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  • 03 Aug 2020 2:06 PM | Sandra Wills (Administrator)

    On behalf of the GCA family, Richard Brooks, Pamela Harris, Kim Yang, Herman Kitt and myself, Abraham Xiong, we are saddened and heartbroken to let you know that Myra Cisse passed after a battle with cancer. Myra was our friend, business partner, and a champion for small businesses.


    GCA is planning to host an online Memorial Service for friends and the business community to celebrate Myra’s life. It is set for Tuesday August 11th at 5pm to 6:30pm.  If you have a few words to share, let us know so we can consider it.

    Here is the link to RVSP: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4248735439771108879


    We're putting together a tribute video for Myra, so if you have any Myra moments, Myra’isms, funny stories, pictures, songs, or poems. You can also record a short video of you sharing a few words.

    - Keep your video short, ideally, 30 seconds

    - Send video in MP4 file format to: info@govcontractors.org

    - Due Wedneday evening

    Myra was a champion for the small business community and for so many of us. Her life and professional career leave a legacy of impact, hope and promises for entrepreneurs throughout the world. She empowered thousands of companies through her passion to support entrepreneurs in their journey of learning about government contracting, certifications for small businesses, and accessing the opportunities with supplier diversity programs.

    Myra started her business Certification Consultants, LLC as a way to help small businesses obtain certifications. In 2015, she became partners at Government Contractors Association to further the vision of enabling even more companies to access the billions of dollars of government contracts. Through Myra’s work, many of the companies which she helped to get certified into the 8a Program, WOSB, SDVOSB, HUBZone, MBE, WBE, and other certification programs are now thriving and growing businesses. Some of them are winning millions in government contracts.

    Through Myra’s collective work at GCA, over 10,000 entrepreneurs have been trained and most importantly, businesses have won more than $900 million in government contracts. She traveled around the globe leading trade mission trips from the US to South Korea. She supported international companies in their expansions. More notably, she was a voice for the small business community and a bridge between government agencies and small businesses.

    Myra left us too soon, but she left a legacy of impact. In her final words, she said to tell everyone that "She loves us very much."


    A GoFundMe campaign has been set up. As you contribute to this GoFundme campaign, it is your way of saying “Thank you” to Myra and how she has touched you. All funds from this GoFundMe will go to support Myra’s daughter, Bianca, settling her estate and medical expenses. Thank you in advance for your donation and support.


  • 08 Jun 2020 10:44 PM | Abraham Xiong (Administrator)


    As professionals and entrepreneurs living in a sea of change, I hope that this article finds you well. We are all navigating a pandemic, an economic crisis, and a long overdue repudiation on racism. I am concerned about COVID-19, its impact on the economy and our small business community.  

    However, I am hopeful that the worldwide protests stemming from the horrific tragedies from George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Abery will spur lasting change in this country and an end to systemic racism. It’s time for change in our hearts and our society.

    It is in this spirit that our organization, Government Contractors Association was founded. Our mission has been from the very beginning to help change the disparities which exist for minorities, women, veterans, and the disadvantaged small business community in the government market. We remain steadfast to doing our part to facilitate change.

    As such, I want to announce some changes which are happening at GCA.

    NEW OFFICE: GCA will be moving. We will NO LONGER be at our 3190 NE Expressway office. In the coming weeks, we’ll have a BIG announcement about our new office space. If you like our current space, you will love our new space. In the meantime, our team will be working remotely until our new office is ready.

    GOVDIRECTIONS: Our partnership with GovDirections has ended. For many of you who have enjoyed using GovDirections, you may continue to do so, but you’ll need to upgrade to their paid service. Moving forward, we will be providing our members with a new bid matching software called GovGenie. This new software will be more than just bid-matching, it will be a full government contracting capture management tool.

    If you would like to be a Beta User and help us improve on it, use this link: www.GovGenie.com

    NEW TEAM MEMBER: GCA has added a new team member. Meet Carlos Smiley. He has been an important figure in the government contracting world. He brings a background as a government contracting insider and a community leader. Learn more about him and see how his expertise can help your business grow in the government market.

    Join us on June 9th at 6pm, Tuesday for this class which he will be teaching.

    Behind the Veil: What Happens After the Submission of Your Proposal? www.govassociation.org/events

  • 07 Apr 2020 10:00 AM | Deleted user

    Business Fundamentals

    As a fellow business owner, I know a few things about you.

