Emerging Small Business Strengthens Economic Development in Impoverished Countries

October 16, 2023
Connexus Corp

Connexus Corporation is a Women-owned Small Business (WOSB) international consulting firm based in Northern Virginia that designs sustainable market-based strategies to improve economies across global markets to increase livelihoods for the disadvantaged. The firm supports Cost-Plus Fixed-Fee and Time & Materials contracts for United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the US Department of Agriculture, the US Department of State and Millennium Challenge Corporation in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

Growth, A Global Pandemic and Winning First Prime Contract

From being awarded their first prime contract to kicking off an international project during a global pandemic when travel was restricted, to acquiring a smaller firm and negotiating its Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA), which positions Connexus to win future prime contracts - nothing is going to hold this growing firm back.

“We focus on building the capacity of local firms and partners, especially in the areas related to economic growth, strengthening agricultural markets and facilitating access to finance in developing countries,” said Anita Campion, Founder & CEO of Connexus. “When you increase headcount as an international firm, expand your portfolio and implement your first prime contract in a developing country, it is mission critical to have the proper systems in place for your team to securely access anytime, anywhere,” shared Anita.

Because of this rapid growth, Connexus needed to transition from QuickBooks® to a cloud-based ERP solution to scale and support their contract requirements. The small government contractor wanted a robust accounting system that could also automate back-office tasks and keep them on the cutting edge to deliver global projects. So Connexus chose Deltek Costpoint to support their global workforce now and into the future.

With support from Premier Consulting & Integration LLC, Connexus implemented Costpoint to support its complex needs of managing multiple international development projects in addition to its prime Feed the Future Senegal Nafoore Warsaaji Activity. With Costpoint, Connexus streamlined project management, accounting and reporting processes, and ensured compliance with USAID regulations. Connexus also gained real-time visibility into project performance and financial status, enabling their teams to make informed decisions and optimize their resources.

“The system is known and trusted across the government contracting community,” said Anita. “It’s not only known by the DCAA but also the USG. Auditors have seen Costpoint and its reports countless times, so they know that the appropriate checks and balances are in place.” This familiarity alleviated many potential challenges for Connexus as they worked to achieve their NICRA.

Improved Automation and Streamlined Business Processes

Purpose-built to support government contractors of all sizes, Costpoint is an all-in-one solution with a secure and compliant framework that brings time-saving automation across the entire project lifecycle.

“Deltek Costpoint has been and remains critical to our effective and compliant implementation of US Government (USG) international projects,” Anita said. Adding, “Costpoint Essentials is tailored to meet our business needs today and offers flexibility to support us as we grow.” Deltek’s GovCon solutions continue to help small and medium businesses, similar to Connexus, automate business processes, improve eligibility to win new types of contracts, scale and maintain compliance requirements every day. Deltek Costpoint has supported Connexus’ successful project management in numerous ways.

For an ambitious small business, taking on more complex contracts can become a burden without the proper systems in place to manage multiple projects simultaneously. Managing government contracts is already complex, but adding international contexts and local compliance requirements increases the challenge to manage these projects as a small shop.

Deltek Costpoint has helped Connexus scale their growth and manage multiple projects at once, as they recently won the $250M USAID Compliance and Capacity Support for Diverse Partnerships (CCSDP) Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Contract and expect to take on more long-term prime contracts. Given that their largest project is based in Senegal and led by a full Senegalese team meant the accounting needed to be done locally while syncing with Connexus’ home office accounting system. Having Costpoint in the cloud allows them to have the team in Senegal complete their accounting tasks there with easy oversight from headquarters in Arlington, VA. Making the decision to deploy Costpoint in a cloud environment has enabled them to meet regulatory and local compliance requirements, resulting in high evaluation scores by USAID/Senegal for the past three years.

Since the implementation of Deltek Costpoint, Connexus has increased its annual revenue by 163%, from $2.2M in 2019 to $5.8M in 2023. Connexus would not have been able to grow as effectively and seamlessly without Costpoint. The system’s ability to produce reports and reduce the time spent on manual tracking and calculating project costs against budgets allows their team to focus on the mission and execute successfully, on time and within budget.

Additionally, as an international organization with employees and contractors across the US, Senegal, Nigeria, Tunisia, Colombia and Kosovo – the team can now access project records or update their timesheets at any time and from anywhere around the world. The team can’t imagine working without a SaaS solution like Costpoint. “You can’t really quantify the value that Costpoint has added to our business,” said Anita. “But I don’t know how we would manage if we didn’t have this robust system in place.”

Deltek Costpoint is the industry’s gold standard and has been around for more than 40 years, so the chances of a government contractor being familiar with the system are high. This made the onboarding process seamless for Connexus when they needed to hire additional staff to support their expansion. The firm was able to hire employees from the US, Senegal and Ethiopia with prior Costpoint experience, which accelerated the process.

Connexus also saved an additional $150,000 per year in overhead costs. Without Costpoint’s automation, the firm would have needed to hire additional US-based accounting staff to comply with its growing accounting and invoicing requirements.

What’s on the Horizon?

As Connexus looks ahead to 2024, the team has its sights set on winning additional prime contracts to expand its business opportunities. Having a NICRA and compliant systems in place will increase their competitive edge.

In addition to gaining more experience as a prime contractor, Connexus plans to work with more subcontractors, including small and local businesses, as it has in Senegal, with Costpoint support.

“We can’t imagine life without Costpoint,” said Anita. “Our growth over the last few years would not have been possible without Deltek Costpoint. The ability to access best-in-class software and manage remotely was critical to the successful start-up of our first US Government prime contract in Senegal.”


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