NASA Supports Small Business Research to Power Future Exploration

WASHINGTON—NASA has selected hundreds of small businesses and dozens of research institutions to develop technology to help drive the future of space exploration, ranging from novel sensors and electronics to new types of software and cutting-edge materials. The newly awarded projects under the agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program also include a high-power electric rocket and a coating to make solar panels more efficient that could be used both in space and here on Earth.

The awards total nearly $50 million, with investments spread out over 39 states and Washington, D.C. Under the selection, 333 proposals from 257 small businesses and 41 research institutions – including 10 Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) – will be awarded first-round funding for technology development. View the full lists of SBIR awardees and STTR awardees online.

NASA investments in American small businesses and research institutions help provide the innovations needed for the exciting and ambitious missions on the agency’s horizon and foster robust commercial space and technology sectors.

bdpatoday | ICYMI 04.30.22“NASA is working on ambitious, groundbreaking missions that require innovative solutions from a variety of sources – especially our small businesses,” said NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy. “Small businesses have the creative edge and expertise needed to help our agency solve our common and complex challenges, and they are crucial to maintaining NASA’s leadership in space. The SBIR program is one of the key ways we do that as well as creating jobs in a growing, sustainable space economy.”

Each proposal team will receive $150,000 – a 20% increase over previous years’ funding – to establish the merit and feasibility of their innovations. Phase I SBIR contracts are awarded to small businesses and last for six months, while Phase I STTR contracts are awarded to small businesses in partnership with a research institution and last for 13 months.

“The selections span a breadth of areas to empower the agency’s work in human exploration, space technology, science, and aeronautics,” said Jenn Gustetic, director of early-stage innovation and partnerships for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. “We’re excited about the uses for these technologies for Artemis and other missions, as well as their potential use in the commercial space industry and people’s everyday lives.”

About 30% of the awards will go to first-time NASA SBIR/STTR recipients. This includes Ad Astra Rocket Company based in Webster, Texas. With its Phase I award, the company will develop a new way of manufacturing part of its Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket, or VASIMR, engine – a high-power electric rocket engine the company has been working on with NASA for 25 years. In the engine, powerful radiofrequency waves are launched by special antennas, called couplers. The waves ionize gas into plasma, which is then accelerated to provide rocket thrust. The Phase I funding will be used to manufacture couplers in a way that increases the engine’s power limit. This innovation will help move the entire engine closer to commercialization, where it could be used for high-maneuverability satellites, lunar settlement cargo delivery, and more.

Nearly 25% of the selected companies are women-owned, veteran-owned, disadvantaged, and/or HUBzone small businesses. For example, D2K Technologies, a women- and minority-owned small business based in Oceanside, California, will create a monitoring and advisory system for health management of solenoid operated valves (SOV) used in industrial applications with its Phase I award. This technology could find use in many of NASA’s research centers, testing centers, and launch sites, since SOVs are basic components of most fluid systems. And, with the widespread use of SOVs in industrial applications, the system could be useful to oil and gas, nuclear, manufacturing, power generation, chemical, food, and pharmaceutical companies. This eight-person company is also a first-time NASA SBIR awardee.

“Finding and building a diverse community of entrepreneurs is a central part of our program’s outreach, and the efforts to reach them can start even before Phase I,” said Gynelle Steele, deputy program executive for NASA’s SBIR/STTR program at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “For example, working in partnership with NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project, we started offering M-STTR planning grants last year, which incentivized partnerships between MSIs and small businesses and prepared them to submit a STTR Phase I proposal in 2022.”

National BDPA’s “Space City” Chapter in Huntsville, Alabama is a Meta Data Center  Community Action Grant winner for FY22 . Funding for nonprofits and schools support long-term vitality of Huntsville.

M-STTR awardee Oakwood University, a historically Black university (HBCU) based in Huntsville, Alabama, will continue working alongside SSS Optical Technologies, a small business also based in Huntsville, using their Phase I award to develop a new type of coating for photovoltaic (PV) cells embedded in solar sails. The coating could generate extra electricity and improve the overall PV conversion efficiency, which could advance solar sailing and other power and energy conversion needs for space exploration. This technology could improve the efficiency of commercial solar panels.

