Fairfax County E-Bird newsletter for Jan. 12, 2021

Another PPP round: The U.S. Small Business Administration reopened the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), its forgivable loan program for new borrowers, and second rounds for certain existing borrowers. Initially, community financial institutions – including banks and credit unions that lend in low-income communities — are able to offer PPP loans. Applications from first-time borrowers began yesterday, January 11, and the institutions can accept second-round PPP loans starting tomorrow, January 13. The program will reopen to all participating lenders soon, the SBA said. Congress authorized up to $284 billion toward the loans as part of its Covid-19 relief act near the end of 2020. CNBC has more. And check out this useful article from Inc.: Don’t Miss Out on the Next Round of PPP Funding.

Investing in Virginia’s growth: Herndon-based Center for Innovative Technology opened the application process for $7 million in grant funds from its new Commonwealth Commercialization Fund, focused on promoting innovation and technology commercialization initiatives. Started six months ago, this round will provide grants up to $100,000 to support companies’ commercialization and market-entry goals. The funding can be used for product or service development, market research, intellectual property protection, marketing and pilots. Target sectors include agriculture and environmental technologies, autonomous systems, clean energy, cybersecurity, data science and analytics, life and health sciences and space and satellites. Find out more in Virginia Business.

A jaw-some dream come true: When 2020 upended Nahum Jeannot’s plans for on-the-go breakfast startup GoOats, he got his big break. The Fairfax County entrepreneur pitched his business on ABC’s “Shark Tank” in the episode that aired October 23 and saw him score a deal with Barbara Corcoran: $150,000 in exchange for a 20 percent equity stake. Find out more in the Washington Business Journal and the Connection Newspapers. “Fairfax County and Northern Virginia have developed a great ecosystem for startups: many people like Nahum with an entrepreneurial spirit, amazing market opportunities in the private and public sectors, and a lot of organizations such as ours that provide resources to counsel and support entrepreneurs so they can see their dream come true here,” said Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the FCEDA. And you can see an interview with Jeannot during the virtual “Entrepreneurship 101: Starting a Business in Fairfax County” workshop that runs from 10-11:15 a.m. today. Click here to register for the workshop.

AI and the Dragon Lady: Tysons-headquartered Booz Allen Hamilton demoed the use of an in-flight artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm for the Air Force Air Combat Command’s 9th Reconnaissance Wing U-2 Federal Laboratory. It marks the first time that a pilot teamed up with AI to successfully complete a “complex mission,” according to Booz Allen. “Together, our Air Force and Booz Allen U-2 Federal Lab teams successfully operationalized artificial intelligence, enabling the AI to emulate control of sensor systems on a U-2 Dragon Lady in a training flight, marking one of the first known uses of AI on board a U.S. military aircraft,” according to Jesse I. Angle, Booz Allen senior lead technologist. Virginia Business piloted this story.

Vibrent COVID data collaboration: Fairfax health-data firm Vibrent Health is joining forces with Fairfax-based George Mason University and the Norfolk-based Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS)-Sentara Healthcare Analytics and Delivery Science Institute (HADSI) to launch a national study looking at the current and future impact of the COVID-19 health emergency on individuals, families and communities. Focusing on diverse populations affected disproportionately by the pandemic, the study aims to give public health policy leaders the data and insight needed to identify the communities most dramatically affected by Covid-19, reported the Washington Business Journal.

Possible French connection: Tysons-based Fortune 500 IT services company DXC Technology received an unsolicited bid from French information technology company Atos to buy all of the company’s shares. DXC Technology has 138,000 employees worldwide and last year had revenues of more than $21 billion. Atos employs 110,000 people and has annual revenues of more than the equivalent of $14 billion. Stay tuned… DXC will evaluate the proposal, according to a company statement. Virginia Business provided the update.

And a done deal with France: France will procure an updated variant of Falls Church area-based Northrop Grumman‘s airborne command and control aircraft platform from the U.S. Navy for about $2 billion. The French navy will be the second foreign buyer, following Japan, of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye and will replace the service’s three E-2C Hawkeye units through the government-to-government procurement effort, Naval Air Systems Command said. Visit GovConWire for more, mesdames et messieurs.

Getting up and running: Australian space company Electro Optic Systems Holdings (EOS) recently formed a wholly owned arm SpaceLink in McLean, with David Bettinger, former vice president of Tysons-headquartered OneWeb as the CEO. In this interview with Via Satellite, Bettinger talks about SpaceLink’s plans, and how the company will establish a constellation of three satellites in Medium-Earth Orbit (MEO) to help Earth Observation (EO) and other sensing satellites in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) improve data download. “We have a very strong management team that we’ll be announcing. We have people already working on business development and we have a pipeline of over 240 potential customers,” Bettinger said.

Intelligence acquisition: Colorado Springs-based Vectrus, which has Alexandria and Reston locations,  acquired Springfield-based HHB Systems, a provider of high-end solutions for facilities management in support of support of intelligence community projects. The acquisition “creates a stronger platform from which we can deliver fully converged solutions across all our clients’ missions,” said Sue Deagle, senior vice president and chief growth officer of Vectrus, reported WashingtonExec.

Doubling up: Fairfax-based federal technology company Axiologic Solutions acquired Herndon-based intelligence services firm Knowledge Link. It is Axiologic’s first acquisition and will nearly double the size of Axiologic. “Through the combination of Axiologic and Knowledge Link, we’ll be creating an even stronger, broader range of technology, financial and program management solutions for classified environments,” Axiologic Solutions co-founder and managing partner Tom Stauber said, Intelligence Community News reported.