    1. You are a leader, not a follower. If the pack is going right, then you are probably going left,

    2. You tend to like things done “your way”. I mean, who can blame you since you ARE right most of the time ,

    3. You are a bit of a risk taker. How else do you explain taking the leap and starting your own business?

    I know all of this because I am you. I’m a business owner myself so I know how we think. And though the above qualities make us bold and tenacious business people, they don’t always make for great operations people. So, here’s some straight talk. Get your business act together.

    I work with business owners all of the time who want to grow their business with federal, state, local or corporate contracts. When I talk with these businesses about their work and start asking questions to see what certification would help to achieve their goals, I get to see behind the curtain. And sometimes, it’s a real mess! Let me provide a few generic examples.

    I began talking with a prospect in March of 2018 who was asking about 8(a) certification for their business. One of the prerequisites for 8(a) is that the company be in business for 2 years. The company was working and advertising themselves as a business but they were not officially registered nor were they reporting the income as business revenue. I provided them the information they needed to properly register the company; but they were hesitant because they were concerned about what that would do to the history of the “business” – really a side hustle – they’d been running for almost 10 years. Fast forward to today, April 2020, over 2 years later. The business still has not formally organized and therefore doesn’t have the legal documents needed for certification. Lesson # 1: One or two years from now, you’ll wish you started today.

    Another prospect came to me a while ago inquiring about WBE certifications. I talked with the company and was impressed with the work they were doing with some local municipalities. However, I discovered the legal name they were using was for another business one of the owners had. The problem was that the work the company was doing was completely different than the name suggested. It would be like having an accounting firm doing business under the name of XYZ Doggie Daycare. It just doesn’t make sense. Lesson #2: Consistency is key.

    Neither of the companies in the aforementioned examples were bad businesses; they were just missing a foundation. I oftentimes see companies that have no foundation and no structure. The business is being held together with toothpicks and Band-Aids. When I see companies like this, I have to lovingly tell them to get their house in order before I can begin working with them.

    The foundation is the most important part of any building. Without a foundation, the house or building you are in now would eventually collapse. Now it may not happen immediately, but structural issues will inevitably and completely destroy a building. The same is true of the business you are building. Make sure you protect your investment by shoring up the foundation if it’s weak. The clear and consistent message I’ve gotten over the past 9 years of helping businesses is this. Lesson #3: If you don’t treat your business like a business, no one else will.

    Myra Smith Cisse

    Program Manager, Independent Contractor

    Government Contractors Association

  • 31 Mar 2020 7:17 AM | Deleted user

    With unsettling turmoil erupting all around us and every email notice, radio ad, and news report discussing COVID-19, I decided this week to take a different approach for GCA’s weekly blog.

    As a true entrepreneur and planner by nature, I find myself in “Ready to Fix” mode most of the time.  Some of my questions include:  How do I budget all expenses until the end of the month?  What is the next collaboration that my brand should be affiliated with?  How do I stay relevant at such an awkward and uncertain time as this?  I am sure you experience this too.

    Well when it comes to the collaboration question, I find myself grateful to have position my brand to partner with other business owners connected to GCA.  From the education taught to me by the Government Contractors Association, I can honestly say I am better prepared to go after a piece of the pie.  Did you know that the government has ordered over $2 TRILLION dollars to be available to corporations for this outbreak?  Your well may be drying up in the commercial desert so I can’t think of any better time to have your team in position to win government contracts!

    Now for the next few Wednesdays, GCA is hosting a free weekly webinar series at 12 noon EST called, “Navigating the Government Market Through the Coronavirus Pandemic.”  Special guests will share valuable information on how to realign your finances, where to find government forgivable loans for financing, where to find the actual opportunities from the government and so much more.  

    Also mark your calendars for the highly anticipated webinar class set for Friday; April 17th from 1pm to 3pm EST that is going to show you how to win those emergency contracts.  Abe Xiong, founder of GCA and Myra Cisse, international capture manager of Certified Federal Contractors will co-team to educate business owners on steps to prepare the proposals, where to find the bids, get a sample bid sheet, and so much more.  Visit www.govassociation.org/events for more details and to register for all of the events today!

