Small Business Administration

After two 20-something sisters lived through a tornado and its aftermath in their Massachusetts hometown last year, they vowed to transform a well-intentioned but unorganized disaster-recovery process.

The resulting online tool,, is now helping local governments and nonprofits coordinate Hurricane Sandy relief efforts through a concept known as “community-powered” recovery. Keep reading →

Jonny Goldstein, a veteran media producer, artist, trainer, and speaker, created the above visual notes for the recent Digital Government: The Transformative Power of Communications, captured and disseminated fittingly via Instagram.

The tweet: “Check out @jonnygoldstein visual notes from (the) #GovD12 event on Digital Government: the power of communications!” captured the sentiment of many that attended this excellent event, which featured the book Little Bets, by Peter Sims and a series of government agency success stories including the following:

  • Small Business Administration – As a result of a campaign focused on government contracting, visits to the SBA government contracting page have jumped 72% since the campaign began — and a 255% increase in traffic to entry-level courses like Government Contracting 101.
  • U.S. Census Bureau – A national campaign to encourage the public to participate in the 2010 Census saved $1.87 billion in taxpayer money. Census also saw more than 175,000 visits to its FAQs, helping to increase the number of subscribers the agency can reach directly.
  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services – In just eight months, CMS has seen more than 850,000 visits to its FAQs, helping to drive an increase of more than 80,000 subscribers to over 2,400 topics.
  • United States National Guard Bureau – NGB was recognized for its excellence in digital communications. It recently won an award for proactively communicating through multiple communication channels to reach the largest possible audience establishing more than 5 million impressions through a dynamic news widget, and communicating its mission and message to 22,000+ blog viewers.
The purpose of this year’s event was to address concrete steps agencies can take to fulfill the objectives of the White House’s Digital Government Strategy:

  • to enable the American people to access high-quality digital government information and services;
  • to insure that government adjusts to a new digital world; and
  • to unlock the power of government data to spur innovation across the nation and improve the quality of services for the American people.
The event’s sponsors provided a Digital Government Strategy checklist as follows: Keep reading →

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Just as the government expands its disaster loan program for businesses hurt by the drought, a new report shows the agency that distributes the loans is letting millions of dollars go unpaid.

As of late last year, taxpayers were owed $171 million for delinquent disaster loans, according to an audit by the inspector general of the Small BusinessAdministration. Keep reading →

Recognizing the importance of small businesses to the government IT community, ACT-IAC sponsored the 6th annual Small Business Conference called ConnectSB: Accelerate and Achive earlier this week. The event focused on the unique needs and benefits of small businesses and also tried to promote the value of small businesses to the government and large corporations seeking small business partners.

A frequent theme of government conferences like these is innovation, which has come to mean doing more (work) with less (federal employees).

But I decided what this conference should actually be called is “doing more (work) with more (talent).”

The idea for the suggestion came during the federal agency workshops part of the conference where attendees got to hear from three of nine leading agencies. I elected to listen to the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security – ICE , and Department of Veterans Affairs. During those sessions individuals from the CIO office, the program office, the acquisition office and the small business office, provided a panel that presented their experience and then answered questions.

Keep reading →

Riding what appears to be a growing groundswell of federal government innovation competitions, the Small Business Administration has awarded a first-place prize of $5,000 to a Silicon Valley software developer for a smartphone or tablet application that lets users quickly find loans, grants, permits and other useful resources for small businesses.

The winner of SBA’s “Apps for Entrepreneurs Challenge,” Somesh Kumar, is the founder of Mobispectra Technologies LLC, a Fremont, Calif., firm that creates applications for smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. The company’s aim is “to embrace innovation and take challenges to solve human problems with simplest technology,” according to its Web site. (The winning SBA app can be downloaded at “SBA Gems” at Keep reading →

Jacob Parcell, GSA’s manager of Mobile Programs, has become the help desk for agencies that want to develop mobile services and communicate with the public using the most innovative technologies available.

Parcell is the point person for 45 federal agencies as they move into a new age of getting their message out on a platform that includes mobile web, SMS and mobile apps. He’s available at any time to troubleshoot problems. Keep reading →

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski (pictured) has appointed David B. Robbins to be the FCC’s new managing director, effective September 12, 2011. He will succeed Steve VanRoekel, who left the agency earlier this year for a post at USAID before being named U.S. chief information officer earlier last month.

Robbins joins the FCC from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), where he served as associate administrator for the Office of Management & Administration, leading a number of the SBA’s core functions, including human capital management, facilities management, security, records management, executive secretariat, administrative services, and grants management, according to an FCC statement. He also served as director of the Loan Management and Accounting Systems Modernization Program. Keep reading →