Solicitation of Applications for the Minority Business Enterprise Center (MBEC) Program, 4370-4374 [E9-1525]

Download as PDF 4370 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 15 / Monday, January 26, 2009 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Minority Business Development Agency [Docket No.: 090109014–9016–01] Solicitation of Applications for the Minority Business Enterprise Center (MBEC) Program AGENCY: Minority Business Development Agency, Commerce. ACTION: Notice. SUMMARY: On October 7, 2008, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) published an announcement (73 FR 58555) soliciting competitive applications from organizations to operate a Minority Business Enterprise Center (MBEC) in Houston, TX for a new three (3) year award period, in accordance with 15 U.S.C. Section 1512 and Executive Order 11625. However, the competition was deemed unsuccessful by MBDA due to a lack of responsive applications. This notice solicits competitive applications for a new operator of the Houston MBEC project and supersedes in its entirety the notice published on October 7, 2008. The Houston MBEC operates through the use of business consultants and provides a range of business consulting and technical assistance services directly to eligible minority-owned businesses in the Houston-Sugar LandBaytown, Texas Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). Responsibility for ensuring that applications in response to this competitive solicitation are complete and received by MBDA on time is the sole responsibility of the applicant. Applications submitted must be to operate a MBEC and to provide business consultation services to eligible clients. Applications that do not meet these requirements will be rejected. This is not a grant program to help start or to further an individual business. DATES: The closing date for receipt of applications is March 2, 2009 at 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST). Completed applications must be received by MBDA at the address below for paper submissions or at http:// www.Grants.gov for electronic submissions. The due date and time is the same for electronic submissions as it is for paper submissions. The date that applications will be deemed to have been submitted electronically shall be the date and time received at Grants.gov. Applicants should save and print the proof of submission they receive from Grants.gov. Applications received after the closing date and time will not be considered. Anticipated time for processing is seventy-five (75) days VerDate Nov<24>2008 17:20 Jan 23, 2009 Jkt 217001 from the closing date for receipt of applications. MBDA anticipates that one award under this notice will be made with a start date of June 1, 2009. Pre-Application Conference: In connection with this solicitation, a preapplication conference is scheduled for February 6, 2009 in Houston, TX. The time and location of the pre-application conference have yet to be determined. Participants must register at least 24 hours in advance of the conference and may participate in person or by telephone. Please visit the MBDA Internet Portal at http://www.mbda.gov (MBDA Portal) or contact an MBDA representative listed below for the specific time and location of the preapplication conference and for registration instructions. ADDRESSES: (1a) Paper Submission—If Mailed: If the application is sent by postal mail or overnight delivery service by the applicant or its representative, one (1) signed original plus two (2) copies of the application must be submitted. Applicants are encouraged to also submit an electronic copy of the proposal, budget and budget narrative on a CD–ROM to facilitate the processing of applications. Complete application packages must be mailed to: Office of Business Development—MBEC Program, Office of Executive Secretariat, HCHB, Room 5063, Minority Business Development Agency, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20230. Applicants are advised that MBDA’s receipt of mail sent via the United States Postal Service may be substantially delayed or suspended in delivery due to security measures. Applicants may therefore wish to use a guaranteed overnight delivery service. Department of Commerce delivery policies for overnight delivery services require all packages to be sent to the address above. (1b) Paper Submission—If HandDelivered: If the application is handdelivered by the applicant or by its representative, one (1) signed original plus two (2) copies of the application must be delivered. Applicants are encouraged to also submit an electronic copy of the proposal, budget and budget narrative on a CD–ROM to facilitate the processing of applications. Complete application packages must be delivered to: U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency, Office of Business Development—MBEC Program (extension 1940), HCHB—Room 1874, Entrance #10, 15th Street, NW. (between Pennsylvania and Constitution Avenues), Washington, DC. MBDA will not accept applications that are PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 submitted by the deadline, but that are rejected due to the applicant’s failure to adhere to Department of Commerce protocol for hand-deliveries. (2) Electronic Submission: Applicants are encouraged to submit their proposal electronically at http://www.Grants.gov. Electronic submissions should be made in accordance with the instructions available at Grants.gov (see http:// www.grants.gov/forapplicants for detailed information). MBDA strongly recommends that applicants not wait until the application deadline date to begin the application process through Grants.gov as, in some cases, the process for completing an online application may require 3–5 working days. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information or for an application package, please visit MBDA’s Minority Business Internet Portal at http:// www.mbda.gov. Paper applications may also be obtained by contacting the MBDA Office of Business Development or the MBDA National Enterprise Center (NEC) in the region in which the MBEC will be located (see below Agency Contacts). In addition, Standard Forms (SF) may be obtained by accessing http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants or http://www.grants.gov and Department of Commerce (CD) forms may be accessed at http://www.doc.gov/ forms. Agency Contacts: 1. MBDA Office of Business Development, 1401 Constitution Avenue, NW., Room 5075, Washington, DC 20230. Contact: Efrain Gonzalez, Chief, 202–482–1940. 