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Get Started: House OKs small business contract legislation

CONTRACTING HELP

The House has passed and sent to the Senate legislation aimed at increasing contracting opportunities for small businesses.

The legislation is part of the National Defence Authorization Act, which would fund the Defence Department for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. In recent years, lawmakers have attached small business contracting bills to Pentagon spending legislation.

One provision in the current bill would require government agency employees to increase opportunities for small businesses to be prime contractors. Prime contractors are awarded contracts and then search for subcontractors to help do the required work. Under the legislation, if an agency employee believes small businesses aren’t suitable candidates for a contract, the employee must recommend alternatives to make more prime contracts available to small companies.

Another provision would require the head of the small Business Administration to provide to Congress examples of prime contractors who failed to make good faith efforts to award subcontracts to small businesses. Lawmakers and small business groups have contended for years that large companies don’t comply with federal laws requiring them to use small business subcontractors.

HELP FOR VETERAN ENTREPRENEURS

The Small Business Administration has funded six centres to give training and mentoring to veterans and their spouses who want to start a business. The six new centres bring to 19 the number of Veterans Business Outreach Centers in the country. The centres are located at:

—Centre for Women & Enterprise, Providence, Rhode Island

— University of Hawaii, Honolulu

—Georgia Southern University Research & Services Foundation, Statesboro, Georgia

—Cochise County Community College District, Sierra Vista, Arizona

—University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Texas

—MiraCosta College, Oceanside, California

You can find out more about the SBA’s programs for veterans at www.sba.gov/vets

DON’T DO IT YOURSELF

Many entrepreneurs are classic do-it-yourselfers, shying away from seeking help from fellow business owners, even when they need it. But many owners and consultants advocate in favour of reaching out to peers for advice, brainstorming and even commiserating. SCORE, which offers free advice to small businesses, is sponsoring an online seminar on getting help from peers. It will be held Thursday, June 2 at 1 p.m. Eastern time. Learn more and register at http://tinyurl.com/zuvsor5

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Follow Joyce Rosenberg at www.twitter.com/JoyceMRosenberg . Her work can be found here: http://bigstory.ap.org/content/joyce-m-rosenberg