    Pamela A. Hagrris, CFCP

    Membership/Events Coordinator

    With unsettling turmoil erupting all around us and every email notice, radio ad, and
    news report discussing COVID-19, I decided this week to take a different approach
    for GCA’s weekly blog.
    With unsettling turmoil erupting all around us and every email notice, radio ad, and
    news report discussing COVID-19, I decided this week to take a different approach
    for GCA’s weekly blog.
    As a true entrepreneur and planner by nature, I find myself in “Ready to Fix” mode
    most of the time. Some of my questions include: How do I budget all expenses
    until the end of the month? What is the next collaboration that my brand should be
    affiliated with? How do I stay relevant at such an awkward and uncertain time as
    this? I am sure you experience this t
  • 10 Mar 2020 10:00 AM | Deleted user

    All businesses need capital to succeed and there are many sources for business funding. Traditionally, businesses owners turn to banks which are great sources of capital if you meet their requirements and restrictions. Unfortunately, banks seem to favor businesses that do not need money, which is good to know. The best time to develop your banking relationships is when you do not need funding and before you have an emergent need.

    Many business owners self-fund their businesses with savings and credit cards. Some use retirement savings betting on themselves but possibly putting their retirement in jeopardy. Oftentimes a business owner may have their personal and business finances so intertwined that, if their business experiences any financial difficulty, their personal credit begins to suffer. It then becomes difficult for them to get mortgages and personal car loans.

    There are other funding sources, but they can all present challenges for a business owner.

    Funding Source

    • Banks

    • Credit Cards

    • Personal Loan

    • Factoring/Receivables Financing

    • Friends/Family

    • Hard Money


    • Traditional (tough to get funding)

    • Limited usage

    • Needs strong credit score

    • Only available after invoiced

    • Can lose their relationships

    • Requires hard assets for collateral

    When it comes to contracting, many subcontractors could become prime contractors with the right funding support behind them. Many contractors could pursue more contracts if they had the money to get new contracts started. With this in mind, GovBridge Capital, Inc (GBC) was started to offer Mobilization Funding, a funding solution customized for government contractors.

    Mobilization Funding is early stage funding for the startup of you contract. GBC’s Mobilization Funding can be used for project specific payroll, supplies, travel, insurance and other project related expenses. The funding is short-term and is intended to help the contractor get started and stabilized until project payments can sustain the ongoing effort. Each loan is customized to fit the needs of the contractor.

    Contractors can get pre-qualified for Mobilization Funding by going to www.govbridgecapital.com.

  • 03 Mar 2020 10:00 AM | Deleted user

    In honor of Women’s History month, I thought it only fitting to devote today’s newsletter to the ladies.

    Women business owners who wish to compete in the federal marketplace have the SBA’s Women-owned Small Business (WOSB) and Economically Disadvantaged Women-owned Small Business (EDWOSB) Programs at their disposal.  These programs were designed to provide a level playing field where women owned small businesses can compete.  By specifically limiting, or setting aside, certain requirements for competition solely to WOSB’s or EDWOSB’s, the program does just that.  The federal government has a goal in place to award 23% of all federal prime contracting and subcontracting dollars to small businesses.  In addition, the federal government must award 5% of those same prime contracting and subcontracting dollars to women-owned small businesses.

    The WOSB Programs focus on NAICS codes that have been historically underrepresented by women. Some of these industries include: residential construction; apparel accessories and apparel manufacturing; all types of equipment manufacturing; specialized freight trucking; lessors of real estate; professional services; facilities support services; and outpatient care centers.  The aforementioned are but a few of the 83 four-digit NAICS codes identified.  These translate into, literally, hundreds of businesses that are underrepresented by women.  

    This summer, the certification process for WOSB’s and EDWOSB’s will incorporate the changes put forth by Congress in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). These regulations are expected to be published on June 30, 2020 and will go into effect 30 days later. Once these changes take place, women owned businesses can no longer “self-certify” as WOSB or EDWOSB. One must certify either:

     Through an approved third-party entity 1

     Through SBA’s online certification process at certify.sba.gov

    So, what are the next steps if you are a women-owned business and you want a piece of the action? Check out the link to the NAICS codes that have been underrepresented and/or substantially underrepresented by women 2 .  If you happen to be in one of those industries, research the steps to certify yourself as a WOSB or an EDWOSB.  The guidelines and stipulations can be found at the SBA’s website, so read them all carefully to ensure your business qualifies.  Once you’ve done that, contact us.  GCA has a ton of experience helping certified companies prepare themselves for the federal marketplace and find, bid on and win government contracts.

    https://www.sba.gov/federal-contracting/contracting-assistance-programs/women-owned-small-business-federal-contracting-program#section-header-6 – SBA approved third-party certifiers https://www.sba.gov/document/support--qualifying-naics-women-owned-small-business-federal-contracting-program - NAICS Codes applicable to the WOSB Program

  • 25 Feb 2020 10:00 AM | Deleted user

    According to Fundera.com – December 31, 2019, there are 17 facts to know about female entrepreneurs, but today I want to highlight my 5 favorite ones below:

    1. 62% of women entrepreneurs cite their business as their primary source of income.

