how they will utilize small businesses in the performance of each federal contract. Historically, these plans were … Continue reading Did You Know?… Threshold Changes for Small Business Sub Plans
Did You Know… Understanding GSA Schedules
Businesses often hear about how lucrative it is to get a “GSA Schedule” with the federal government. Here are a few tips to know if a GSA Schedule is right for you and your business, and if so, the next steps you can take.
Did You Know?… Setting up an Effective BidMatch
Did you know that as the client, you play a very important role in helping your counselor set up an effective BidMatch profile? The BidMatch system is a tool that PTAC counselors offer to their clients to help identify bid or proposal opportunities.
As with most things in life, feedback is important to the process.
Did You Know?… The AbilityOne Program
Federal agencies buy a wide variety of products and services, but they’re required to try to purchase through specific sources before ordering from the open market.
For this month’s “Did You Know?” article, we’ll take a closer look at one of these mandatory sources: The AbilityOne Program. We’ll learn more about AbilityOne, including what products and services it makes available to agencies, what ways businesses can support its mission, and how businesses can benefit from the program.
Did You Know?…Cities Can Be a Good GovCon Start
Have you considered doing business or expanding your current business with the local government?
Municipalities (aka city governments) are often overlooked by companies considering government contracting. But many times, this is where the opportunity lies for contractors that target a specific geographic area, such as state, city, and county parameters.
Did You Know?… Everything is Changing!
There are so many changes going on in our daily lives and things are moving at such a rapid pace, it’s hard to keep up with all of the information.
In case you missed it, here is a synopsis of the recent government contracting-related changes.
Did you Know?… Adapting to Meet Customer Needs
There is no getting around it – the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound and far-reaching effect on all of us.
The way we interact and do business has been forced to change with very little notice. One of our mantras at CIRAS is “working at the speed of the customer” because we truly do care about everyone we serve. To accommodate our unexpected new environment, we “re-calibrated” as quickly as possible to best meet the evolving needs of our clients.
Did You Know?…Woman-Owned Small Business Certification Updates Coming This Summer
Last year, the SBA advised it had some changes in the works for the Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB) and the Economically-Disadvantaged Woman-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB) certification programs. The full scope of those changes are scheduled to be announced June 30, but they will not go into effect until 30 days after that announcement. So keep an eye out for actual certification changes towards the very end of July 2020.
CIRAS Status: Our Operations During COVID-19 Pandemic
May 27, 2020
At CIRAS, our mission is to Enhance the performance of industry through applied research, education, and technical assistance. During times of crisis, we do everything we can to continue serving Iowa industry while ensuring the health and safety of our team and your team.
In order to serve you while minimizing risk to our team and Iowa industry, we are operating with some changes to our services:
Did You Know?… Disaster Relief Contracting
It’s time to begin thinking about spring floods and the emergency management responses that go with them. How can your company participate in these relief efforts? While many procurements are done by the local agencies affected by the disaster through their existing contracts, there is often a need for additional support. Here are various ways you can position your company for opportunities during a disaster.
DID YOU KNOW?…Counties, Cities, and Competition
A few months ago, a contractor with a history of selling to the government shared with me an interaction they had with a county employee. The conversation went something like this:
Contractor: “We’d like to have an opportunity to be considered for the next contract and be contacted the next time you go out for bids.”
County: “We’re not required to compete our orders, and we have a local provider we’re happy with.”
The response surprised the contractor. When the contractor met with me later, they asked me: Aren’t counties required to compete their orders like they do at the state and federal levels?
Did you know…What PTAC can do for You?
For many people, opening a new calendar also means creating a new set of goals. This is the time of year when many of us resolve that we’re going to accomplish a few things that we know we need to do, such as lose weight, get healthier, and/or clean the basement.
At work, this clean-basement desire may translate into an effort to get more organized or learn about an area you don’t fully understand. We’d like to suggest that you make 2020 the year you get better informed about the world of government contracting. Are you ready to resolve that this is the year you’ll grow your company’s business with the government? If so, then the CIRAS Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) is here to help.
