Women’s Government Contracting Forum in Larchmont

Women's Forum

Save The Date
We are working on the idea of a government contracting forum series for women-owned businesses in Larchmont. The series will help women, obtain government contracts at every level of government: school board, local, county, state, and federal.
 
The focus for the first forum on Saturday, May 16th will be how to obtain a contract with the Mamaroneck Union Free School District. Their 2014-2015 budget is $131 million with $429,000 for equipment, $13.5 million for purchased services, and $2.3 million for materials and supplies.
At this forum we will also be exploring how to replicate the DC Central Kitchen model locally to train local people to provide healthy food to local school districts.

One important issue in this process is that millions of GMO Meals are served to our children in American schools each day. These meals also contain food dyes, pesticides, synthetic chemicals and high fructose corn syrup which have been linked to diabetes, autism, food allergies, ADHD and auto immune diseases.

297 scientists and experts have signed a statement saying that GM foods have not been proven safe and that existing research raises concerns.

An article from the Institute for Responsible Technology talks to the issue of serving young people healthy food:

Before the Appleton Wisconsin high school replaced their cafeteria’s processed foods with wholesome, nutritious food, the school was described as out-of-control. There were weapons violations, student disruptions, and a cop on duty full-time. After the change in school meals, the students were calm, focused, and orderly. There were no more weapons violations, and no suicides, expulsions, dropouts, or drug violations. The new diet and improved behavior has lasted for seven years, and now other schools are changing their meal programs with similar results.

I'm not a science experiment

The Mamaroneck Union Free School District has a food services contract with Aramark which is large corporation with $13.95 billion in revenue in 2013. In an article for the Detroit Free Press, Amy McVay, a former Aramark employee, gives an account of her work at the company:

[I]n a[n] interview with the Free Press and in the complaint filed with OSHA through her Detroit attorneys, McVay alleges she was harassed and retaliated against for complaining about a lack of temperature monitoring in cooking; the serving of raw or undercooked meat; falsified records related to dishwater temperature and cleaning solution quality; the serving of meat that had been dropped on the floor; changing the dates on stored leftover food so it could be served after its throw-away date; suspected inflating of the count of meals served — part of the basis for which Aramark is paid by the state — among other issues….

The Aramark contract, which displaced about 370 state employees and is expected to save more than $14 million a year, has been plagued with problems, including meal shortages, unauthorized menu substitutions, sanitation problems, incidents of Aramark employees smuggling in drugs or other contraband, and Aramark workers getting too friendly or engaging in sex acts with inmates. The Free Press, using the Freedom of Information Act and interviews, has documented problems with the contract in a series of exclusive reports.

In future forums we look to focus will be selling biodiesel to school districts and municipalities. 

study from the Natural Resources Defense Council and Coalition for Clean Air shows that children who ride a diesel school bus may be exposed to up to four times more toxic diesel exhaust than someone traveling in a car directly in front of it. It also found that excess exhaust levels on school buses were 23 to 46 times higher than levels considered to be a significant cancer risk according to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency and federal guidelines.

In the future, we also look to focus on how to obtain E-Rate funds to upgrade broadband access:
 

The schools and libraries universal service support program, commonly known as the E-rate program, helps schools and libraries to obtain affordable broadband.

Eligible schools, school districts and libraries may apply individually or as part of a consortium.

E Rate

We will also focus on developing a freestyle chess tournament (see below).
 
 The US government is the world’s largest single purchaser of goods and services, spending just over $535 billion in contracts in fiscal year 2011. This offers a tremendous market opportunity for growth-oriented firms, especially small businesses, as there is a 23% goal for federal spending with small firms, 5% with women-owned firms, and 5% with minority-owned firms.
 
If the federal government is a customer, women-owned businesses are 23 times more likely to be million-dollar businesses.

Our modern world is built on the back of government policy, but most Silicon Valley-types do not acknowledge this legacy.

 

Venture capitalist Peter Thiel is a co-founder of PayPal and the first outsider investor in Facebook. In an essay for CATO Unbound, he wrote:

I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible….

Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women — two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians — have rendered the notion of “capitalist democracy” into an oxymoron.

Peter Thiel was portrayed by Wallace Langham in the film The Social Network and he is also the co-founder and chairman of a company called Palantir. From 2005 to 2008 the CIA was Palantir’s patron and only customer. The NYPD and LAPD [police departments are funded by taxpayers] both use Palantir’s technology to access data obtain with license plate scanners. Palantir didn’t receive its first commercial customer until 2010 when customers at the New York Police Department referred JPMorgan to Palantir. Palantir’s latest round of funding was worth $107.5 million, which valued the company at $9 billion.

Considering the ideas of Peter Thiel, allowing the type of work that is done by Palantir to be dominated by his company is potentially very dangerous. In contrast, research has shown that diversity has the potential to drive innovation:

We refer to companies whose leaders exhibit at least three inherent and three acquired diversity traits as having two-dimensional diversity.

By correlating diversity in leadership with market outcomes as reported by respondents, we learned that companies with 2-D diversity out-innovate and out-perform others.

 
 
To help create the research techniques to challenge companies such as Palantir, we are developing the idea of a Freestyle Chess Tournament as way to explore Garry Kasparov’s ideas of using the decision-making process of chess as a model for understanding and improving our decision-making everywhere else and how we have discarded innovation and creativity in exchange for a steady supply of marketable products. This Freestyle Chess Tournament will be cross-promoted with The Million Jobs Drive and will be featured in a documentary addressing inequity called I Could Be…:

How did America—a country dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal—become one of the most unequal countries on the planet?

One of major points that we will be making in the documentary is that the lack of diversity in both STEM and Chess involves basically the same underlying dynamics. This is suggested by the article, “More Girls in STEM Needs Community Involvement:”

Geniuses are made, not born! What was true with the Polgar sisters and chess is undoubtingly true for STEM and girls in general.

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