    2. 64% of new women-owned businesses were started by women of color last year.

    3. Latina women-owned businesses grew more than 87%

    4. 25% of women business owners seek business financing

    5. Female entrepreneurs ask for roughly $35,000 less in business financing than men

    I chose to highlight these statistics because I know there are many individuals (especially non-entrepreneurs) who can find the challenges in these numbers. I personally see the opportunity in them. If more than 60% of women CEOs are able make their business their full-time gig, then that sounds like music to my ears. They have overcome the challenges of being employed by “the man” and can create a bit autonomy for their lives. The fact that only 25% of women business owners seek funding means that 75% of us have learned how to make a dollar stretch to meet the needs of our enterprise. That is a mastery skill that everyone should learn.

    In this climate in America, I don’t believe women get the respect and acknowledgement they deserve in running a successful business. That is why we are hosting the Women Who Win conference on March 19 th . If you see yourself in any of the five statistics above, then my friend, your presence is requested. Join us & you will find yourself among your tribe!

    What You Will Experience:

     Come picture perfect ready! All guests get a free professional headshot taken

     Learn from experienced Women CEOs who are blazing the trail with success

     Sip on mimosas during the various panel discussions & breakout sessions

     Learn about how you can become a Certified Capture Manager

     Discover if your business should be woman-owned certified

     Create new friendships that could lead to new opportunities

     Experience massages from the Good Doctor

     Shop in the Marketplace

    Visit www.womenwhowinconference.com. You won’t be disappointed. 

    Success or failure in business ownership is all about mindset. I never see what I lack in any opportunity and therefore I gauge my personal and business successes by my own desires to challenge myself to strive for more. Join.

  • 18 Feb 2020 10:00 AM | Deleted user

    Unlike most Asian men, I didn’t marry within my own race. I fell in love with a beautiful Nubian queen from Grand Rapids, Michigan. We met at church and our friendship blossomed into an unlikely romance. Seventeen years later, we have two beautiful teenagers.

    As the father of black teenagers, I often think as to how I can make their generation a little better than the one I was born into. They will face different challenges than I did. What can I do to inspire them and to empower the African American Community? 

    It is mainly with this mindset as to why I founded the Government Contractors Association (GCA). Each year, there are over $500 billion in government contracting opportunities, yet less than 5% are awarded to the Black small business community. GCA’s vision is to “create access.” We want to open doors for disadvantaged entrepreneurs to have more access to government contracting dollars. 

    I firmly believe that the greatest voting power any person or community can have is the power to vote with our money. When we spend a dollar bill, we are deploying one George Washington to work on our behest. When we spend a $100 bill, that is 100 Benjamin Franklins carrying out our mission. 

    My work with GCA, as a small business advocate, is my way of following in the footprint of a little-known giant in the African American community. So, in honor of Black History month, I have a question to everyone, who is Parren J. Mitchell?

    The power to give access to billions of federal dollars was given to the African American community largely by Congressman Parren Mitchell. But before I get into that… let’s take a quick look at who he is.


    Parren James Mitchell was born on April 29, 1922 in Baltimore, Maryland.  His parents were of humble beginnings. His father, Clarence M. Mitchell, Sr., was a waiter, and his mother, Elsie Davis Mitchell, was a homemaker.

    As a young man, Parren Mitchell served as an officer in the 92nd Infantry Division during World War II and was wounded in Italy. He returned as a war hero and received the Purple Heart medal for jumping on a live grenade to save the lives of three other soldiers. His selfless effort should have merited a Silver Star or Medal of Honor, but Blacks could not receive such medals at that time.

    In 1950, Parren Mitchell applied to graduate school at the University of Maryland, the President of the College Park campus rebuffed him by saying it was "inadvisable for Blacks to attend the College Park campus." Mitchell and the NAACP sued for admission and prevailed becoming the first African American to receive a post graduate degree from the main campus of the University of Maryland. He was a champion of civil rights and led local activists during the civil rights era. Today, the University of Maryland graduates more African Americans per year than any other state university system in the nation. This was the start of his long productive life in fighting for the underserved communities.  

    In 1968, Mitchell decided to run for Congress and challenged nine-term Democratic incumbent Samuel Friedel in the Democratic primary and lost. He sought a rematch in 1970, and this time he narrowly defeated Friedel by only 38 votes. He won the general election in November, becoming the first African American to represent the state of Maryland in Congress. 

    Mitchell was one of the 13 founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), playing a significant role in crafting the identity of the new organization. As of 2019, CBC has 55 members. 

    During his sixteen years in Congress, he served on multiple committees, among them, he was Chairman of the House Small Business Committee. Through this committee and as chair to the Congressional Black Caucus he won a reputation as a staunch supporter of black-owned businesses. In 1978, Public Law 95-507 created a pilot program for contracts to be set-aside to socially disadvantaged businesses, which Black-owned firms would fall under. Because of this, Mitchell has been called the father of the federal set-aside program, allowing ten percent of federal business contracts to be awarded to minority owned businesses. 

    It is this landmark legislation which paved the way for today’s 8(a) Program and every other small business program. “I worked very hard in Congress to get laws on the books to benefit minority business,” Mitchell told Sonny Goldreich in the Baltimore Business Journal. “Everywhere I speak, I say, ‘This is the second phase of the civil rights movement. We cannot expect to be full-fledged citizens until we fully participate in the economy.’”

    A Brief History of the 8(a) Program

    To fully appreciate the magnitude of Parren Mitchell’s impact in society, we’ll need to better understand the 8(a) Business Development Program. The 8(a) Program allows for minority business owners with control of 51% or more of a small business to obtain admission as a certified 8(a) company. Through this certification, 8(a) companies can win set-aside contracts which other non-8(a) companies are excluded from. The greatest benefit of the 8(a) certification is Sole Source Contracts (SSC). Sole Source Contracts are direct award projects to one company. There is no bidding or a competitive procurement process. It is awarded purely on the capabilities of the company and the trust from the contracting officer. Most importantly, SSC’s have a high ceiling of $4 million. A certified 8(a) company can receive a direct award up to $4 million without having to compete with any other companies.

    Below is a brief history of the 8(a) Program.

    The creation of the current 8(a) Program evolved through multiple stages. It’s genesis rests in the cradle of World War II. In 1942, Congress first authorized a federal agency to enter into prime contracts with other agencies and subcontract with small businesses. This was to support the procurement of goods and services to support the war efforts from small businesses which often didn’t understand procurement regulations and policies. This agency was called Smaller War Plants Corporation (SWPC). The SWPC’s subcontracting authority expired along with the SWPC at the end of the World War II. 

    In 1951, at the start of the Korean War, Congress created the Small Defense Plants Administration (SDPA), given the same powers that the SWPC.  In 1953, Congress transferred the SDPA’s subcontracting authorities to the newly created SBA, with the intent that the SBA would exercise these powers in peacetime, as well as in wartime.

    When the Small Business Act of 1958 transformed the SBA into a permanent agency, the authority of subcontracting small businesses to the SBA acting as the prime was included in Section 8(a) of the act, thus the name, 8(a) Certification Program.

    In 1967, Presidents Lyndon Johnson created the President’s Test Cities Program (PTCP), which involved a small-scale use of the SBA’s authority under Section 8(a) to award contracts to firms willing to locate in urban areas and hire unemployed individuals, largely African Americans, or sponsor minority-owned businesses by providing capital or management assistance. However, under the PTCP, small businesses did not have to be minority-owned to receive subcontracts under Section 8(a).

    In 1968, the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Program was enhanced to allow for federal purchases from socially or economically disadvantaged owners of small businesses. However, the 8(a) Program was not effective and rarely utilized. The SBA mainly focused on supporting loans and not contracting. 

    On March 5th, 1969, President Richard Nixon, with advice from Robert J. Brown, established the Office of Minority Business Enterprise. Today, it has transformed to become the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). 

    In 1977, The Public Works Employment Act as amended by Congressman Parren J. Mitchell required that 10% of each Federal Construction project be awarded to minority businesses. This set the stage for the use of set-aside programs.

    In 1978, Public Law 95-507 mandated that bidders for federal contracts in excess of $500,000 for goods and services and $1,000,000 for construction must submit a small business utilization plan which includes percentage goals for minority businesses. Today, large firms have taken this cue and formed diversity programs and small business programs.

    Also, in 1978, Congress amended the Small Business Act to give the SBA express statutory authority to support subcontracting with social and economically disadvantaged firms, which specifically include Black owned businesses and other minority owned businesses.  

    The Father of the 8(a) Program.

    Many hands went into the establishment of set-asides and the 8(a) Program, but no other had a louder voice and more profound effort to see that contracting dollars were set-aside to the Black community. As a Congressman, Parren Mitchell aggressively insisted that the billions of federal contracts be made accessible to Black owned companies. 

    It is through these and many other legislations which Parren Mitchell fought for that I dubbed him with the moniker as the “Father of the 8(a) Program.” He is a GIANT through the countless regulations which he sponsored and supported. Parren Mitchell’s service in Congress paved the way for the most powerful entrepreneurial program for the Black community and other socially disadvantaged groups. Every small business program which came after owes its roots to Parren Mitchell. 

    Set-aside programs, sole source contracts, minority certifications, women business enterprise programs, Alaskan and Tribally owned corporations, Vet First contracting initiatives, Ability One, HUBzone certification, DBE, MBE, WBE, diversity programs and many other such small business initiatives can be traced to the work which Parren Mitchell and his peers fought for. 

    For the magnitude of impact which Parren Mitchell has accomplished, he is an unsung hero in the annals of American history and in the Black community. Very few people know who he is or the impact he has made. So are the entrepreneurs who he has helped. They are the millionaires next door. They quietly go about their business of providing value and services to government agencies. They grow their companies from a few employees to millions in revenue and in some cases, billions in revenue. 


    Through the groundwork which Parren Mitchell initiated and laid, Secretary of HUD Alphonso Jackson often says, 

    “There is no other program that has produced more Black millionaires in this nation than the 8(a) program.”

    As an example, one of the most successful 8(a) Program graduate is World Wide Technology, Inc. WWT was founded by Dave Steward and has grown from a few staff to over 4,000 employees. WWT made Fortune’s 2018 “100 Best Companies to Work For” list. Additionally, WWT appeared on the 2018 “Best Workplace in Technology” list by Great Place to Work and Forbes’ Largest Private Companies list. WWT has an estimated revenue of $11 billion annually. Celebrity Net worth ranked Dave Steward as the 2nd richest Black man in the US, with a net worth of $4 billion, higher than:

    • Oprah Winfrey: $2.8 billion

    • Michael Jordan: $1.9 billion

    • JayZ: $1 billion

    • Tyler Perry: $600 million

    • Denzel Washington: $220 million

    In comparison, think about what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did for civil rights and social justice. Think about how Oprah Winfrey changed the landscape of media and entertainment. Think about what Jackie Robinson did for professional sports. That is what Congressman Parren Mitchell did for small businesses and economic justice. He is an unrecognized hero for the magnitude of impact which he has made.


    Let’s do a quick economic impact comparison to other industries.

    This chart compares the set-aside program which Mitchell fought for with other industries.

    The 8(a) Program has 6,000 companies. These companies won approximately $25 billion in contracts annually. All companies in federal set-aside programs, such as WOSB, HUBZone or SDVOSB, won a total of $44 billion in contracts. (Source: usaspending.gov)

    National Football League (NFL):

    32 teams x 53 man roster = 1696 total players

    68% or 1153 NFL Players are African American

    Estimated Total NFL Salary: $6 billion x 68% = $4 billion going to African American Players

    Hip-hop/Rap Music:

    In 2017, Goldman Sachs reported that R&B and hip-hop lead the music industry with live music streaming, publishing and recorded songs with an estimated $26 billion in revenue. 


    It seems that we’ve come a long way from the bus boycott and civil rights marches of the 1960’s, but upon deeper reflection, those who marched back then knew that ending segregationist laws in the South would be just the first step in the long journey for true equality.

    Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, “The first phase had been a struggle to treat the Negro with a degree of decency, not of equality.” He further explained during the last few years of his life that “I have felt my dreams falter as I have traveled through the rat-infested slums of our big city ghettos and watched our jobless and hopeless poor sweltering in an air-tight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society.” 

    It is with this thought that King and other activists in the black freedom struggle came together to support an economic proposal. This initiative was a unified vision from King, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture), and the NAACP. From this dream to bridge the nation’s racial inequality through economic equality, the Freedom Budget emerged in 1967.

    In 1968, the Poor People's Campaign, or Poor People's March on Washington was organized by Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Later that year, on April 4, 1968, Dr. King would be assassinated, and Ralph Abernathy led the march with 3,000 people in Washington.  The Poor People’s Campaign ended shortly after King’s death along with the economic demands of the second phase of the civil rights movement.

    However, when Parren Mitchell was elected to Congress, he took on this mantle to use legislations, instead of marches, to create economic equality. He sponsored 241 bills and co-sponsored 3,863 bills. Mitchell remarked, “If this democracy should ever fail it will come from within because of the enormous disparity between the rich and the poor.” 

    On May 28, 2007, the Honorable Parren J. Mitchell passed away.  He left behind a legacy of legislative work which empowered the “second phase of the civil rights movement.” If Martin Luther King, Jr. is akin to a Moses figure, then Parren Mitchell is akin to Joshua.  

    Today, some of us may feel that we’re living in the promised land, but we’re far from the promise of economic equality. In terms of Black wealth compared to White wealth, the median family wealth for white people is $171,000, compared with just $17,600 for Black people. According to the Economic Policy Institute, 19 percent of Black households have zero or negative net worth.

    Who will be the torch bearers of King and Mitchell? Who will fight tenaciously for Black economic empowerment? Who will move the second phase of the civil rights movement to become a dream realized?  

    Congressman Parren J. Mitchell opened the door to make our generation a little better. We must carry on the struggle more diligently so that the next generation may realize what our current generation does not have. 

    "If you believe in fighting racism, you make a commitment for the rest of your life.  There's no getting off that train.  You can't say I've put five years in fighting racism and now I'm finished.  No, you are not finished.  Our job is to fight it every day, to continue to shove it down and when it rises up to shove it down even harder."    

    - Parren J. Mitchell, 1922 - 2007


    Abraham Xiong is President of Government Contractors Association, Inc., a professional association dedicated to supporting businesses in the contracting market.  He is a social entrepreneur, a business coach, and an avid advocate for small and disadvantaged businesses. 

    Mr. Xiong is the Co-Founder of the software program called www.GovGenie.com which is a full-life cycle government contracting tool. 

    Copyright © 2021 All Rights Reserved GCA and GovGenie.com















  • 11 Feb 2020 10:00 AM | Deleted user

    In the retail business, it is said that it’s about 3 words… “Location, Location, Location.” Well, in the government market, the same is true. It also about 3 words, but a slightly different word. Government contracting is about… “Relationship, Relationship, Relationship.”

    So, why is a relationship so important in the government market? How do you go about finding those relationships and how do you nurture them?

    For small businesses, relationship is king in the government market for two main reasons, Set-Asides and Sole Source Contracts. To receive these types of contracts depends on how strong your relationship is with a contracting officer or a program manager.

    It is said that building a relationship in the government market is about "KLT".

    K = Know

    L = Like

    T = Trust

    Old Standard:

    "It’s not what you know but who you know."

    New Standard:

    "It's not what you know or who you know, but who knows you back."

    You can know people, but until they know, like and trust you, there will be very little business opportunities.

    Keep in mind that the government is risk averse. They don’t like taking risks. They want to entrust a project to a company that they believe will do the work correctly and in a timely manner. This is called being responsible and responsive or R&R. When you foster a relationship where there is KLT and can demonstrate R&R, the contracting officer will be open to sole sourcing a contract to your business.

    There are six types of relationships which you must build to maximize your chances of success in the government market.

    As a vendor or contractor in the government market, you must fully understand these types of relationships and how they work together:

    1) END USER: The agency is the end user. They’re often called the client. This could be the department director, the program manager, a supervisor, or someone who has a need in the agency. When an end user needs something, they have very little contracting authority. They have a need and the budget to purchase a product or service, but they don’t have the ability to bind the government into a contractual relationship with a contractor. This is where the next type of relationship comes in.

    2) CONTRACTING OFFICE: The contracting office acts as the buyer for the agency or the end user. They are made up of contracting officers or KOs. They must understand procurement rules and regulations. Often, these professionals must attend Defense Acquisition University to learn how to buy on behalf of agencies. This can be years of training before they can have contracting authority to handle millions or billions in contracts. KOs understand the F.A.R. or federal acquisition regulation. This is the contracting Bible. GSA is a great example of a contracting office which buys on behalf of agencies. Below are different roles and titles:

    a. CO = Contracting Officer

    b. KO = Contracting Officer

    c. PCO = Procurement C.O.

    d. TCO = Termination C.O.

    e. ACO = Administrative C.O.

    f. C.S. = Contracting Specialist

    g. COR = Contracting Officer Representative

    h. COTR = C.O. Technical Representative

    i. FPO = Federal Project Officer

    j. GSA = General Service Administration

    k. DLA = Defense Logistics Agency

    3) SMALL BUSINESS ADVOCATES: The Small Business Advocate or Specialist (SBS) is the arm of the government which engages with small businesses to help them work with their agency. They often do outreach events, matchmaking events, industry days or small business connection events. There are multiple names which they go by:

    a. OSDBU = Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization.

    b. OSBP = Office of Small Business Programs

    c. SBA B.O.S. = Business Opportunity Specialist

    d. SADBUS = Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization Specialist

    e. Others….

    4) LARGE/PRIMES: Large companies are often prime contract holders. Generally, large primes are required to subcontract 35% of projects over $750,000 to small businesses. This requirement is part of their small business program which indicates how they intend to utilize small businesses. When a large prime submits a proposal, it must include a small business plan. This plan is managed by the Small Business Liaison Officer or SBLO. This person may go by other titles, such as diversity manager or subcontracting manager. A great approach is to subcontract, enter into a teaming, joint venture, or mentor protégé relationship.

    5) SMALL BUSINESSES: Approximately 70% of government projects require two or more companies to perform on the project. An effective strategy is to team up with other certified small businesses. Finding and building a close relationship with certified companies that have certifications such as WOSB, SDVOSB, 8a, HUBZone, Section 3, VOSB, WBE, DBE, MBE, or other types of certifications will be useful. Certain agencies have a preference of which contracting vehicles or certifications they like to utilize. Search for companies in parallel industries with similar goals, ethics, vision, or mission. Cooperating with your competitors is a good approach to adding capabilities to your company without adding the overhead.

    6) GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT: The ultimate goal is to build a strong government contracting team or a department. This team includes in-house roles and outsourced support. In the early stages, one person may wear many hats, but as your team matures, you’ll need to fill all these positions:

    a. Proposal writer

    b. Capture Manager/Relationship manager

    c. Contracting Specialist

    d. Research team/Opportunity sourcing

    e. Cost estimator/CPA, Admin.

    Often, you may consider hiring a former KO, consulting firm, or ex-military officer to help you build your government team.

    The above are the 6 key relationships which you want to know. The more intimately you get familiar with each type, the greater your chance of success.


    Abraham Xiong is President of Government Contractors Association, Inc., a professional association dedicated to supporting businesses in the contracting market. He is a social entrepreneur, a business coach, and an avid advocate for small and disadvantaged businesses.

    Mr. Xiong is the Co-Founder of the software program called www.GovGenie.com which is a full-life cycle government contracting tool.

  • 28 Jan 2020 10:00 AM | Deleted user

    Growing Cross-Country-Introducing GCA Northwest

    The one consistent reason businesses join the Government Contractors Association is to grow their businesses. To date, GCA has helped its members win more than $900M in government contracts and those are just the wins we know about. GCA has created an ecosystem with service providers and business professionals to help contractors win government contracts.

    GCA’s mission is to educate, facilitate and to advocate for SMBs in government contracting. Towards that end, GCA is pleased to announce the launch of its new GCA Northwest Chapter to be located in Washington State. Contractors in and around Tacoma WA are invited to come and meet the GCA NW chapter leaders Kenn Rivers and Dan xxxxxon February 22, 2020, at xxxxxxxxxxxx. The GCA NW Chapter will extend GCA’s mission to the Pacific Northwest providing education and services to help businesses grow in the government space.

    GCA is looking forward to welcoming new GCA NW Chapter members to the family. Come and take advantage of all of GCA’s tools, education and resources. Kenn and Dan are very experienced in the government space and are GCA trained Certified Capture Managers. GCA is confident that they will serve contractors in the Pacific Northwest well.

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