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Notice

Solicitation of Applications for the Minority Business Opportunity Center (MBOC) Program

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AGENCY:

Minority Business Development Agency, DOC.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with Executive Order 11625 and 15 U.S.C. 1512, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is soliciting competitive applications from organizations to operate Minority Business Opportunity Centers (MBOC) (formerly Minority Business Opportunity Committees). The Minority Business Opportunity Centers through their staff will provide brokering services and assistance to MBEs that (a) generate $500,000 or more in annual gross revenues or (b) are capable of creating significant employment and long-term economic impact (commonly referred to as “rapid growth-potential MBEs). In addition, MBOCs provide access to buyers of goods and services and procurement and financing opportunities within the public and private sectors. MBOC operators and executive directors should have experience in and knowledge of the local minority business sector and established working relationships with buying organizations. MBOCs are supported by a volunteer advisory committee that assists the MBOC in implementing program requirements and providing contract and financing opportunities to MBEs. The program is primarily evaluated by MBDA based on the number and dollar value of contracts and financial transactions awarded to minority business enterprises.

DATES:

The closing date for receipt of applications is October 14, 2005. Completed applications must be received by MBDA no later than 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time at the address below. Applications received after the closing date and time will not be considered. Anticipated time for processing is one hundred twenty (120) days from the date of publication of this notice. MBDA anticipates that awards for the MBOC program will be made with a start date of January 1, 2006.

ADDRESSES:

If Mailed: If the application is mailed/shipped overnight by the applicant or its representative, one (1) signed original plus two (2) copies of the application must be submitted. Completed application packages must be mailed to: Office of Business Development—MBOC Program, Office of Executive Secretariat, HCHB, Room 5063, Minority Business Development Agency, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20230.

U.S. Department of Commerce delivery policies for Federal Express, UPS, and DHL overnight services require the packages to be sent to the address above.

If Hand-Delivered: If the application is hand-delivered by the applicant or his/her representative, one (1) signed original plus two (2) copies of the application must be delivered to: U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency, Office of Business Development—MBOC Program (extension 1940), HCHB, Room 1874, Entrance #10, 15th Street, NW., Washington, DC. (Between Pennsylvania and Constitution Avenues.)

U.S. Department of Commerce “hand-delivery” policies state that Federal Express, UPS, and DHL overnight services submitted to the address listed above (Entrance #10) cannot be accepted. These policies should be taken into consideration when utilizing their services. MBDA will not accept applications that are submitted by the deadline but rejected due to Departmental hand-delivery policies. The applicant must adhere to these policies for its application to be considered for award.

If Filed Electronically: Applicants are encouraged to submit their proposal electronically via the Internet and mail or hand-deliver only the pages that require original signatures by the closing date and time, as stated in this Notice. Applicants may submit their applications at http://www.Grants.gov. However, due to technical requirements, all sections of the application must be completed in order for the system to process the application. Program and Budget Narratives must be completed and the following paper forms must be submitted in hard copy with original signatures by the closing date and time stated in this announcement:

(1) SF-424, Application for Federal Assistance;

(2) SF-424B, Assurances—Non-Construction Programs;

(3) SF-LLL (Rev.7-97) (if applicable), Disclosure of Lobbying Activities;

(4) CD 511, Certification Regarding Lobbying; and

(5) Form CD-346, Application for Funding Assistance (Name Check form).

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For further information, please visit MBDA's Minority Business Internet Portal at http://www.mbda.gov. Paper applications and Standard Forms may be obtained by contacting the MBDA National Enterprise Center (NEC) for the area in which the Applicant is located (See Agency Contacts section) or visiting MBDA's Portal at http://Start Printed Page 51339www.mbda.gov. Standard Forms 424, 424A, 424B, and SF-LLL can also be obtained at http://www.whitehouse.gov/​omb/​grants, or http://Grants.gov. Forms CD-511, and CD-346 may be obtained at http://www.doc.gov/​forms. Responsibility for ensuring that applications are complete and received BY MBDA on time is the sole responsibility of the Applicant.

Agency Contacts

1. Office of Business Development, 14th and Constitution Avenues, Room 5073, Washington, DC 20230. Contact Stephen Boykin, MBOC Program Manager at 202-482-1712.

2. San Francisco NEC located at 221 Main Street, Suite 1280, San Francisco, CA 94105. This NEC (region) covers the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington and the territory of American Samoa. Contact Linda Marmolejo, NEC Director at 415-744-3001.

3. Dallas NEC is located at 1100 Commerce Street, Suite 7B-23, Dallas, TX 75242. This region covers the states of Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. Contact John Iglehart, NEC Director at 214-767-8001.