Did You Know?… The Rules for Gift Giving to Public Agencies
Gift giving is often a standard business practice during this holiday season. However, you should beware if you are giving a gift to a public agency. Most states, as well as the federal government, have rules governing this practice.
Let’s explore the law that applies to our state, which is called the Iowa Gift Law.
Did You Know?… Subcontracting Expands your Government Sales
Subcontracting opportunities can be a lucrative avenue in the government sector, which allows businesses to participate in government contracting without dealing directly with the government.
Why subcontracting? The federal contracts that are awarded to prime contractors often come with subcontracting plans containing goals for doing a percentage of the work with small businesses.
Did You Know… About the SBA Surety Bond Guarantee Program?
Surety bonds help small businesses win construction, supply, and service contracts by providing the customer with a guarantee the work will be completed. Many contracts require surety bonds, which are offered by surety companies. Becoming bondable is like applying for bank credit. The requirements include a review of the technical and managerial ability, financial statements, and credit resources of the small business. Small businesses often struggle to meet some (or all) of the minimum qualifications.
Did you know there is a program to help small businesses get started with bonding or increase their current bonding capacity?
Did You Know?… FedBizOpps is going away
FedBizOpps currently is the federal government’s website (www.fbo.gov) for posting all procurement opportunities with a value of more than $25,000.
By the end of next year, it will disappear. The system, along with several other government acquisition systems managed by the General Services Administration, are gradually being rolled into one new site.
Did You Know?…. The DUNS® Number Is On Its Way Out
If you’ve done any work in with the federal government (either as a vendor or grantee) you most likely have been required to register for a proprietary DUNS number through Dun & Bradstreet. The DUNS number, which was created in 1962, has been the official verification number for entities to register with the Federal Government since 1998 (once it was codified by the Federal Acquisition Regulation, aka FAR).
Did you know?… How to Sell to Iowa Public Schools
Summer is ending, which means parents everywhere are beginning to shop for Back To School. Have you ever considered what may be on the school’s shopping list?
DID YOU KNOW?… Federal Agencies use the SPA
No, this isn’t an article about spring water or hot tubs! “SPA” stands for “Simplified Purchase Agreement,” a method of purchasing set up by the Government Publishing Office (GPO) and available to use by various federal agencies for their printing needs. As an alternative to relying on the GPO for soliciting their opportunities, agencies typically find SPA procedures to be more relaxing (see what I did there?).
DID You Know…the Three Steps to Government Contracting?
The government contracting journey can be very challenging. Companies have to do their homework and not rest on the notion that, if they are registered on SAM or state/local agencies, they will be “discovered” by government customers. The registration system is a useful tool for a government agency to conduct market research, bid notifications, etc. But this is NOT a game of, “They’re supposed to buy from us because we’re a set-aside, a TSB, etc.”
Did you know? … About NAICS
The North American Industry Classification System, or NAICS (pronounced “Nakes”), was developed under the direction and guidance of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). It’s the standard way that federal statistical agencies classify business establishments for the collection, tabulation, presentation, and analysis of statistical data describing the U.S. economy.
CIRAS PTAC Team Praised by Peers for Making a Difference
CIRAS government contracting specialists have earned praised from their peers for having a tremendous impact both on the Iowa economy and on the communities where they live.
Did You Know- Emergency Management/Disaster Preparedness?
It may be hard to believe by looking outside, but Spring is nearing. And with Spring’s arrival, we often see record snowfalls become record floods. It never hurts to position yourself to be able to react and respond accordingly. While several agencies assist the public in disaster response and recovery efforts, they cannot do it without help from Iowa businesses.
Did you know… What a Purchasing Consortium is?
If not, you might be missing important contracting opportunities. Many state and local organizations use purchasing consortia to obtain goods and services.
