Northwest News

Federal Contracting:
National Defense Industrial Strategy Released

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The Department of Defense released its inaugural National Defense Industrial Strategy (NDIS) on Jan. 11, 2024.

The NDIS will guide the Department's engagement, policy development, and investment in the industrial base over the next three to five years. Taking its lead from the National Defense Strategy (NDS), this strategy will catalyze generational change from the existing defense industrial base to a more robust, resilient, and dynamic modernized defense industrial ecosystem.

NDIS Strategic Priorities:

  • Resilient supply chainsthat can securely produce the products, services, and technologies needed now and in the future at speed, scale, and cost.
  • Workforce readiness will provide for a sufficiently skilled, and staffed workforce that is diverse and representative of America.
  • Flexible acquisitionwill lead to the development of strategies that strive for dynamic capabilities while balancing efficiency, maintainability, customization and standardization in defense platforms and support systems.
  • Economic deterrence will promote fair and effective market mechanisms that support a resilient defense industrial ecosystem among the U.S. and close international allies and partners and economic security and integrated deterrence. As a result of effective economic deterrence, fear of materially reduced access to U.S. markets, technologies, and innovations will sow doubt in the mind of potential aggressors.

>>  READ MORE:

>>  ADDITIONAL information and resources:


PA State Contracting:
Commonwealth Sets Record: Spends More Than $1Billion With Small and Small Diverse Businesses

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In December, the Pennsylvania Department of General Services (DGS) released its 2022-23 Small Business Opportunities Program Annual Report, announcing that for the first time in Pennsylvania's history, the Commonwealth spent more than $1 billion with small businesses (SBs), small diverse businesses (SDBs), and veteran business enterprises (VBEs) during the 2022-23 fiscal year.

The report was prepared by DGS's Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities (BDISBO) and highlights record spending, including:

  • Spending with SDBs and VBEs reached $690 million – an increase from last fiscal year's reporting of $536.6 million.
  • SDBs received a record high $678 million, or 12.2 percent, of Commonwealth spending for goods and services during the 2022-23 fiscal year.
  • SBs received $447 million, or 8 percent, of Commonwealth spending for goods and services during the 2022-23 fiscal year.

"Securing state contracts has historically been a challenge for small businesses in Pennsylvania. Obstacles – including a lack of awareness and technical resources – have made it difficult for small businesses to compete for contracts. I can confidently say that this is changing – and the annual report reflects this," said DGS Secretary Reggie McNeil. 

>> CONTINUE READING HERE.

Interested in learning more about PA’s Small Business, Small Diverse or Veteran Business designations for your company? Reach the APEX Accelerator today!


ALERT:

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Be Aware of Fraudulent Email Scams

We’ve been notified by fellow APEX Accelerators that fraudulent emails are circulating across the country claiming to be from federal agencies wanting to place orders for computers and equipment. Some APEX clients got unsolicited purchase orders for laptops appearing to be from US CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION. The APEX was able to confirm with the true agency’s Small Business Office that this is a scam. And it seems the scammers are using various other federal agency names as well.

The sender’s email address on such fraudulent messages is likely to end in “.org” or another extension other than “.gov”, the body of the message may have some small grammatical errors or typos, and the sender might note that they intend to use a personal email address as a “backup to the conversation and to avoid any delay”.

THESE EMAILS ARE NOT FROM A FEDERAL AGENCY. We advise you to ignore the message, do not click on any links within the email, and delete it from your inbox. However, as always, if you receive any questionable emails and are not certain of their legitimacy, please feel free to contact your APEX Counselor.


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Upcoming APEX Events:

Cybersecurity Essentials: Toolkit for Small Businesses [Cybersecurity Series SESSION 1]
February 15, 2024  |  2:00 pm - 3:00 pm  |  Virtual  |  No Fee

This webinar is part of a 10-webinar series presented by Core Business Solutions, Inc., a cybersecurity & ISO consulting firm located in Lewisburg, PA, and co-sponsored by various APEX Accelerators and Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) programs.