NASA selected Phase I proposals to receive funding by judging their technical merit and commercial potential. Based on their progress during Phase I, companies may submit proposals for $850,000 in Phase II funding to develop a prototype, as well as subsequent SBIR/STTR Post Phase II opportunities. The NASA SBIR/STTR program is part of the Space Technology Mission Directorate and is managed by NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley.

To learn more about NASA’s SBIR/STTR program and apply to future opportunities, visit: https://sbir.nasa.gov/.

— Source and photos: NASA


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The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is Permanently Authorized in new Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo is pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is made permanent and will be expanded and elevated with the passage of this historic legislation. This action allows the agency to increase their programs and outreach to the Nation’s more than 9 million minority-owned businesses.

“President Biden has made clear his commitment to not just rebuilding to how things were before COVID-19, but to building back better and more equitably,” said U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo. “The Minority Business Development Agency is ready to step into this historic moment and build on its success – because we recognize that America’s road to recovery runs through our minority business community. Making MBDA a statutory Agency provides MBDA with the authorities, workforce and resources needed to help level the playing field on behalf of minority businesses and minority entrepreneurs.”

“The Department of Commerce and MBDA play a pivotal role in promoting the growth and competitiveness of minority-owned businesses,” said U.S. Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary Don Graves. “This legislation is transformative and signifies a new era in minority business development and progress toward addressing the long-standing racial disparities in access to capital, contracts, and business ecosystems.”

“Created by Executive Order in 1969, the Minority Business Development Agency is the only federal agency solely dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of minority business enterprises,” said Miguel Estién, Acting National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency. “The Minority Business Development Act of 2021 is one of the most significant pieces of legislation impacting the minority business community in the last 50 years. I look forward to helping lead the Agency’s transformation at this critical juncture in our nation’s history.”

The bill expands the geographic reach of the MBDA by authorizing the creation of regional MBDA offices, rural business centers, and increasing the number and scope of existing programs.

The Act also:

  • Creates a presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed Under Secretary of Commerce for Minority Business Development to lead the agency.
  • Increases the MBDA’s grant-making capacity to partner with community and national nonprofits engaged in private and public sector development as well as research.
  • Mandates the creation of the Parren J. Mitchel Entrepreneurship Education Grants Program to cultivate the next generation of minority entrepreneurs on the campuses HBCUs and MSIs across the Nation.
  • Creates a council to advise the Under Secretary on supporting MBEs; and
  • Authorizes the Under Secretary to coordinate federal MBE programs.

The MBDA will report on the implementation milestones of the Minority Business Development Act of 2021 through the website, www.MBDA.gov.

Sources: White House and MBDA • Cover Photo: bdpatoday


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TEDCO
TEDCO Leading Innovation to Market.

CSAF delivers powerful message in new Air Force commercial

By Master Sgt. Chance Babin, Air Force Recruiting Service Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) — Air Force Chief of Staff General CQ Brown, Jr. delivers a powerful message about air power and diversity in a new Air Force commercial titled “Helmet.”

The dynamic 30-second spot aired for the first time on national TV during the NBA Finals pregame.

“I was a captain when I was asked to do an interview about diversity, and I shared this idea,” Brown said. “I want our adversaries to know that, no matter our respective backgrounds, our Airmen are unstoppable.”

For Air Force Recruiting Service’s top recruiter, the commercial is a slam dunk.

“The message is clear,” said Maj. Gen. Edward Thomas, AFRS commander. “As Airmen, we’re committed to ensuring we have the most capable and lethal air power in the world, and we want America’s best – the best from all of America – to come join us.”

Thomas emphasized that the Air Force is a warfighting organization, and the nation expects nothing less than the highest standards and a selection process that brings in the best Americans to become Airmen.

“When Gen. Brown became the CSAF, he clearly stated that the Air Force was going to  focus on what we do best – air power,” said Barry Dickey, AFRS director of strategic marketing. “We wanted to make a commercial that reinforced that priority, but also inspired Americans from all walks of life to serve in the Air Force.

