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Pennsylvania Launches New Policies to Increase Diversity Among State Contractors

first_img June 15, 2020 SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Pennsylvania Launches New Policies to Increase Diversity Among State Contractorscenter_img Economy,  Equality,  Press Release Continuing his commitment to small businesses (SBs) and small diverse businesses (SBDs), Governor Tom Wolf announced new procurement changes to improve opportunities for minority-, women-, LGBT-, veteran- and disabled-owned businesses ¬– to compete for state government contracts and succeed in the commonwealth’s economy.“This is another important step forward in the ambitious project my administration launched five years ago to open doors for small and diverse businesses in state contracting and to make the process more inclusive and diverse,” said Governor Wolf. “We have made progress, but there is more work to do. We cannot allow some people to be shut out of a chance to get a state contract. Our economy and our communities work best when everyone has a fair chance of success.”Today’s actions are the direct result of the governor’s Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities in Commonwealth Procurement and in Pennsylvania’s Economy executive order signed in 2015. The order created the Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities (BDISBO) within the Department of General Services, the Governor’s Advisory Council on Diversity Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities and led to the 2018 Statewide Disparity Study which examined disparities in the commonwealth’s contracting system and made recommendations for improvement.“These policy and program changes will allow us to increase opportunities for small diverse businesses in state contracts,” said Department of General Services Secretary Curt Topper. “Historically, the state contracting process has been uneven, inconsistent and unfair in providing opportunities for SBs and SDBs to do business with the commonwealth.”There are three new changes taking effect.First, each competitive state procurement will use goal setting for SDB participation on each solicitation with the intent to achieve a 26.3 percent state contract spending with SDBs .The goals are determined using an analysis and calculation of the percentage of DGS verified SDBs available to do the specific work as determined by the Disparity Study and other factors. Goal setting replaces the previous scoring process used to evaluate proposals and starts today for construction solicitations over $300,000 and on August 17, 2020 for goods and services solicitations over $250,000.Second, the department has set a goal of 4.6 percent of state contract spend to veteran-owned businesses through the new Veteran Business Enterprise (VBE) program as recommended by the Commonwealth Disparity Study. To increase the availability of VBEs, the commonwealth will now consider a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Enterprises as both an SDB firm and a VBE firm. This consideration is granted providing the applicant holds approved third-party certification from the Veterans Affairs Vets First Verification Program and eliminates the need to go through an additional third-party SDB certification process. The department will consider contract-specific goals for VBE participation on each individual solicitation over the dollar thresholds identified for SDB goal setting, and the VBE contract specific goals will be calculated based upon availability of VBE firms.Third, the administration has tasked all state agencies under the governor’s jurisdiction to have at least 15 percent of their contract spending go to eligible, state-certified small businesses through the Small Business Reserve (SBR) Program. The program helps all DGS-certified small businesses to compete as prime contractors on state contracting opportunities. Each agency has an executive-level employee responsible for ensuring the goal is achieved.“We are committed to achieving the commonwealth’s goal to do 26 percent of our business with small diverse businesses has truly been a group effort,” said Deputy Secretary for Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities Kerry Kirkland. “Through the hard work of the Bureau of Diversity Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities staff along with the Advisory council and our legislative supports, we are positioning our small and small diverse businesses for success and sustainability in our economy.”Kirkland praised the hard work of the BDISBO staff and involvement of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Diversity, Inclusion and Small Businesses Opportunities has led to the implementation of key policy and program changes such as: using the best value contracting method to increase SDB participation in contracting opportunities; creating the Agency liaison Program to ensure that SB/SDB contracting opportunities are part of all annual commonwealth agency purchasing plans; and creating the Mentor-Protégé Program that pairs prime contractors and/or suppliers with DGS-verified SDBs to provide developmental assistance and help them successfully solicit and perform on commonwealth contracting opportunities.Visit the Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion, and Small Business Opportunity for more detailed information on the new policies and programs as well as the Wolf Administration’s efforts to diversity state contracting and opportunities for small and diverse businesses.Ver esta página en español.last_img read more

Kickstarter has proven to be a great way to get yo

first_imgKickstarter has proven to be a great way to get your dream idea off the ground. It’s been especially advantageous to tech startups that often have high-costs needs for developing and manufacturing products.[Related: Amazon Partners With Startups To Sell Crowdfunded Products]However, things can turn ugly very fast on Kickstarter if you overpromise: take people’s money, and then don’t deliver the goods as one startup discovered.The Coolest Cooler is not just any old cooler for your beer. It’s a “smart” cooler with a built-in waterproof Bluetooth speaker and a built-in device charger.The 55-quart cooler also has an LED-lit lid, wheels, a built-in blender, utensil storage, and other unique features.At the time it launched, the Coolest Cooler was the most popular Kickstarter of all time, raising $13 million, reports Motherboard.At launch, the purchase price was from $165-$225. Then, as Motherboard’s Jason Koebler writes, a shortage of blender motors at a manufacturing plant in China sent the manufacturing costs of the cooler skyrocketing. The cooler is now selling for $400.The problem was that the company initially sold the cooler at too low of a price, said its creator Ryan Grepper. They did not correctly calculate manufacturing costs and certainly did not foresee a parts shortage.To make up for the costs and the fact that the company is quickly running out of the $13 million it raised, they came up with the somewhat misguided idea to charge customers who had not yet received their cooler, an additional $97 for “expedited delivery.”“We would allow backers to pay for the remaining cost of their Coolest to get it faster, with a guaranteed delivery date before July 4,” Grepper wrote on the company’s site. “We are open to this option and exploring it here because you have asked us to do so.”That did not go over well. According to Motherboard, “after sending out [that] update, Coolest employees were threatened and doxxed (the practice of broadcasting personal information about an individual).” The marketing manager’s e-mail rang nonstop with calls from angry Kickstarter backers.There is also a host of bad reviews on the Amazon page for the cooler, perhaps fueled by anger over the pricing.The company apparently has backed off on the additional charge idea as it looks for ways to raise additional needed funds.It’s a good lesson about how even something as easy to launch as a Kickstarter project requires a lot of thought and planning as would be required to pitch to a VC.In 2013, Seth Quest, the entrepreneur behind an iPad stand known as the Hanfree discovered there’s a fourth possible outcome from a failed Kickstarter campaign–a lawsuit and bankruptcy.For advice on using Kickstarter to fund your project, check out Black Enterprise’s “How to Effectively Fund A Project on Kickstarter.” be_ixf; php_sdk; php_sdk_1.4.18 https://www.blackenterprise.com/heres-ugly-things-get-dont-deliver-kickstarter/ https://www.blackenterprise.com/heres-ugly-things-get-dont-deliver-kickstarter/last_img read more