The first session in the series is "Cybersecurity Essentials - Toolkit for Small Businesses" on Feb. 15. During this presentation, dive into the critical digital tools that form the cybersecurity backbone for small enterprises. This session demystifies the technical jargon and focuses on practical, accessible solutions that provide robust protection without complexity. MORE INFO & REGISTRATION:  https://nwpaptac.ecenterdirect.com/events/4487  

CMMC and Cybersecurity UPDATE for Government Contractors
February 22, 2024  |  11:00 am - 12:00 pm  |  Virtual  |  No Fee

A deep dive into the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) rule in the Federal Register (32 CFR Part 170). Join regional PA APEX Accelerators and CTC PA Cyber Resource Center for an insightful discussion on the key aspects and implications of the recent CMMC rule publication. MORE INFO & REGISTATION: https://nwpaptac.ecenterdirect.com/events/4500

The Human Factor: Cultivating a Culture of Cybersecurity Awareness  [Cybersecurity Series SESSION 2]
March 21, 2024  |  2:00 pm -3:00 pm  |  Virtual  |  No Fee

This is the second session in the 10-part series with Core Business Solutions. This webinar empowers your workforce with essential cybersecurity knowledge, from recognizing phishing attempts to safeguarding sensitive data. Create a human firewall with informed, vigilant employees. Watch for more details & registration to be posted soon:  https://nwpaptac.ecenterdirect.com/events    

Three-Part CMMC Training Webinar Series
March 19-21, 2024  |  10:00 am each day  |  Virtual  |  No Fee

 Join PA APEX Accelerators, PA WEDNet and 3Comply as we present a 3-day event designed to inform and educate businesses about the newest and latest cybersecurity requirements. Learn how to ensure your business is compliant for contracting with the government. Find more information and registration for each webinar via the links below:

Watch our APEX EVENTS SITE for events as they are scheduled throughout the year. Unable to attend a session, but would like info/assistance?  You can always reach our APEX Accelerator Counselors to schedule an appointment.


Federal Contracting:
Defense Contractor Resources

The U.S. Dept. of Defense (DoD) Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) has created many new, free resources to help small business owners interested in working with the Dept. of Defense.  Here are just a few to check out:DOD Spring 1 APEX

 And remember, if you want to learn more about doing business with DoD agencies, Contact the APEX Accelerator for no fee assistance, resources & guidance on how to do business with DoD and other federal, state &/or local government entities.

Federal Contracting:
SDVOSB Certification Grace Period Ended 1/1/24

Did you know? As of January 1, 2024, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSBs) that are NOT certified by the Small Business Administration (SBA) are now ineligible for SDVOSB or VOSB set asides and sole source awards with Federal agencies. Have questions or need assistance with understanding &/or obtaining SDVOSB or VOSB certification for your small business? Contact us here at the APEX Accelerator!SDVOSB Spring APEX

 Also of note: The FY24 National Defense Authorization Act increased the SDVOSB goal from 3% to 5%. 

READ MORE HERE >>


Upcoming APEX Events:

 CMMC 2.0: Navigating the Latest Updates and What They Mean for You [Cybersecurity Series SESSION 2]
Mar. 21  |  2-3p  |  Virtual  |  No Fee

This is the second session in the 10-part series with Core Business Solutions. This session will cover insights into the latest CMMC 2.0 (Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification) updates for DoD contractors & subcontractors, including the impact of the revision of NIST SP 800-171 (Rev 3). Understand the changes, anticipate new requirements, and learn how your business can smoothly transition to the updated standards. More details & registration at:  https://nwpaptac.ecenterdirect.com/events/4501.   

Three-Part CMMC Training Webinar Series
Mar. 19-21  |  10a each day  |  Virtual  |  No Fee

 Join PA APEX Accelerators, PA WEDNet and 3Comply as we present a 3-day event designed to inform and educate businesses about the newest and latest cybersecurity requirements. Learn how to ensure your business is compliant for contracting with the government. Find more information and registration for each webinar via the links below:

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Watch our APEX EVENTS SITE for events as they are scheduled throughout the year. Unable to attend a session, but would like info/assistance?  You can always reach our APEX Accelerator Counselors to schedule an appointment.