“The power of this spot is in the underlying message and delivery. When I watch the commercial, I’m left with the understanding that the Air Force doesn’t care what you look like or where you come from,” Dickey said. “If you can do the job, we’ve got an opportunity for you. At the same time, I also get the message that the Air Force is about winning with air power, period. All of this is delivered by the leader of the Air Force in 30 seconds.”

AFRS and its advertising agency, GSD&M, originally planned to film two commercials with Brown at Edwards Air Force Base, California, with a focus on both diversity and air power.

The “Helmet” commercial was not in the original plans, but materialized as the day’s shooting progressed.

“While we were recording the voice-over for the commercials, Gen. Brown told a few stories and basically said what you hear in the commercial,” Dickey said. “When he did, I think everyone in the room immediately had the same thought – ‘we’ve got to record that!’ The creatives from GSD&M quickly turned his words into a script while we were filming and General Brown graciously agreed to perform on-camera.”

The commercial also fits squarely into AFRS Detachment 1’s efforts to reach into traditionally underserved communities to let people know about the opportunities to fly in the Air Force through programs designed to meet CSAF’s Rated Diversity Improvement initiative goals. For example, the Aim High Flight Academy gives disadvantaged youth a chance to learn to fly while being mentored by Air Force officers.

“We have a very healthy level of diversity in our enlisted ranks, but our officer and flying specialties look less like America,” Thomas said. “Air Force recruiting efforts have ramped up to better attract a cross-section of highly-qualified Americans into our ranks and specifically to consider flying opportunities.”

Source and photosUnited States Air Force (USAF)


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New Defense Secretary Arrives at Pentagon, Convenes COVID Meeting

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PENTAGON—Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III arrived at the Pentagon today and hit the ground running, greeting the senior staff and then immediately heading into meetings on combating the coronavirus. The Senate confirmed Austin at 11 a.m.; the vote was 93-2. He arrived at the Pentagon around noon and was “administratively sworn in” soon afterward.

Austin chaired a COVID-19 briefing attended by Deputy Secretary David L. Norquist, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, members of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Staff, DOD COVID-19 Coordinator Max Rose, the acting service secretaries, the service military chiefs and combatant commanders. The Senate and the House of Representatives waived the requirement that a defense secretary must have been retired seven years before assuming the position. Austin assured congressional leaders that he fully believes in civilian control of the U.S. military.

During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Austin addressed this issue. “I was a general and a soldier, and I’m proud of that,” he said. “But today, I appear before you as a citizen, the son of a postal worker and a homemaker from Thomasville, Georgia, and I’m proud of that, too. If you confirm me, I am prepared to serve now as a civilian, fully acknowledging the importance of this distinction.” Austin, a 1975 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., retired from the Army as the commander of U.S. Central Command in 2016.

In some of his first acts, Austin is contacting allies and partners around the world to assure them of America’s security commitments. His first call to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, is proof of the importance Austin places on allies.

Conquering COVID tops the immediate list of missions, but Austin also must configure the department to face China, which he called America’s “pacing threat” in his testimony. He also must consider the actions and strategy of a resurgent Russia. Iran remains a U.S. concern in the Middle East, and U.S. troops are still deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. North Korea is a wild card in the Indo-Pacific.

Threats from violent extremism remain. Although the physical caliphate of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has been eliminated, remnants of the group are still dangerous, DOD officials have said. Other groups, which share the toxic ideology, exist in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Austin also must keep his eyes on the future, continuing to build a department that has the capabilities needed to deter any foe and, if deterrence fails, to defeat that threat.

Source and photo: Pentagon

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BDPA-DC Welcomes new Training Scholarships for HBCU Seniors and Graduates Earning Industry Certifications with HOPE Project Online

WASHINGTON—The H.O.P.E. Project DMV (HOPE) is accepting applications for next semester’s online STEM certification offering of its renowned and award winning community information technology (IT) training and workforce development  program. Since 2009, HOPE has successfully launched exciting technology careers through programs uniquely designed to prepare students from ages 16-24 for mission-critical entry-level positions such as Helpdesk, Desktop, Service Management,  and Application support.

