Washington Business Report: July 13, 2014

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Passion, not a plan, was what brought Carmine’s boss success

Jeffrey Bank did not have the most direct path in becoming the CEO of Alicart Restaurant Group. He was motivated to get into the food industry after a conversation with a neighbor, whom he admired. The conversation led to him getting his first restaurant gig, one he admits he was not prepared for.

“I had no idea what I was doing. I look back on those days and I don’t know how I didn’t put us under,” he tells Rebecca Cooper in a one-on-one interview.

Now operating restaurants all over the country, Bank talks about what makes Carmine’s a hit, and shares his strategies of dish consistency and family-size meals, which have translated to Carmine’s being one of the most sought-out dinner destinations in the Washington area.

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Tips for winning government contracts

“We have now entered the most important buying season of the year. This quarter, through October, is when the majority of government contracts are awarded,” says Marissa Levin, CEO of Information Experts. “This is the time for small businesses to crank up their sales, marketing, and proposal engines to win work that will sustain them for the year – or longer.”

Levin, a small business expert, says her company has lived through government contracting for 20 years. She says, “As you know, our region was hit especially hard by sequestration, LPTA, and the government shutdown. The environment is not small-business-friendly.”

To combat the trend, Summit Insight CEO Judy Bradt has come up with a five-step plan for small businesses to increase their chances of gaining a coveted government contract, and she shared the list with Washington Business Report. Her tips, which revolve heavily around focusing on a narrow list of attainable goals, include going “deep, not wide.”

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{ }Round Table: Tech Talk and Living Social

D.C. is home to one of most flourishing start-up cultures in the nation—so much that even President Barack Obama acknowledged its presence by visiting tech hub 1776 on Independence Day Weekend.

Jim Dinegar, president of the Greater Washington Board of Trade, told Washington Business Report he sees the same promise that the president does. He believes that the potential exists to compete with the likes of Silicon Valley and Austin, Texas, noting legislators must be willing to show greater cooperation with the start-ups in the area.

LivingSocial, the "deal of the day" discount site, has been one of the biggest tech start-ups D.C. has birthed in recent years. After Chief Financial Officer John Bax stepped down recently, many began to ponder the future of LivingSocial. Washington Post writer Steven Overly, while describing Living Social as a “rollercoaster,” sees a period of change underway for the company, from personnel to its business model.