Dear SBIR Insider,
In this issue we have a few important items for you, one of which affects everyone contracting with the federal government.
Once again many of you made a difference by signing on to the SBTC's letters to the President, and to Congress concerning several controversial SBIR proposed rule changes made by the SBA. There was a lot of action generated by response and I suspect that a good deal of your message got through but we won't know the full story for a while.
In this issue:
SBA Pre-Release of SBIR and STTR Policy Directives
The SBA has pre-released the Policy Directives (PD) for the SBIR and STTR programs. These are currently available in a "pre-publication" PDF format only until the official publications are made in the Federal Register, due out August 6, 2012.
The PDs will be published as a "Final Rule" on August 6, in essence making them effective immediately upon printing in the Federal Register. Don't let the term "Final Rule" scare you, because in this case it means "final for now until we update it later this year."
The SBA wants your public comments on the new Final Rules. The commenting period will commence upon publication in the Federal Register. If all goes according to schedule comments will be open for 60 days and close October 6, 2012. A new "Final Rule" with consideration of comments should be published by the end of the calendar year.
The rules are long and complex, so you won't hear much from the SBIR community until a preliminary study is done. However, the SBA will hold two webinars (perhaps more) but for now they are scheduled for:
August 23, 2012 (you must register by August 22, 2012)
August 29, 2012 (you must register by August 28, 2012)
If you are interested in attending one of the Webinars, you must pre-register (maximum participation is 125 per session) by sending an e-mail to email@example.com. You must include in the subject line, the date of the Webinar you want. In the body of the email you must include the Participant's Name, Title, Organization Affiliation, Address, Telephone Number, Email Address, and Fax Number.
Did they really ask for a "fax" number? You can bet that's not a Sean Greene requirement!
If you want to download the pre-publication PDF versions go to:
We will have more for you soon.
Important Update: CCR is out SAM is In
The Central Contractor Registry (CCR) as well as the Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA) web sites and facilities have given way to the federal government's new omnibus system, the System for Award Management (SAM).
Until today, July 30, 2012 you couldn't receive an SBIR/STTR award unless you were registered in the CCR database. From now on it becomes the SAM, located at www.sam.gov (or just plain sam.gov). This is also true for Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA) which is now closed.
SAM incorporates many of the governments databases into one, and that includes CCR and ORCA, although they no longer carry those names.
The good news is that if your company was current in the CCR, that information has been ported over to SAM. The same is not true for ORCA. As I understand it at this time, you have to update your Representations and Certifications.
SAM is currently being hammered by users, because most government contracting programs will use this system, so expect it to be sloooow. Perhaps waiting a week or two may be advisable because it was virtually unusable today.
You cannot use your old account from CCR in SAM. You will have to go in and create an account (for most of us it will be a user account). In SAM terms your company is an "Entity" and you are an "Entity User" (sounds like a drug problem for NIH..)
If your company was current in the CCR, go to www.sam.gov and create an individual user account (this information is separate from your company's "entity account" but if done properly will allow you to access your company's data). When you create your user account, you will be asked "Would you like to migrate a legacy system account?" If the email address used in your CCR record is the same as the one in your user account, the transition will be a piece of cake, otherwise you'll have to justify the difference in the email addresses.
Hit the "Yes" button to open the migrate a legacy system account, window then select the CCR before you do any others. The system will step you through the process. Then you can go in and make any changes. However, it appears that you'll want to go to the Representations and Certifications tab and update that data (not fun…). Make sure you have your data handy.
For the "Feds" reading this, you can check on a company from the SAM even if they have not created a SAM user account. If the company was current in the CCR, it will be available in SAM. I'm not sure about how to query the Reps & Certs, but I'm sure that will come into focus soon.
Note: Look for the DoD to make a mod to their 12.3 and 12.B solicitations eliminating the references to CCR and ORCA.
Also, if your company was registered in CCR but reached its expiration date, you better get into SAM quickly and make the updates.
I'm sorry but a primer on SAM (which were are not qualified to do) is beyond the scope of the SBIR Insider, but this information is very important for all entities doing business with the government.
Senate Small Business Committee Shows Concern about 3% Agency Admin Money
Senators Mary Landrieu and Olympia Snowe, chair and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, sent letters to each of the eleven agency heads about the increases in the SBIR and STTR allocations as well as the pilot program that gives the agencies 3% of the SBIR budget for targeted administrative support.
Senator's Landrieu and Snowe have been concerned that the agencies may use these monies for something other than congress intended. According to the letters sent to the agencies, "Congress intended for this money to be allocated for new initiatives, as opposed to previously funded ones, in order to leverage the program and to make improvements. We wanted the program mangers and the small businesses and entrepreneurs to have more support."
With the "knee jerk" (emphasis on "jerk") reaction to the GSA's conference debacle, and the OMB's memo to seriously reduce travel and conferences, some agencies have become scared of their own shadows on all conferences and don't want to allow travel or conference support, even when a program's mission requires that support.
As for conference support for SBIR/STTR, Landrieu and Snowe's letter states: "Outreach is critical to improving in these areas [referring to undeserved states, and lack of participation by minority and disadvantaged persons in technological innovation], and it can be done in a variety of ways, including, but not limited to, conferences like the annual Navy Opportunity Forum hosted in Virginia and the National SBIR Conference held in New Orleans last November. Please report back to the Committee on whether your agency is planning on hosting an opportunity forum-type event, and explain why or why not.
The letter included a small spreadsheet for the agencies to fill out showing how the funding and allocation increases will be used.
It is almost a certainty that the PDs will be formally released on Monday August 6, so you won't have to be concerned with another Insider on that day. However, when we have news related to issues affecting the programs, we will get back to you quickly. I can promise you there will be interesting news forthcoming.
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