BDPA of Greater Washington, D.C. (BDPA-DC) in direct support of National BDPA’s mission and the association’s HBCU student member objectives, is partnering with HOPE to provide training and certification scholarships directly to HBCU students or recent HBCU graduates who are accepted into HOPE’s online training programs.  

BDPA-DC extends its “Industry 4.0” Student Information Technology Education and Scholarship  (SITES IV) portfolio to include HOPE’s CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+ training, certification test preparation to compliment next summer’s STEM internship applications or college degrees for immediate entry-level opportunities across the (ICT) industry with BDPA’s mission-partners

BDPA-DC extends its “Industry 4.0” Student Information Technology Education and Scholarship  (SITES IV) portfolio to include HOPE’s CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+ training, certification test preparation to compliment next summer’s STEM internship applications or college degrees for immediate entry-level opportunities across the (ICT) industry with BDPA’s mission-partners

About H.O.P.E. Project DMV

The H.O.P.E. Project (HOPE) mission is to empower students to reach their potential by providing a comprehensive information technology training program, designed for students out of high school and at least 18 years old. Since 2009 HOPE Project  has trained, coached, and mentored nearly 2,000 IT students that have an average salary of nearly $65,000 a year.  HOPE has helped students earn over 2,200 CompTIA A+, Network+ and Security+ certifications.  These credentials have helped HOPE alumni build IT careers working as Cyber Security Engineers, Systems Administrators, Mobile Device Engineers, and IT Project Managers.  Visit: hopeprojectonline.com.

About BDPA-DC

The association’s global mission as outlined by National BDPA is to bridge digital divides across cyber security, information technology (IT) and telecommunications competency gaps while broadening outreach and awareness campaigns for computer, data science, and technical careers. Since 1978, BDPA of Greater Washington, D.C. (BDPA-DC) has successfully presented Student Information Technology Education and Scholarship (SITES) projects across the National Capital Region support career development and economic development through well blended and tailored series of student programs, industry outreach, community relations, and legislative affairs primarily for urban and underserved communities.   Visit: bdpadc.org.

— Photo courtesy: HOPE Project DMV

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BDPA Memphis Welcomes new Computer Science Graduates to Industry

New Cyber and STEM civilian careers with the Department of the Air Force

MEMPHIS, TN — BDPA Memphis Student Members graduated this week with Computer Science Degrees from the University of Memphis. Other BDPA Student Members not only graduated with Computer Science Degrees, some graduated from CodeCrew Code School and Tech901.

memphis-bdpa-bdpacon18

According to BDPA Memphis, for students considering a future in IT, or want to learn more about technology, BDPA can help develop technical skills, make introductions to role models, and open doors to new tech internships or that first IT career opportunity.

bdpatoday | December 2019

For start-ups and entrepreneurs who provide IT-related services and products, a BDPA membership is an invaluable asset. BDPA introduces businesses to individuals with purchasing power. Interact with potential business partners, investors, and certified employees.

In 2018, nine students from National BDPA’s Memphis Chapter qualified to attend #BDPACon18, the annual BDPA National Technology Conference and Career Expo in New Orleans, LA.

Two mobile apps were presented at the conference: Microball Gaming (by Bryce Ellis), a three-in-one video game with augmented reality and real time multiplayer, and Edesia (by Kareem Dasilva), an app that finds nearby food trucks in real time.  Bryce won second place in the app competition, receiving a $2500 scholarship.

Three BDPA students won other scholarships (Jada Thomas, Monsanto Scholarship, $2500; Brandon Ellis, Oracle Scholarship, $2500; Cody Seymour, Oracle Scholarship, $2500), and three students participated in judging the High School Computer Coding Competition.  High school participant Milton Turner placed second in the Information Technology Showcase for his presentation on the risks of having a “smart city.”

BDPA Memphis’ advisor, CodeCrew Executive Director Meka Egwuekwe, was awarded the Individual Pace Setter Award for his leadership in developing STEM education in Memphis.

