COLLINGSWOOD, N.J. — The Fed Cetera Network, a business development organization under 48 CFR 52.219-9, will hold a teleseminar at 11AM EST on October 4, 2018, on the topic of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) All Small Mentor Protégé Program (ASMPP).  The teleseminar will also feature brief overviews of Fed Cetera service disabled, veteran-owned (SDVOSB) and HUBzone-certified members who are seeking mentors. Here is where you can sign up to attend.

The SBA’s ASMPP launched in October of 2016 to provide a way for small businesses with any or no special socioeconomic designation(s) to form a mentoring relationship with another business in a manner previously available only to 8(a) firms.

The program benefits both mentors and protégés.  Mentors can form joint ventures with their protégé and compete for federal contracts and subcontracts on the basis of the protégé’s socioeconomic attributes, so, for example, a large business that becomes an approved mentor to an SDVOSB can compete as a joint venture partner to the SDVOSB for those opportunities, and the joint venture is considered an SDVOSB, regardless of the mentor’s status.  The mentor can own part of the protégé’s business, and can perform a sizeable portion of any resulting work. Protégés can receive various types of assistance, including financial assistance, from an approved mentor.

The Fed Cetera Network has a number of small businesses that have expressed interest in partnering with a mentor to pursue Federal opportunities, including SDVOSB and HUBzone firms.  Some of those firms will be profiled on the call.

The teleseminar costs $100 to attend, but is free to Fed Cetera Network members and to Private Collection Agencies (PCAs) now serving any U.S. Federal government agency, as well as to bidders to solicitation ED-FSA-16-R-0009.  Others will be invoiced upon sign up.

The Fed Cetera Network is a one-stop shop for Federal contractors, including United States Department of Education (ED) PCA contractors, to easily find pre-qualified potential subcontractors, protégés, and joint venture partners who have the wherewithal to implement Federal subcontracts successfully.  The Fed Cetera Network has helped dozens of small businesses pursue and receive Federal subcontracts over the years, and has helped multiple small businesses find and gain approval for mentorships under the SBA ASMPP. Member companies pay nothing to join the network, but pay only a nominal fee if successfully placed as a subcontractor with a Federal contractor.

Despite all that’s been written recently about the ED solicitation still in litigation, all federal agencies, including ED, have statutory requirements to spend significant dollars directly with small businesses.  According to the SBA’s small business dashboard, 71.2% of the $843.8M small business dollars spent by ED and 24% of the $2.5B eligible dollars for the Federal fiscal year ending later this month (dollars subject to small business percentage spending requirements), have been spent with small PCAs.  (You read that right. Nearly a quarter of every dollar ED spends on anything goes to a small business PCA.)

Many of the PCAs originally awarded as small businesses in 2014 are already large today and will be forced to reclassify as such in 2019.  ED’s stated intent to implement an enhanced servicer program is expected to come to fruition at some unknown, distant point in time in the future.  Meanwhile, news of Judge Wheeler’s permanent enjoinment against any cancellation of solicitation ED-FSA-16-R-0009 may result in additional contracts and placements to large PCAs.

None of these things has anything to do with ED’s statutory requirement to make direct awards for goods and services to small businesses, requirements that cannot be met through subcontracting, which ED will simply not meet without hiring small business collection agencies.

About Fed Cetera
Fed Cetera is a “business development organization” under 48 CFR 52.219-9 that PCAs contact when subcontracting opportunities are available in order to be fully compliant with Federal regulations requiring outreach to various sources of potential subcontractors.  The company maintains a source list of qualified small collection firms, regularly markets to the PCA community, and provides advisory services around business development and compliance to firms operating in the federal market place.

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