4. Chicago NEC is located at 55 E. Monroe Street, Suite 1406, Chicago, IL 60603. This region covers the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin. Contact Eric Dobyne, NEC Director at 312-353-0182.

5. Atlanta NEC is located at 401 W. Peachtree St., NW., Suite 1715, Atlanta, GA 30308. This Region covers the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Contact Robert Henderson, NEC Director at 404-730-3313.

6. New York NEC is located at 26 Federal Plaza, Room 3720, New York, NY 10278. This Region covers the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, DC. Contact Hayward Davenport, NEC Director at 212-264-3262.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Electronic Access: The full text of the Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) Announcement for the MBOC Program is available at http://www.Grants.gov or by contacting the appropriate MBDA representative identified above. The FFO is also available at http://www.mbda.gov. The FFO contains a full and complete description of the MBOC program requirements. In order to receive proper consideration, applicants must comply with all information and requirements contained in the FFO.

Funding Availability: The total award period is two years. MBDA anticipates that a total of approximately $1,600,000 will be available in each of the calendar years 2006 and 2007 to fund at least one MBOC in each of MBDA's five regions. MBDA anticipates funding five (5) to nine (9) MBOCs. Funding levels will range from $120,000 to $300,000 per year based on the Federal amount for each geographic location below. MBDA anticipates that 75 percent of the funding will be allocated to key staff, such as the Executive Director and Senior Business Development person(s). Applicants must submit project plans and budgets for each of the two years. Projects will be funded for no more than one year at a time. Awardees will be eligible for one continuation period, for a total of two years. Project proposals accepted for funding will not compete for funding in the subsequent second budget period. Second year funding will depend upon satisfactory performance, availability of funds to support continuation of the project, Department of Commerce and MBDA priorities, and will be at the sole discretion of MBDA and the Department of Commerce.

MBDA is soliciting competitive applications from organizations to operate MBOCs in the geographic areas identified below. The maximum Federal Funding Amounts for each location are also shown.

Applicant locationFederal amount
** 1. Los Angeles, CA$300,000
*** 2. Colorado200,000
** 3. Milwaukee, WI120,000
* 4. Chicago, IL (Except Gary, IN Metropolitan Statistical Division)300,000
* 5. Detroit, MI150,000
* 6. Washington, DC,300,000
*** 7. Florida200,000
**** 8. Gary, IN.120,000
* 9. San Juan, Puerto Rico200,000
*** 10. Alabama120,000
* Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). These areas are defined in OMB Bulletin 05-02 at www.whitehouse.gov/​omb/​bulletins/​index.html.
** Countywide.
*** Statewide.
**** Metropolitan Statistical Division. See OMB Bulletin 05-02 for definition.

The MBOC Operator should have an established presence in the geographic area(s) identified above. Established presence is defined to mean that the applicant has had an office in the location for three (3) years preceding the date of this Announcement and has established working relationships with buying organizations. Applicants are encouraged to propose as large a service area as possible which may extend beyond the defined areas noted above.

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Authority: Executive Order 11625 and 15 U.S.C. 1512.

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Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA): 11.803 Minority Business Opportunity Center Program.

Eligibility: For-profit entities (including sole-proprietorships, partnership, and corporations), and non-profit organizations, state and local government entities, federal agencies, American Indian Tribes, and educational institutions are eligible to operate MBOCs.

Program Description: In accordance with Executive Order 11625 and 15 U.S.C. 1512, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is soliciting competitive applications from organizations to operate Minority Business Opportunity Centers (MBOC) (formerly Minority Business Opportunity Committees). The Minority Business Opportunity Centers through their staff will provide brokering services and assistance to MBEs that (a) generate $500,000 or more in annual gross revenues or (b) are capable of creating significant employment and long-term economic impact (commonly referred to as “rapid growth-potential MBEs''). In addition, MBOCs provide access to buyers of goods and services and procurement and financing opportunities within the public and private sectors. The MBOC program's primary objective is to match pre-qualified Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) with private and public sector contracting and financing entities. MBOC operators and executive directors should have experience in and knowledge of the local minority business sector and demonstrated ability to gain access to key decision makers. MBOCs are supported by a volunteer advisory committee that assists the MBOC in implementing program requirements and providing contract and financing opportunities to MBEs. The program is primarily evaluated by MBDA based on the number and dollar value of contracts and financial transactions awarded to minority business enterprises.