A purchasing consortium – also referred to as cooperative purchasing, or a “GPO” (Group Purchasing Organization) – is a mechanism by which multiple organizations with similar purchasing needs band together to better leverage their buying power and achieve more favorable terms and pricing from vendors. Such consortia also reduce the workload for their members by eliminating duplication of effort in issuing solicitations and managing contracts for the same good/service.
Government Contracting: Tips for Surviving the Shutdown
Over the weekend, the partial government shutdown passed into record-setting territory in terms of length. The CIRAS PTAC staff knows that this likely is causing some elevated blood pressure among clients which existing government contracts, and we’d like to do what we can to help.
So how worried should you be?
Did You Know?… The Benefits of Research
Whether you’re new to government contracting or an old pro, you can never underestimate the benefits of good old-fashioned research. Here’s a few tips on how to best approach your research strategy to find and win the right government contracts.
Did You Know? – Week of Dec 15: Reflection, Goals, and Onward!
It’s hard to believe that 2018 is rapidly coming to a close. In a few weeks, we will be celebrating the New Year!
Do you ever take time to reflect on your successes and failures? I encourage you, during this month, to think back to goals you set for 2018. Did you achieve them? Did you fall short? What lessons have you learned?
STAFF NEWS: Justin Niceswanger is a Government Contracting Specialist
Justin Niceswanger has joined CIRAS as a government contracting specialist with the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). He will be based out of a CIRAS office in Clive and will serve business owners who are located inside the city of Des Moines.
Sept. 26 is National PTAC Day to celebrate GovCon success
For 33 years, Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) have helped expand the number of small businesses that successfully compete for and win federal, state, and local government contracts. This month, PTACs from around the country are coming together for one special day to celebrate the success of the tens of thousands of small businesses who have benefitted from training and technical assistance delivered by their local PTACs.
DID YOU KNOW?: Building Relationships While Prospecting for Business
There are many things affecting your business that you can’t control. Did you know that your personal attitude is something you can control? Your attitude affects the way you approach people and circumstances in business. Choosing to approach potential customers positively, confidently, enthusiastically, and with a helpful attitude – even when you’re tired, stressed, or frustrated – may help improve your sales and grow your business.
Did you Know…?: Hurricane Disaster Contracting
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center (CPC) is forecasting a 35% chance of above-normal hurricane activity in the Atlantic for the 2018 hurricane season (June 1 – November 30). The disastrous 2017 hurricane season had companies scrambling to position themselves for a piece of the “recovery” pie.
STAFF NEWS: Samantha Ferm is a Government Contracting Specialist
Samantha Ferm has joined CIRAS as a government contracting specialist with the Procurement Technical Assistance Program (PTAP). She will be based out of Iowa City and will serve the southeast portion of the state.
Did you know?… How to Sell to Iowa Public Schools
Have you ever thought of selling your goods and services to an Iowa public school system? A lot of money is spent in education, and districts take their spending responsibilities very seriously. There are 367 school districts throughout Iowa. Selling to a school district may be a potential opportunity for your company, but first you need to know your customer.
Did You Know?…. Contracting with Local Governments
One key market for selling your products/services involves local governments – the host of towns, cities, and counties located throughout Iowa.
Normally, the first step in doing business with local governments is to contact the municipal clerk, the county auditor, or the city Procurement Office/county Purchasing Department. This can be accomplished by personally visiting their offices to learn about their bid opportunities. If that’s not practical, you can research their websites for notices and submit your bid online/email. Or, you can simply email your company capability statement to each government’s Point of Contact (POC).
Did You Know? Elevator Speeches Matter
At most meetings, conferences, and networking events people are asked to introduce themselves and talk about their company. This is their time to shine – it’s like free advising! But because they are uncomfortable or have trouble explaining what they do or sell, they miss a perfect opportunity to position themselves for success. The answer to this is to have a prepared elevator speech.
How to Create Your Own Elevator Speech
A quick, easy way to create your elevator speech is to review your capability statement, drawing ideas from your core capabilities and differentiators. Or you could perform the following steps: