Dell Technologies

Best States and Cities For Small Businesses

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An online services company that connects businesses with local professionals surveyed 7,500 small business owners nationwide to determine where the best places to start, operate and grow a business for entrepreneurs are. The survey included all industries from A to Z. Ninety four percent of these small businesses had five employees or less.

The business owners’ major priorities to focus on in determining the best places for their businesses included:

•Greater support and focus on small business over large corporations. It is small businesses that are the engine that drive the nation’s economy. Seventy percent of small business entrepreneurs feel that local governments are more interested in attracting and supporting new, large corporations than making the support of small businesses a priority.
•Access to affordable healthcare. This is a policy issue that impacts their ability to be viable and stay in business.
•Rising housing and transportation costs. These costs make it more difficult than ever for small businesses to work where they live and travel to customers. This will impact training for new technologies.

In the survey, participants addressed eight key factors, including the level of support of local governments provide small businesses and the difficulties in beginning a new business for entrepreneurs in various locations. All fifty states were given a grade from A+ to a failing F.

The five states that scored an A+ were:

• South Dakota
• Tennessee
• Alaska
• Michigan
• Utah

California, which is the home of more Veteran Small Businesses than any other state earned a “D” rating, along with Wyoming, Kentucky and New Mexico. The only two states that failed and earned an “F” were Hawaii and Illinois.

Below are some of the ratings from this survey of 7,500 small business entrepreneurs:

State Rating:
South Dakota: A+
Tennessee: A+
Alaska: A+
Michigan: A+
Utah: A+
Georgia: A
Texas: A
South Carolina: A
North Dakota: A-
Maine: A-
Arizona: A-
Alabama: A-
North Carolina: A-
Minnesota: A-
Massachusetts: A-
Arkansas: A-
Idaho: A-
Montana: A-
Indiana: A-
Maryland: B+
Nebraska: B+
Ohio: B
New Hampshire: B
Mississippi: B
Virginia: B
Louisiana: B
Delaware: B-
Iowa: C+
Florida: C+
Colorado: C+
Washington: C+
Kansas: C
Oklahoma: C
Oregon: C
Wisconsin: C
Pennsylvania: C
Nevada: C
Connecticut: C-
Vermont: C-
Missouri: C-
West Virginia: C-
New York: D+
New Jersey: D+
California: D
Wyoming: D
Kentucky: D
New Mexico: D
Rhode Island: D
Hawaii: F
Illinois: F

The Cities that received an A ranking include the following:
Fort Worth, Texas: A+
San Antonio, Texas: A+
Columbus, Ohio: A+
Colorado Springs, Colorado: A+
Jacksonville, Florida: A+
Nashville, Tennessee: A+
Charleston, South Carolina: A
Manchester, New Hampshire: A
Raleigh, North Carolina: A
Charlotte, North Carolina: A-
Salt Lake City, Utah: A-
Minneapolis, Minnesota: A-
Boston, Massachusetts: A-
Atlanta, Georgia: A-
New Orleans, Louisiana: A-

By Debbie Gregory.

The base-model holsters for the Army’s new Modular Handgun System (MHS) will be supplied by Atlantic Diving Supply (ADS). The firm-fixed-price contract for the Modular Handgun Holster came it at $49 million

The holsters will be used with the Modular Handgun System M17 and M18 pistols.

The Sig Sauer M17 handgun is the U.S. Army’s replacement for the aging M9 Beretta, which has been in use since the 1980s. The M18 is a more compact version with a shorter barrel for use by military police investigators and other positions that require a smaller frame.

What began as a local dive shop, ADS grew into a large military equipment supplier by striving to outfit the military and first responders with the most advanced gear and equipment available. According to Bloomberg Government’s annual Federal Industry Leaders report ADS had $1.6 billion worth of federal contracts in 2017, making it the 42nd largest contractor.

The Virginia Beach, VA based company beat out five other companies to secure the contract.

ADS will supply the tan-colored Safariland Group holster that features a dual locking system. The locks can be released with the shooter’s firing hand thumb.

The Army also plans to field a light-compatible holster in the future that will allow soldiers in infantry and other direct-action units to carry the MHS with a weapon light mounted on the pistol’s accessory rail.

The service intends to have soldiers from operational units evaluate both light models. If all goes well, it would then assign each light model with a national stock number so unit commanders could purchase them with unit funds, according to Army officials.

The Army intends to field about 238,000 MHS pistols.

In September 2017, ADS was sued by the US Government for False Claims Act violations, including illegal bid-rigging. The case was settled out of court with ADS paying $16 million.

According to the award announcement, ADS beat out five other companies for the winning bid. Issued through the U.S. Army Contracting Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the contract is expected to run through 2023.


By Debbie Gregory.

Firearms maker Sig Sauer has been awarded a $48 million DoD contract to create a suppressed upper receiver group (SURG) based on its MCX system for the service weapon, an upgrade to the current M4A1 Carbine, a fully automatic version of the M4 Carbine that went into service in 1994.

According to an August 7th release on the SIG SAUER website, its MCX Rifle System outperformed the competition in order to secure the contract.

“The SIG SAUER suppressor withstood the stringent stress and torture requirements set by DoD for firing specifications, vibration, sound, and temperature requirements to ensure soldier safety.”

SOCOM has been developing its requirements for the M4A1 SURG since 2015, the Firearm Blog reports. The SURG upgrades the current M4A1 lower receiver assembly used by SOCOM.

The contract award comes as the Marine Corps continues to pursue suppressed firing capability for many of its infantry troops. Troops who deployed in early 2017 with suppressors  said that the devices, previously reserved for elite units, enabled better battlefield communication and reduced fog-of-war “tunnel vision.”

“The requirements set by DoD for the SURG procurement demanded significant improvements in reliability, thermal characteristics, and durability that went well above anything we are currently seeing in the industry,” said Ron Cohen, Sig’s president and CEO. He continued, “We worked very hard to develop the MCX SURG System to specifically meet and exceed the DoD requirements. I am extremely proud that our hard work paid off, and endured the stringent and demanding military testing requirements, to ultimately gain the confidence of DoD to support their operations in the field.”

Headquartered in Newington, New Hampshire, SIG SAUER is an ISO 9001 certified company with over 1,200 employees that strives to meet the needs of their military, law enforcement and commercial markets worldwide.

The project is expected to be completed by July 2023

Evan Hafer’s Inspiring Veteran Entrepreneur Story

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By Debbie Gregory.

Army Green Beret turned coffee brew master Evan Hafer started Black Rifle Coffee Company to provide a high-quality, roast-to-order, coffee to the pro-2A and veteran communities. Between deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, he was working on refining both his coffee roasting and his firearms skills.

Hafer’s love affair with coffee started 20 years ago. His deployment to Iraq began his roasting career when he catered to the caffeine needs of his fellow servicemembers.  From that passion grew a company that supported Hafer’s missions: to roast great coffee, have a business that allowed him to hire veterans, and the resources to support the causes that he championed.

One of Hafer’s first hires was a soldier who served alongside him in Afghanistan. With 86 employees, 60 percent are veterans. That was a big part of Hafer’s vision.

“It’s not PR – it’s who we are,” Hafer said.

As with many veteran entrepreneurs, Hafer’s time in the Army served him well.

“In the military, you have to push yourself past mental and physical limits, every day to the point where you’re almost desensitized to the work,” he explained. “Now I feel like I have an endless capacity to just always work. The military gave me the context to reach into basically a bottomless well of endurance.”

Black Rifle Coffee Company roasts over a million pounds of coffee per year and grosses over $30 million annually. The company seems to have approached the box, but prefers to stay outside. The company offers a coffee club that allows consumers to get their coffee delivered to their doors. It also offers the chance to win tactical swag and discounts by teaming up with rifle and tactical gear companies such as LaRue, LWRC, Hodge Defense, Vortex Optics, Tactical Tailor, Freedom Group, Readyman and Article 15 clothing. If exclusive Black Rifle Coffee Company swag is what you crave with your coffee, the company has discount codes for that too.

Understanding the New Login Process

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By Debbie Gregory.

The System for Award Management (SAM) is an official website of the U.S. government, and there is no cost to use SAM. You can use this site to:

  • Register to do business with the U.S. government
  • Update or renew your entity registration
  • Check status of an entity registration
  • Search for entity registration and exclusion records

However, there are system-wide changes that you need to be aware of if you’re logging in to SAM online for the first since June 29, 2018.

First of all, if you don’t already have one, you’ll be asked to create a user account. is a service that offers secure and private online access to government programs, such as federal benefits, services, applications, and If you do have an account, you’ll be asked to change your current username and password, as previous ones will no longer work.

If you have a account, check the email address.

If you already have a account, the associated email address must match the email address associated with your account in order to migrate your roles. If the email addresses don’t match, you’ll need to create a new account.

If you don’t have a account, enter an email address. Use the same email address you use for If you don’t currently have a account (are a brand new user, for example), you may use any email address you have access to.

Create a new password.

Pick if you want to receive your one-time security code for authentication via mobile phone, landline, or an app installed on your mobile phone or  computer. Each time you want to log in, you will be required to enter your email address, password, and the one-time security code that you receive.