— Source and photos: BDPA Memphis

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BDPA Huntsville | 2020 Regional Conference

Next Generation Digerati are no strangers to ‘Hidden Figure$​’​

Annual IT Summit in D.C. Broadens Tech-Inclusion and Community Outreach

WASHINGTON — Helping Other People Excel.

Now in its tenth year, H.O.P.E. Project DMV (HOPE) has successfully developed a proven approach to broaden community engagements within the tech industry and the Defense Industrial Base (DIB). HOPE’s program sources untapped talent from traditionally underserved communities for classified and unclassified entry level technology roles. Starting salaries for GED credentialed candidates, high school graduates, and returning citizens with newly minted tech industry certifications approach $35,000 for tens of thousands of unfilled entry level and junior level technology positions. Several alumni already have reached HOPE’s “six-figure” club — some with Top Secret security clearances; A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications.

H.O.P.E. Project IT Summit 2019Opening these exciting new career pathways to a better way of life for families not only provides peace of mind, but significantly impacts economic growth for communities in the National Capital Region. Moreover, according to Defense One, technology is drastically altering what makes our nation strong, prosperous, and secure. The DIB is not only becoming a strategic innovation base, but a military artificial intelligence (AI) complex.

Founded by Raymond Bell, Jr., HOPE knows this all too well and has always recognized an urgent need to upskill local communities since inception. Over 25 cohorts later and owning unique relationships with industry trade associations such as CompTIA, HDI, and BDPA, HOPE continues to prepare HOPE alumni for advanced pursuits, and certifies cybersecurity professionals for trans-generational sustainment. Moreover, HOPE alumni are industry’s new project managers and hiring managers.

hopeIT19j.jpgSean G. Conner (left) of 22nd Century Technologies, Inc. was this year’s keynote presenter and one of HOPE’s panelists from industry. He listed career opportunities in Defense and Health IT. His firm has successfully captured new defense contracts in the Pentagon, in Maryland, and in Florida.

This year’s panel featured Richard Honesty from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bea Braxton, CEO of BeaKen Systems & Technology Solutions Inc., and Perry Carter, President of National BDPA’s Greater Washington D.C. Chapter. Panelists stated today’s leading digital companies have disrupted every industry they have touched, from publishing to automotive. Digital transformations determine how industry identifies and sources raw talent from every community. Yet far too often, future workforces are left out of groundbreaking innovations and economic development opportunities, especially those 18 to 24 years of age.

H.O.P.E. Project IT Summit 2019Sergeant First Class Warren Martinez (above) highlights current training opportunities in cyber, telecommunications, and information technology with the United States Army. For those entering technical fields or seeking security clearances with additional income as a reservist, access to the Army’s specialized training, high-tech equipment, and cyber operations are unavailable in most civilian jobs and becomes extremely invaluable on technical resumes when presented across growth industries.

New technologies notwithstanding, emerging success stories with industry and the DIB from suppliers and local communities hardly ever are deemed newsworthy. HOPE has changed this narrative. This year’s I.T. Summit was an annual value-packed information technology conference with Industry offered at no cost to District Residents, HOPE students and alumni, BDPA Members, and the public. Participants were able to discover new concepts while discussing industry’s requirements with HOPE alumni and Industry panelists. Government contracting with related start-up opportunities, acquiring security and facilities clearances, and pursuing degrees while entering technology fields were H.O.P.E. Project IT Summit 2019discussed.

The following workshops were offered this year:

  • Interviewing for I.T. Jobs, Building I.T. Resumes, Working with Recruiters and Job Boards
  • HOT Technical Certifications and Cybersecurity Tools
  • “Must-Have” Technical Skills for Entry and Mid-level I.T. Jobs
  • A Day in the Life” of a HOPE Project’s World Class IT Help Desk Professional

Rocking her new ‘HOPE Hoodie’, Ms. Alaisha Etheredge (inset photo), shares dashboard and analytical reporting requirements during her session. Attendees discussed using the latest security information and event management (SIEM) tools such as Splunk and related certification tracks from novice to expert.

