Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) -- Virtual Business Center

Funding Agency:
Department of Commerce

 This notice requests applications for the development of a Minority Business Development Agency Virtual Business Center (VBC). The VBC is a new business assistance program designed to maximize the use of technology in serving Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs). The VBC will leverage partner resources to deliver robust tools and services. This program can support the use of a fee for service model.

This Notice of Federal Funding Opportunity (NOFO) is not to start an individual business. Applications must be submitted for the operation of the VBC that will provide business development services to eligible minority-owned firms as set forth in this Announcement. Applications that do not meet these requirements will not be considered. 

The primary drivers of the VBC are access to information, resources, and counseling that result in discernable growth of minority businesses. The VBC will provide management and technical assistance to MBEs of different sizes, industries and years in business. 

MBDA anticipates the VBC will be able to assist tens of thousands of the estimated 11 million MBEs in the United States and U.S. territories, by using technology to modernize service deliverables. The VBC will leverage technology to communicate and interact with MBE clients. The VBC will aim its services to address the need for a mobile-first approach, specifically meeting MBE business assistance need via mobile devices.

Deadline: July 26, 2019

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Eligible applicants include: for-profit entities (including but not limited to soleproprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies, and corporations), non-profit organizations, state and local government entities, quasi-government entities, Tribal entities, and educational institutions.

 The successful applicant will possess experience in developing, managing, and maintaining an online service delivery portal and customer response operations. The successful applicant will also possess business development expertise such as, but not limited to: assisting businesses to grow through management and technical consulting; acquiring contracts/procurements; accessing established supply chains; accessing subject matter experts for guidance, advice, and counseling; training and educating firms of different sizes (i.e., start-up, micro, small, growth); assisting and supporting firms to access capital. 

Amount Description

MBDA anticipates making one (1) award, covering a four-year period, under this Announcement in the total amount of $5,200,000 in federal funding. Federal funding available at this time is limited to $1,300,000 for Year 1. MBDA anticipates providing $1,300,000 in Federal funding for each additional year of the award. The minimum nonFederal share is $325,000 (i.e., 20% of total project costs) for each year of the award. 

Funding Type





Community Outreach and Engagement
Social Sciences

External Deadline

July 26, 2019