Inner City Innovation Hubs

Funding Agency:
Department of Commerce

The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) provides Federal assistance to support innovative projects seeking to promote and ensure the inclusion and use of minority enterprises. This Announcement is a mechanism to encourage new activities, education, outreach, innovative projects or sponsorships that are not addressed through other MBDA programs. The funds to be awarded by this program are not congressionally directed funds or designated for existing funded awards. In the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bill, Congress authorized MBDA to foster, promote, and develop minority business enterprises, through grants, contracts and other agreements with public or private organizations. See Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020, Pub. L. No. 116-93 (December 20, 2019).

MBE Inner City Innovation Hub Grants – According to a Brookings Institute review of data from the U.S. Census, 84% of Americans live in Metropolitan areas. Of these Americans, a majority are minorities. Metropolitan Statistical Areas are defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) based on data gathered by the Census Bureau. OMB locates these areas around a densely populated core, typically a city, of at least 50,000 people. OMB currently identifies 366 metropolitan areas nationwide, with populations ranging from 55,000 (Carson City, Nevada) to 19 million (New York, Northern New Jersey, Long Island, New York - NJPA).

Minority populations in the United States concentrate even more heavily in large metropolitan areas than the overall population. In 2008, the 100 largest metro areas contained 66 percent of the total U.S. population but 77 percent of non-whites and Hispanics, which included 74 percent of blacks, 80 percent of Hispanics, and 88 percent of Asians. This is now the case for 17 metropolitan areas, up from 14 in 2000 and just five in 1990. Eight of the 17 metropolitan areas that have the majority of the U.S. minority population are located in California, and another four are in Texas. California, Texas, New York and Florida are the nation's most populous states, home to nearly half of all minority residents, with the largest number of minority-owned businesses.

Minority businesses located within inner cities and economically distressed neighborhoods support the development of wealth and the growth of entrepreneurship. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are approximately 8 million minority-owned businesses, while other sources report 11 million minority-owned businesses across the U.S. As part of this Administration’s goals to fuel economic innovation and protect economic growth, MBDA seeks to provide funding for programs that support and provide technical and management education to entrepreneurs and start-up businesses with innovative products or services in inner city areas with high concentrations of minority persons and minority-owned businesses.

Applications responding to this announcement must present projects that support start-up businesses and established entrepreneurs in inner cities and urban areas in a U.S. state or U.S. territory with high concentrations of minority populations and minority business enterprises. These service models should be designed to assist minority businesses on a regional basis dependent upon the location of the hub (e.g., North East, Mid-Atlantic, South East and Mid-West and North West, South West, Mid-West, and Pacific regions). Applicants may propose and define the regional service area.

Deadline: May 15, 2020

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Eligible applicants: For-profit entities (including but not limited to sole-proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies, and corporations), non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, commercial organizations, state and local government entities, quasi-government entities, Indian Tribal governments, Tribal entities, and Native Hawaiian entities in any U.S. State or U.S. Territory.

Amount Description

MBDA anticipates making two (2) awards, covering a two-year period, under this BAA for a total amount of $2,800,000. Federal funding available at this time is limited to $700,000 for each award for Year 1. MBDA anticipates providing $700,000 in Federal funding for Year 2 of each award.

Funding Type





Community Outreach and Engagement
Social Sciences

External Deadline

May 15, 2020