Strong margin: Fairfax-headquartered MarginEdge, whose software digitizes bookkeeping for its restaurant customers, raised $4 million. The new round of capital brought the tech company’s total funding since 2015 to more than $15 million, after it suffered a hard hit from the pandemic that continues to strain the restaurant industry. Find out more in the Washington Business Journal, which included MarginEdge in a “Startups to Watch” round-up article.

Engineering a transaction: Reston-based civil engineering and surveying firm Wiles Mensch has sold off its federal projects division, which now operates as Sorba Engineering, an independent company. Sorba Engineering, a Reston-based woman-owned small business, employs 12 engineers and technical specialists and has 40 active projects in the Washington, D.C., area. Its portfolio includes the Smithsonian Institution’s renovation of the Historic Core in Washington; the renovation of the historic chancery at the U.S. Embassy in Athens for the U.S. Department of State; the new Wall of Remembrance at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington for the National Park Service, among others, according to Virginia Business.

Let the good times roll: Bowling alley operator Bowlero, based in New York City, plans to open its fifth location in Greater Washington this November at Tysons Galleria. Bowlero will take part of the Macy’s department store that shuttered in May 2019 and is being divided into multiple storefronts. It will occupy nearly 40,000 square feet on the first floor of the three-story building, the Washington Business Journal reported.

I’d rather be skiing…in Lorton: McLean-based Alpine-X is doing site-testing and analysis of its proposal to build on an indoor skiing facility in Lorton just off Interstate 95 overlooking the Occoquan Bay. The indoor ski slope— which is planned to be the longest indoor slope in the country at 1,700 feet long and 280 feet high—serving as the centerpiece of the 450,000-square-foot development, and include multiple ski runs, a sky bar and event facility at the summit, a 100-plusroom hotel at the base, multiple restaurants and a tubing slope. “The developers see that there is a great regional demand for this sort of indoor skiing facility, from Philadelphia down past Richmond,” said Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the FCEDA. “We are after a lot of young workers in this area right now [for Amazon], and we view this as a real family asset for the D.C. region.” Northern Virginia Magazine warmed up to the topic.

Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

ECS won a five-year, $28.8 million contract from the Marine Corps Department of Manpower and Reserve Affairs to provide IT service and support. WashingtonExec

BlackSky won a contract from the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity for a research program that will work to automate analysis of satellite imagery. Intelligence Community News

Featured business events

January 12, 10 a.m. to  11:15 a.m. ET– Entrepreneurship 101: Starting a Business in Fairfax County. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD), the Community Business Partnership (CBP) and the Small Business Administration (SBA), conducts a free webinar for those persons that are interested in starting a business in Fairfax County.  This session’s Entrepreneurial Spotlight will feature Nahum Jeannot, founder and owner of GoOats.  Click here to register.

January 13 — Insight Region Briefing: Unequal Burden, low-income Northern Virginians face the country’s most severe housing cost burden. The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia presents a webinar that will examine economic opportunity throughout Northern Virginia. Click here to register.

January 23-February 18 — Smart City Challenge. Smart City Works, Refraction, Fairfax County, Girls in Tech DC, The Universities at Shady Grove, and Virginia Tech will host the first annual Smart City Challenge. The Smart City Challenge is an innovation competition, in which teams create high-impact solutions to address the toughest smart city challenges in sectors including housing, transportation, health, broadband, energy, education, water, infrastructure, and public safety. Click here to register.

January 27, February 3, February 10 — Air & Space Innovation webinar series. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority is hosting a three-part international webinar series focused on the latest technologies in aviation and space for commercial and defense applications. On day 1 of the series (Jan. 27), the focus will be: “Air Innovation: Flying Cars, Drones & Unmanned Air Systems;” on day 2 (Feb. 3): “Space Innovation, Novel Communications and Expeditions;” and on day 3 (Feb. 10): “Defense Innovation in Air & Space.” Click here to register.

January 28 — Cyber+Cloud Virtual Career Fair. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority presents this virtual hiring event with 20+ companies for professionals in the IT, cyber and cloud industries. It is open to all experience levels. Job-seekers with security clearances are encouraged to attend. Click here for more information and to register.

How the Fairfax County EDA can help

The FCEDA is here to connect businesses of all kinds to resources and information. Visit the FCEDA’s Covid-19 Business Resource Hub for up-to-date information. For direct assistance, email the FCEDA at info@fceda.org, or call 703-790-0600 to leave a voice message for our staff. And click here for resources available in the other nine jurisdictions that make up the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance.

Virginia sets up new statewide measures to contain COVID-19

The following measures took effect on December 14 in Virginia to contain the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19:

  • Modified Stay at Home Order: All individuals in Virginia must remain at their place of residence between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. Exceptions include obtaining food and goods, traveling to and from work, and seeking medical attention.
  • Universal mask requirement: All Virginians aged five and over are required to wear face coverings in indoor settings shared with others and when outdoors within six feet of another person. This order expands the current statewide mask mandate, which has been in place since May 29, and requires all individuals aged five and over to wear face coverings in indoor and outdoor public settings outside of their own household. These changes are consistent with new CDC guidelines, released December 4, which recommend universal wearing of face coverings.
  • Reduction in social gatherings: All social gatherings must be limited to 10 individuals, down from the current cap of 25 people. Social gatherings include, but are not limited to, parties, celebrations, or other social events, regardless of whether they occur indoors or outdoors. This does not apply to religious services, employment settings, or educational settings. Restaurants and retail stores are already governed by strict social distancing requirements, and are not included in this limit.
  • Continued limits on dining establishments: Virginia restaurants are currently governed by strict social distancing and sanitization requirements, which remain in place. The on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol remains prohibited after 10:00 p.m. in any restaurant, dining establishment, food court, brewery, microbrewery, distillery, winery, or tasting room. All restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms must close by midnight.
  • Teleworking: Employees that can telework are strongly encouraged to do so.

Find out more by clicking here.