October 2020 - In This Issue:

The PTAC is a business and technology extension program of the UNC System. Our purpose is to generate employment and improve the general economic condition of the state by assisting North Carolina companies, including those eligible for business development programs for local, state and federal government contracts. We provide procurement technical assistance by offering no-fee and confidential counseling on selling your products and/or services to the appropriate local, state or federal government agency.

Interim PTAC Director 
Elizabeth City / Greenville

PTAC Advisor 
Asheville / Cullowhee

PTAC Advisor 
Raleigh / Chapel Hill / Durham

PTAC Advisor 
Fayetteville / Pembroke
PTAC Advisor/Events Coordinator
Hickory / Boone

PTAC Advisor

PTAC Advisor

PTAC Advisor

Supply Chain Advisor

SBTDC's Strategy and Growth Services blog, Accelerate, helps CEOs of mid-sized companies make business and leadership improvements through helpful insight, resources, and tools.
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The SBTDC's Technology Commercialization Services team provides business counseling to small to mid-sized business owners, university researchers, and entrepreneurs looking to advance their innovations to the marketplace.
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The SBTDC's International Business Development Specialists assists small and mid-sized businesses with export planning and exporting.
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DoD Cybersecurity Requirements Update
Scott Barker, Interim PTAC Director

With the upcoming requirement for those companies wanting to do business with the Department of Defense (DoD) to have a certified cybersecurity process in place in order to be considered for any DoD contracts, the PTAC team here in North Carolina will have two roles.  One, as an advisor to businesses, and another as a federal funding recipient.  In our role as an advisor, we will not be certifying businesses at any Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) level - only assisting companies with their efforts. 

Since we are funded in part by the Defense Logistics Agency, we are considered a Defense Department funding recipient, and will be required ourselves to receive certification at CMMC level 1 just as every other entity who receives DoD funding will be required.  The process to acquire the certification is envisioned to be something similar to the requirement to register in the System for Award Management (SAM) in order to be eligible to win any federal government contracts.

Although this is not a current necessity, it will almost certainly come to pass.  It is anticipated that all PTAC programs throughout the country will begin to acquire their CMMC level 1 certifications starting in the spring of 2021.  After such, the NC PTAC team should be well versed to assist, guide, and direct businesses here in North Carolina to an accreditation body (AB) in order to pursue their CMMC certification.  As mentioned, PTAC will never become a certifying entity, but we will be able to assist our clients with their efforts to acquire certifications in the future. 

If your company currently has a DoD contract, the new CMMC requirement will become required after the current statement of work has been completed.  The entire CMMC certification process will be gradually employed; it is planned to take approximately five years to become fully implemented.  North Carolina PTAC will be here to assist along the way.
PTAC Trivia Question:  
SBA is changing the way women owned small businesses (WOSB) are certified starting this month.  As of today, how many WOSBs are there registered in the state of North Carolina?
HUB Zone Goals 
Scott Barker, Interim PTAC Director

Over the past 10 years, the federal government has consistently fallen short of meeting its annual goals to award federal contracts HUB Zone companies.  As a result, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has begun to implement changes designed to make acquiring the program certification more attractive to small businesses by modifying some of the qualification standards and making the certification slightly easier to maintain.

The principal qualification standards remain basically intact:
  • Be a small business located in a federally recognized HUB Zone
  • At least 35% of employees must reside in a federally recognized HUB Zone
The SBA has frozen the current HUB Zone map until after the results of the 2020 census are known.  Once the new map is released in early 2021, it will thereafter be updated once every five years (as opposed to annually).  Additionally, once companies initially qualify for the certification, it becomes easier to maintain their standing by lessening some of the requirements which in the past have caused companies to be removed from the program such as employees moving or the HUB Zone map changing.
  • Permitting Governors to petition SBA every year to designate rural areas, with populations under 50,000 and unemployment levels of 120% the US or state average, as HUB Zones.
  • Expanding the "Early Engagement Initiative," to increase procurement readiness of firms applying for certification, by mobilizing SBA District Offices, Procurement Center Representatives, Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, Small Business Development Centers, economic development authorities, and chambers of commerce to support prospective HUBZone enterprises with the application process.
The SBA hopes that some of these recent changes will result in a higher number of federal contracts being awarded to HUB Zone companies.  There remains a lot to do to increase the HUB Zone contracts, but these changes are a step in the right direction.

If your company has any questions about the HUB Z one program, please feel free to reach out to one of the PTAC advisors in the state for assistance. 
Success Story 
Tony Verdini - Old Saratoga Water
Scott Barker, Interim PTAC Director
Old Saratoga Water is located just outside of the town of Saratoga in Wilson county which has a population of approximately 400 residents.  The company employs about 40 workers, the vast majority of these from Saratoga.  Tony Verdini has been the president of the business for approximately 7 years and has been able to triple sales of its various Black Creek Aquifer water products since his arrival.  It is anticipating selling over 7 million gallons of water in 2020; this compares to just over 2 million in 2013, and it is expecting to surpass 10 million gallons in 2021 as it expands its water-based product lines.  These increases are the result of good leadership and the hard work of the dedicated employees at Old Saratoga.

The company became a PTAC client back in 2009 but the relationship ended just prior to Mr. Verdini's arrival.  He contacted PTAC in October of 2019, looking for assistance in pursuing government contracting opportunities.  With the assistance of the PTAC office, the company completed its SAM registration and applied for various disaster relief certifications.  Although the company has yet to win a federal government contract yet, it is well poised to become a competitive contractor in the near future.  The company is located in a federal HUB Zone and is anticipating pursuing this certification in 2021.

Old Saratoga is currently also being assisted by a non-profit group that has submitted a $300,000 federal grant proposal on its behalf to expand its operations in order to become a water vendor with the Defense Logistics Agency.  The results of this proposal are expected in a few months.  With or without the approved grant, the company is looking to expand its operations by adding another 100,000 square feet of facility space.

According to Mr. Verdini, the company is actively pursuing contracting opportunities to work with the federal government.  The company is cognizant of the unexpected perils residents may face in the aftermath of a disaster which affects the eastern North Carolina region. In the event home water sources are negatively affected, the company does not look to sell its products.   Rather, it provides water to those in need free of cost until their main water supply can be restored.  

Old Saratoga Water has been a blessing for all residents in Wilson county and should be looked upon as an example whose community commitment is worthy of emulation.
PTAC Trivia Answer:  
According to the Dynamic Small Business Search site, there are 41,284 WOSBs registered in North Carolina.


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