Get Started: Gov't contracts, Superstorm Sandy aid

NEW YORK (AP) — CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTING BILLS

Small businesses in the construction industry would have an easier time bidding for federal contracts under bills introduced by members of the House Small Business Committee.

One bill, the Design Build Efficiency and Jobs Act, would require federal agencies to use a two-step bidding process that will lower the cost of putting together a bid for a design or construction contract. In the first step, small businesses would submit their technical qualifications to an agency. If they passed the first step, they could then put together a complete bid. The House committee noted in a news release that the cost of bidding can exceed 3 percent, which could prevent many small businesses from submitting bids.

The second bill, the Commonsense Construction Contracting Act, prohibits the use of what are called reverse auctions when a construction services contract is suitable for a small business, or when the contract is made using a small business program. In reverse auctions, companies can keep bidding electronically until the lowest price wins. Sponsors of the bill say that this method of bidding is best suited for contracts to sell commodities, but isn't suited for contracts for construction and design services. They say that reverse bidding also makes it harder for small businesses to compete.

HELPING SMALL BUSINESSES AFTER SANDY

Small business owners in the region hit by Superstorm Sandy can take part in an event in Newark, N.J., aimed at helping them rebuild their companies. The Hurricane Sandy Small Business Recovery and Matchmaking event will bring together small companies and representatives from larger companies and government agencies that have contracts available. The event will also include seminars on how to get loans and contract opportunities. Sponsored by the Small Business Administration and the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, it will be held Aug. 7 at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

You can get information and register for the event at https://nj.mybusinessmatches.com

ONLINE SEMINARS

SCORE, the organization that provides free advice for small businesses, is holding an online seminar about how to engage customers through social media. It will be held at 1 p.m. Eastern time July 30. You can register at http://tinyurl.com/lqtn634

SCORE is also holding a webinar on finding the best idea to start a business with. It will be held at 1 p.m. Eastern time Aug. 1. You can register at http://tinyurl.com/m32n5ur

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