Match Requirements: Cost sharing of at least 30% is required. Cost sharing is the portion of the project cost not borne by the Federal Government. Applicants must meet this requirement in (1) cash contributions; (2) non-cash applicant contributions; and/or (3) third party in-Start Printed Page 51340kind contributions. Bonus points will be awarded for cost sharing exceeding 30 percent that is applied to MBOC staff. Applicants must provide a detailed explanation of how the cost-sharing requirement will be met.

While not a program requirement, the MBOC may charge client fees for brokering services rendered. Client fees may be used towards meeting cost share requirements. Client fees applied directly to the award's cost sharing requirement must be used in furtherance of the program objectives.

Selection Procedures: Prior to the formal paneling process, each application will receive an initial screening to ensure that all required forms, signatures and documentation are present. Each application will receive an independent, objective review by a panel qualified to evaluate the applications submitted. MBDA anticipates that the review panel will be made up of at least three independent reviewers who will review all applications based on the below evaluation criteria. Each reviewer will evaluate and provide a score for each proposal. The National Director of MBDA makes the final recommendation to the Department of Commerce Grants Officer regarding the funding of applications, taking into account the following selection criteria:

1. The evaluations and rankings of the independent review panel;

2. The geographic distribution of the MBOCs;

3. The following funding priorities:

a. Having an existing client base that can be utilized for brokering contract and financial transactions.

b. Ability to establish an MBOC that has an Industry specific(s) focus and that demonstrates the utility of economic clusters including, but not limited to, aerospace, manufacturing, construction, financial services, IT and /or automotive industries; and

4. The availability of funding.

Evaluation Criteria: Proposals will be evaluated and applicants will be selected based on the following criteria. An application must receive at least 70% of the total points available for each evaluation criterion, in order for the application to be considered for funding. The Maximum total points that can be earned is 105 including the bonus points for staff related non federal cost sharing as described below.

1. Applicant Capability (30 Points)

The applicant's proposal will be evaluated with respect to the applicant's experience and expertise in providing the work requirements listed. Specifically, the proposals will be evaluated as follows:

  • MBE Community—Experience and knowledge of the local minority business sector and established working relationships with buying organizations. This factor will be evaluated on whether or not the applicant has an established presence in the proposed geographic service area. Established presence is defined to mean that the applicant has had an office in the geographic service area for a minimum of three (3) years preceding this announcement and has established relationships with buying organizations. (10 points);
  • Business Acumen—Experience in and knowledge of coaching and mentoring techniques related to serving rapid growth-potential minority firms (3 points);
  • Financing—Experience in and knowledge of brokering techniques and facilitating large financial transactions (5 points);
  • Procurements and Contracting—Experience in and knowledge of the public and private sector contracting opportunities and gaining access to the buyers to facilitate and broker large deals (5 points);
  • Financing Networks—Knowledge of the resources and professional relationships within the corporate, banking and investment community that can be beneficial to minority-owned firms (2 points);
  • Experience and knowledge of particular industries and ability to gain access to industry leaders within the geographic service area (5 points).

2. Resources (25 Points)

The applicant's proposal will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Key Staff—Discuss the experience of the staff that will operate the MBOC. In particular, an assessment will be made to determine whether key staff has the experience in working with high level key decision makers as relates to brokering and facilitating large dollar contracts and financial transactions, and coaching and mentoring. Proposed staff will be assessed to determine if they possess the expertise in utilizing information systems (10 points);
  • Resources—Discuss what resources will be utilized to accomplish the work requirements (not included as part of the cost-sharing arrangement); discuss how you plan to establish and maintain a network of resources. Discuss how the Advisory Committee and subcommittees will be recruited and what their role will be. Discuss how the committees will contribute to the performance measures as outlined in the FFO (10 points);
  • Equipment—Discuss how you plan to accomplish the computer hardware and software requirements stated in the FFO (5 points).

3. Techniques and Methodologies (25 Points)

The applicant's proposal will be evaluated as follows:

  • Performance Measures—Relate each performance measure to the financial, information and market resources available in the applicant's defined service area and how the goals will be met. Specific attention should be placed on the Dollar Value of Contract Awards and Financial Transactions (as described under Definitions in the FFO). Minimum goals should be based on the availability of federal procurement dollars in the service area. The applicant should also consider existing market conditions and its strategy to achieve the goal. (10 points);
  • Plan of Action—Provide specific detail on how the applicant will start operations, including how the Advisory Committees and Subcommittees will be formed. The plan should include a detailed discussion of the nature of the advisory role and how the committee will work with Center staff to accomplish program objectives. Program Operators have thirty (30) days to become fully operational after an award is made. Fully operational means that all staff is hired, all signs are up, all items of furniture and equipment are in place and operational, all stationery forms are developed and the Center is ready to open its doors to the public. Failure to have all staff on board within 30 days after award will result in a deduction of 10 points on the first semi-annual performance assessment report and may jeopardize continuation of the award. (5 points);
  • Work Requirements Execution Plan—The applicant will be evaluated on how it plans to execute the Work Requirements (including implementation timelines) and how effectively and efficiently all staff will be used. Applicants should include a description for using an intra and interstate approach, depending on the geographic service area, for accomplishing the work requirements contained in the FFO (5 points).
  • Appropriateness of Applicant Defined Service Area—The applicant will be evaluated based on the following: the size of the minority population and density of MBEs with revenues of $500,000 or rapid-growth potential in the applicant's defined service area. The presence of significant Start Printed Page 51341federal and commercial contracting and financing opportunities, the size of the market, and the need for MBDA resources in the applicant's defined service area should also be discussed. (5 Points)

4. Proposed Budget and Supporting Budget Narrative (20 Points)

The applicant's proposal will be evaluated on the following sub-criteria:

  • Reasonableness, allowability and allocability of costs (5 points). MBDA anticipates that 75% of the funding level will be allocated to key staff, such as the Executive Director and senior business development persons.
  • Proposed cost sharing of 30 percent is required and must be documented, including whether client fees for brokering will be charged and applied to the cost share. Applicants choosing to charge fees should set forth a fee schedule in their proposals (5 points).
  • Performance-based Budget. Discuss how the budget is related to the accomplishment of the work requirements and the Performance measures. Provide a budget narrative that clearly shows the connections. (10 points)
  • Non Federal Cost sharing exceeding 30 percent that is related to additional staff (5) bonus points).

Intergovernmental Review

Applications under this program are not subject to Executive Order 12372, “Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs.”

Limitation of Liability

Applicants are hereby given notice that funds have not yet been appropriated for this program. In no event will MBDA or the department of Commerce be responsible for proposal preparation costs if this program fails to receive funding or is cancelled because of other agency priorities. Publication of this announcement does not oblige MBDA or the Department of Commerce to award any specific project or to obligate any available funds.

Universal Identifier

Applicant should be aware that they may be required to provide a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering system (DUNS) number during the application process. See the June 27, 2003 (68 FR 38402) Federal Register notice for additional information. Organization can receive a DUNS number at no cost by calling the dedicated toll-free DUNS Number request line at 1-866-705-5711 or on MBDA's Web site at http://www.mbda.gov.

Department of Commerce Pre-Award Notification Requirements for Grants and Cooperative Agreements

The Department of Commerce Pre-Award Notification Requirements for Grants and Cooperative Agreements contained in the Federal Register notice of December 30, 2004 (69 FR 78389) are applicable to this solicitation.

Application Forms and Package

A completed proposal submitted by mail, hand delivery, or electronically consists of the following sections:

—Program Narrative;

—Budget and Budget Narrative;

—Standard Forms 424; 424A; 424B; and SF LLL; and

_Department of Commerce forms CD-346; and CD-511.

Failure to include, by the deadline, a signed, original SF-424 with the paper application, or separately in conjunction with an electronically submitted application, will result in the application being rejected and returned to the applicant. Failure to sign and submit the remaining forms with the paper application, or separately in conjunction with an electronically submitted application, by the deadline, will automatically cause an application to lose two (2) points in the overall score. MBDA shall not accept any changes, additions, revisions or deletions to competitive applications after the closing date for receiving applications. MBDA may contact applicants for additional clarifications.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This document contains collection-of-information requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) the use of standard forms 424, 424A, 424B, CD 346, and SF-LLL have been approved by OMB under the respective control numbers 0348-0043, 0348-0044, 0348-0040, 0605-0001, and 0348-0046.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, no person is required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection displays a currently valid OMB control Number.

Executive Order 12866

This notice has been determined to be not significant for purposes of E.O. 12866.

Administrative Procedure Act/ Regulatory Flexibility Act

Prior notice for an opportunity for public comment are not required by the Administrative Procedure Act for rules concerning public property, loans, grant, benefits and contracts (5 U.S.C. 533(a)(2)). Because notice and opportunity for comment are not required pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 533 or any other law, the analytical requirements of the regulatory flexibility Act (5 U.S.C 601 et seq.) are inapplicable. Therefore, a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and has not been prepared.

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Dated: August 26, 2005.

Ronald J. Marin,

Financial Management Officer, Minority Business Development Agency.

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[FR Doc. 05-17233 Filed 8-29-05; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3510-21-U