Conference and tech summit attendees met with IT professionals, small business executives, and workshop presenters, some of whom “walked in the same shoes” and recently launched their careers with HOPE.

H.O.P.E. Project IT Summit 2019During this year’s sessions, participants discovered how to prepare for an IT career within any vertical industry segment such as defense, healthcare, or transportation while acquiring practice skills that helps one succeed with certification testing toward any assignment.

For additional information, visit HOPE’s landing page at http://www.hopeprojectdc.org. HOPE is real.

Photo credits: H.O.P.E. Project DMV (top) and BDPA-DC . Raymond Bell, Jr. and Theresa Caldwell contributed to this article for bdpatoday.

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Discover new cybersecurity and technical civilian careers with the Department of the United States Air Force.

How to Introduce New Technologies, Products, Services, and New Innovations to the U.S. Government

COLLEGE PARK, GA — The government welcomes industry and small businesses to respond under their SBIR and STTR programs, or an Unsolicited Proposal in unique ways to introduce a specific technology, a service, a product or a new innovation to the U.S. Government.

Scenario:
One has a technology, service, product or new innovation that needs to be introduced to the government but the government is not aware of this technology, these services, products or new innovations. How are technology, services, products or new innovations introduced to the government? First one needs to consider doing research and identifying issues and challenges agencies have to determine if what is offered as a solution supports some of their issues and concerns. Many times the government will release information concerning some of their issues and problems.

SBIR:
The Small Business Innovation Research program is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation’s R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs.

STTR:
bdpaxl-bizw.jpgSmall Business Technology Transfer is another program that expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation research and development (R&D) arena. Central to the program is expansion of the public/private sector partnership to include the joint venture opportunities for small businesses and nonprofit research institutions. The unique feature of the STTR program is the requirement for the small business to formally collaborate with a research institution in Phase I and Phase II. STTR”s most important role is to bridge the gap between performance of basic science and commercialization of resulting innovations.

Unsolicited Proposal:
What Constitutes an Unsolicited Proposal? It is defined in FAR 2.101, as a written proposal for a new or innovative idea that is submitted to an agency on the initiative of the offering company (your firm) for the purpose of obtaining a contract with the government, and that is not in response to an RFP, broad agency announcement, or any other government-initiated solicitation or program, For an unsolicited proposal to comply with FAR 15.603(c), it must be:

  • Innovative and unique
  • Independently originated and developed by the offering company
  • Prepared without government supervision, endorsement, direction or direct government involvement
  • Detailed enough to show that government support could be worthwhile, and that the proposed work could benefit the agency’s research and development (or other mission responsibilities)
  • Not an advance government proposal for a contract the public already knows the agency will need that could be acquired by competitive methods

If interested in reviewing government agencies that provide specific instructions on how to submit an Unsolicited Proposal to their agency, review Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Unsolicited Proposal website posted here: https://www.dhs.gov/unsolicited-proposals 

by Dannie James
JE Group, LLC

 

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Norton’s New Bill Encourages U.S. Government to Increase Minority and Women-Owned Media participation in Advertising Contracts

WASHINGTON — On May 8, 2019, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) formally introduced a bill that she and others hope will help to stop federal agencies from overlooking Black-, other minority-, and women-owned businesses when establishing advertising contracts.

The “Federal Government Advertising Equity Accountability Act”, formerly H.R. 7215, was reintroduced in the 116th Congress as H.R. 2576. The new bill requests and requires all federal agencies to include in their annual budget justifications the amount spent on advertising contracts with Small Disadvantaged Businesses (SDBs) and businesses owned by Blacks, women and other minorities in the previous fiscal year.

Bill Co-Sponsors
The legislation, which is co-sponsored by California Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Wisconsin Democratic Congresswoman Gwen Moore, also requires that each agency provide projections of their spending for the upcoming fiscal year.

“The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) applauds and salutes the outstanding leadership of Congresswoman Norton for introducing one of the most important Congressional bills to potentially benefit the Black Press of America,” said NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.

NNPA - Founded in 1940“For too long, millions of annual federal advertising dollars have not been spent with Black-, other minority- and women-owned newspapers and media businesses,” Chavis said.

Chavis also thanked Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Gwen Moore (D-WI) for co-sponsoring “this game-changing legislation.”

“We further thank Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chair, Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA), and all the members of the CBC for their resolute support of the Black Press of America,” he said.

Appropriations Bills
Norton and Lee also sent letters to all 12 House appropriations subcommittees requesting that they direct each agency under their jurisdiction to include the pertinent information in their fiscal year 2021 budget justifications.

An accompanying House fiscal year 2020 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill – the first fiscal year 2020 report released thus far and the second largest appropriations bill – further directs the agencies to include data in their fiscal year 2021 budget justifications.

“As the largest advertiser in the United States, the federal government has an obligation to ensure fair access for minority and women-owned media companies,” said Norton, who earlier this month was ranked as the most effective House Democrat by the Center for Effective Lawmaking.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

Led by professors at the University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University, the Center for Effective Lawmaking defines legislative effectiveness as the “proven ability to advance a member’s agenda items through the legislative process and into law.”

It’s that reason that Norton and the nation’s Black-, other minority- and women-owned media companies are optimistic that her proposed legislation will aid their businesses, which have long played a vital role in local communities.

“My bill would ensure that federal agencies are striving to reach minorities and women, who often get their news from outlets that serve more specific communities,” Norton said.

Lee added that it’s important that federal agencies comply.

She said that African American-, women-, and other minority-owned businesses should always have a seat at the table when it comes to government advertising and contracts.

Government Accounting Office (GAO) Findings
In 2016, Norton led members of Congress in requesting a GAO report on their advertising contracts.

Released in July 2018, the GAO report showed that, in fiscal year 2017, only 16 percent of the federal government’s advertising contract obligations went to businesses owned by minorities and women.

“In 2017, the GAO examined spending on advertising contracts with minority-owned businesses by five agencies – the Department of Defense, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of the Interior, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration – and found that only five percent of the $4.3 billion available for advertising contracts went to minority businesses,” Norton said.

“In light of these concerning figures, we, and several Members, sent a letter to the GAO in April 2016 requesting updated information on the amount of federal advertising dollars spent with SDBs and businesses owned by minorities and women,” she said.

“The GAO’s findings make it clear that there is still much progress to be made,” Norton said.

“BigTech”, “FinTech”, Prime/Sub Contractor, and Advertising Agency trends
Further, she said the regular collection of information on federal advertising contracts with SDBs and businesses owned by women and minorities is essential to bridging the divide between current statistics and a more inclusive advertising landscape.

“Collection would also promote transparency and encourage federal agencies to strive to reach minorities, who often receive their daily news from smaller media outlets that serve communities of color,” Norton said.

“Collection of this information would also demonstrate that the promotion of equity in advertising, and in all areas of government, should be a continuous effort that is central to the mission of every agency,” she said.

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
Photo credits NNPA and Black Press USA

bdpatoday | Paths Forward and Next Steps?

For Advertising and Public Relations Agencies

This bill primarily supports growth and sustainability for small community and county newspapers which include small, minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses in rural America and America’s largest urban metropolitan areas.  New federal advertising reporting requirements help federal prime contractors and their subcontractors meet and exceed public sector supplier diversity and small business goals for corporations who wish to continue to trade (win contracts) with the federal government.

  • Review and follow the new bill, H.R. 2576
  • Increase paid advertising with, small, minority, women, veteran-owned, and HBCU/MSI publications to meet or exceed diversity and inclusion goals
  • Include NNPA, NAHP, and HBCU/MSI publications in marketing and new advertising campaigns


For Publishers

This bill primarily supports growth and sustainability for small, minority, and women owned businesses, National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) newspapers, National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP) newspapers, and HBCU/MSI publications:

  • Review and follow the new bill, H.R. 2576
  • Download Congresswoman Norton’s “Dear Colleague Letter” to voice additional support and share with peers to directly send to Senators and Congressional Representatives
  • Increase readership and advertising revenues — pivot to TECH
  • Hire STEM interns; train more tech journalists
  • Regularly publish digital transformational trends with related career and government contracting opportunities
  • Publish articles for new readers by covering all vertical industry segments (i.e. health, transportation, manufacturing, banking, defense, etc.)
  • Modeled after “PARADE Magazine” featured every Sunday, NNPA and NAHP newspapers may consider supplementing weekly or monthly newspaper editions with “STEM” tabloids. For example, NNPA/NAHP “STEM Value Packs” may include:
  • Capturing new or more federal contracts for printing, publishing, and advertising?
    • Complete or update corporate profiles on the federal government’s System for Award Management  (SAM.gov) portal. A DUNS number, a CAGE Code, and appropriate NAICS code(s) are required for federal prime and subcontracts— new publishers, businesses, and start-ups should visit SBA.gov first
    • Research the market to sell products or services to the federal government. The Government Services Agency’s (GSA) acquisition solutions for small businesses and publishers offer private sector professional services, equipment, supplies, and IT to government organizations and the military. GSA is Uncle Sam’s “Amazon.”  Start here. → https://www.gsa.gov/small-business/get-started
    • Continuity of Operations and Disaster Recovery (CoOP/DR) contracts or BCDR Preparedness grants.  Secure publishing/printing opportunities with federal/state/local agencies in advance of natural disasters to publish updated instructions, emergency planning, maps, and shelter locations. Power, Internet access, and WiFi services may not be available during or after major disruptive events → https://www.fema.gov/grants
    • Review special requirements and contracting opportunities for HUB Zones or Opportunity Zones.   Several Historically Black College or University/Minority Serving Institution (HBCU/MSI) campuses are in rural areas, HUB Zones, and in some cases may be the largest employer in town
    • HBCU/MSI, NNPA, and NAHP publications also may expand community outreach, training, and career development opportunities into regional “news deserts” or distressed communities
    • Digital transformation, preservation, and archiving contracts or STEM grants.  Publishers and printers may secure new opportunities to help agencies and organizations transition their  documents and legacy data onto new multimedia platforms.
— bdpatoday

Microsoft PowerPoint - FINAL_Updated Draft of Flyers for Small B

Baltimore Pitch Competition team captures $10K regional prize

WASHINGTONTestify Software Solutions won $10,000 as a finalist in another round of pitch competitions designed to encourage youth entrepreneurship across emerging software-defined ecosystems.

Organized by Mark Greenberg and Marcus Noel, The World Series of Entrepreneurship (#WSE2017) Regional Pitch Competition series is aimed at giving students an extracurricular outlet to develop their ideas, challenge their comfort zones, and learn along a fun, empowering journey. Their mission is to encourage high school students to take a leap with them—inviting them to participate in the ultimate hands-on after-school activity where students get to come up with their own businesses or product ideas, make it come to life with guidance from industry mentors, and then show off their venture in a pitch competition with their peers.

Femi Adebogun, Zack Tasker, Druvesh Patel,  and Paras Shah are Testify‘s Franklin High School co-founders. Testify is an education technology (EdTEch) startup built around their MindMap app.  For Adebogun (top/cover photo), the WSE2017 regional high school pitch competition was not his team’s first rodeo. According to Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) Spotlight, last December they participated in the Venture D.C. Pitch Competition here in Washington, beating six local startups with their app idea, pitch, and execution. Furthermore, they have been asked to talk about Testify at colleges and universities in the United States and Canada on several occasions. Nonetheless, regardless of what they have achieved thus far, Testify‘s co-founders still hope to achieve and earn more.

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BDPA’s high school coding competition (HSCC) students from Washington, D.C. (BDPA-DC) also participated in WSE2017 events. Team leader Ms. Indigo Emanuel (photo) introduced her team and launched their pitch.

Philadelphia, PA and the District of Columbia served as WSE2017 host cities. Washington’s Inclusive Innovation Incubator [In3] hosted one of the regional pitch competitions at Howard University.

→ Sources and photos:
The World Series of Entrepreneurship™
BDPA Washington, D.C.
Inclusive Innovation Incubator [In3]

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