2. Dallas National Enterprise Center (DNEC), 1100 Commerce Street, Room 726, Dallas, Texas, 75242. This region covers the states of Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. Contact: John F. Iglehart, Regional Director, 214–767– 8001. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Electronic Access: A link to the full text of the Announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) for this solicitation may be accessed at: http:// www.Grants.gov, http://www.mbda.gov, or by contacting the appropriate MBDA representative identified above. The FFO contains a full and complete description of the requirements under the MBEC Program. In order to receive proper consideration, applicants must comply with all information and requirements contained in the FFO. Applicants will be able to access, download and submit electronic grant applications for the MBEC Program through http://www.Grants.gov. MBDA E:\FR\FM\26JAN1.SGM 26JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 15 / Monday, January 26, 2009 / Notices strongly recommends that applicants not wait until the application deadline date to begin the application process through Grants.gov as in some cases the process for completing an online application may require additional time (e.g., 3–5 working days). The date that applications will be deemed to have been submitted electronically shall be the date and time received at Grants.gov. Applicants should save and print the proof of submission they receive from Grants.gov. Applications received after the closing date and time will not be considered. Background: The MBEC Program is a key component of MBDA’s overall minority business development assistance program and promotes the growth and competitiveness of eligible minority-owned businesses. MBEC operators leverage project staff and professional consultants to provide a wide range of direct business assistance services to eligible minority-owned firms, including but not limited to initial consultations and assessments, business technical assistance, and access to federal and non-federal procurement and financing opportunities. MBDA currently funds a network of 33 MBEC projects located throughout the United States. Pursuant to this notice, competitive applications for new awards are being solicited for the MBEC project identified below. MBDA originally made a three (3) year award for the operation of the Houston MBEC project for the period January 1, 2007—December 31, 2009. See 71 FR 42352. The original award was subsequently terminated at the recipient’s request effective January 1, 2009. On October 7, 2008, MBDA published an announcement soliciting competitive applications for an operator of the Houston MBEC for a new three (3) year award period. See 73 FR 58555. However, the competition was deemed unsuccessful by MBDA due to a lack of responsive applications. This notice solicits competitive applications for a new operator of the Houston MBEC project and supersedes in its entirety the notice published on October 7, 2008. The new award for the Houston MBEC project is expected to be made with a three (3) year award period of June 1, 2009—May 31, 2012. Program Description: The MBEC Program generally requires project staff to provide standardized business assistance services directly to eligible ‘‘minority business enterprises,’’ with an emphasis on those firms with $500,000 or more in annual revenues and/or those eligible firms with ‘‘rapid growth potential’’ (‘‘Strategic Growth VerDate Nov<24>2008 17:20 Jan 23, 2009 Jkt 217001 Initiative’’ or ‘‘SGI’’ firms); to develop and maintain a network of strategic partnerships; to provide collaborative consulting services with MBDA and other MBDA funded programs and strategic partners; and to provide referral services (as necessary) for client transactions. For this purpose, minority business enterprises are business concerns that are owned or controlled by the following persons or groups of person: African Americans, Puerto Ricans, Spanish-speaking Americans, Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, Native Americans (including Alaska Natives, Alaska Native Corporations and tribal entities), Eskimos, Aleuts, Asian Indians, and Hasidic Jews. See 15 CFR 1400.1 and Executive Order 11625. The MBEC Program incorporates an entrepreneurial approach to building market stability and improving the quality of client services. This entrepreneurial strategy expands the reach of the MBECs by requiring project operators to develop and build upon strategic alliances with public and private sector partners as a means of serving minority-owned firms within each MBEC’s geographical service area. The MBEC Program is also designed to effectively leverage MBDA resources, including but not limited to: MBDA Office of Business Development and MBDA National Enterprise Centers; MBDA’s Business Internet Portal; and MBDA’s nationwide network of MBECs, Native American Business Enterprise Centers (NABECs) and Minority Business Opportunity Centers (MBOCs). MBEC operators are also required to attend a variety of MBDA training programs designed to increase operational efficiencies and the provision of value-added client services. MBEC operators are generally required to provide the following four client services: (1) Client Assessment— this is a standardized service activity that includes identifying the client’s immediate and long-term needs and establishes a projected growth track; (2) Strategic Business Consulting—this involves providing intensive business consulting services that can be delivered as personalized consulting or group consulting; (3) Access to Capital—this assistance is designed to secure the financial capital necessary for client growth, and (4) Access to Markets—this involves assisting clients to identify and access opportunities for increased sales and revenues. Please refer to the FFO pertaining to this competitive solicitation for a full and complete description of the application and programmatic requirements under the MBEC Program. PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 4371 Location and Geographical Service Area: MBDA is soliciting competitive applications from organizations to operate an MBEC in the following location and geographical service area: Name of MBEC Location of MBEC MBEC geographical service area ** Houston MBEC. Houston, TX. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX MSA.** ** Metropolitan Statistical Area, please see OMB Bulletin No. 09–01, Update of Statistical Area Definitions and Guidance on Their Uses (November 20, 2008) at http:// www.whitehouse.gov/omb/bulletins. Eligibility: For-profit entities (including but not limited to soleproprietorships, partnerships, and corporations), non-profit organizations, state and local government entities, American Indian Tribes, and educational institutions are eligible to operate an MBEC. Match Requirements: The MBEC Program requires a minimum nonfederal cost share of 20%, which must be reflected in the proposed project budget. Non-federal cost share is the portion of the project cost not borne by the Federal Government. Applicants must satisfy the non-federal cost sharing requirements in one or more of the following four means or any combination thereof: (1) Client fees; (2) applicant cash contributions; (3) applicant in-kind (i.e., non-cash) contributions; or (4) third-party in-kind contributions. The MBEC is required to charge client fees for services rendered and such fees must be used by the operator towards meeting the nonfederal cost share requirements under the award. Applicants will be awarded up to five bonus points to the extent that the proposed project budget includes a non-federal cost share contribution, measured as a percentage of the overall project budget, exceeding 20% (see Evaluation Criterion below). Funding Availability: MBDA anticipates that approximately $291,000 will be available in each of Fiscal Years (FYs) 2009—2011 to fund the financial assistance award for the Houston MBEC project. The total award period for the project is anticipated to be three (3) years and to cover the period June 1, 2009–May 31, 2012. The anticipated level of Federal funding and the minimum non-federal matching share for the Houston MBEC project for each funding period is set forth in the below table (the actual award amount may vary depending on the availability of appropriated funds and on MBDA and Department of Commerce priorities). E:\FR\FM\26JAN1.SGM 26JAN1 4372 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 15 / Monday, January 26, 2009 / Notices June 1, 2009 through May 31, 2010 June 1, 2010 through May 31, 2011 June 1, 2011 through May 31, 2012 Total cost ($) Federal share ($) NonFederal share ($) (20% min.) Total cost ($) Federal share ($) NonFederal share ($) (20% min.) Total cost ($) Federal share ($) NonFederal share ($) (10% min.) 363,750 291,000 72,500 363,750 291,000 72,500 363,750 291,000 72,500 Project name Houston MBEC ................ Applicants must submit project plans and budgets for each of the three (3) funding periods under this award (June 1, 2009—May 31, 2010, June 1, 2010— May 31, 2011, and June 1, 2011—May 31, 2012). Projects will initially be funded for the first funding period and will not have to compete for funding in the second and third funding periods. However, operators that fail to achieve a ‘‘Satisfactory’’ or better performance rating for the current funding period may be denied funding for subsequent funding periods. Recommendations for funding for subsequent funding periods are generally evaluated by MBDA based on a ‘‘Satisfactory’’ or better mid-year program performance rating (i.e., June 1, 20xx—November 30, 20xx) and/or a combination of a mid-year and cumulative third-quarter (i.e., June 1, 20xx—February 28, 20xx) ‘‘Satisfactory’’ or better performance rating for the current funding period. In making such funding recommendations, MBDA and the Department of Commerce will consider the facts and circumstances of each case, such as but not limited to market conditions, most recent performance of the operator and other mitigating circumstances. Funding for the program listed in this notice is contingent upon the availability of FY 2009 appropriations. MBDA issues this notice subject to the appropriations made available under the current continuing resolution, H.R. 2638, ‘‘Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009,’’ Public Law 110–329. 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 Department of Commerce or MBDA priorities. All funding periods under the award are subject to the availability of funds to support the continuation of the project. Publication of this FFO does not obligate the Department of Commerce or MBDA to award any specific cooperative agreement or to obligate all or any part of available funds. Authority: 15 U.S.C. Section 1512 and Executive Order 11625. VerDate Nov<24>2008 17:32 Jan 23, 2009 Jkt 217001 Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA): 11.800, Minority Business Enterprise Centers. Eligibility: For-profit entities (including but not limited to soleproprietorships, partnerships, and corporations), non-profit organizations, state and local government entities, American Indian Tribes, and educational institutions are eligible to operate an MBEC. Match Requirements: The MBEC Program requires a minimum nonfederal cost share of 20%, which must be reflected in the proposed project budget. Non-federal cost share is the portion of the project cost not borne by the Federal Government. Applicants must satisfy the non-federal cost sharing requirements in one or more of the following four means or any combination thereof: (1) Client fees; (2) applicant cash contributions; (3) applicant in-kind (i.e., non-cash) contributions; or (4) third-party in-kind contributions. The MBEC is required to charge client fees for services rendered and such fees must be used by the operator towards meeting the nonfederal cost share requirements under the award. Applicants will be awarded up to five bonus points to the extent that the proposed project budget includes a non-federal cost share contribution, measured as a percentage of the overall project budget, exceeding 20% (see Evaluation Criterion below). Evaluation Criterion: Proposals will be evaluated and one applicant may be selected based on the below evaluation criterion. The maximum total number of points that an application may receive is 105, including the bonus points for exceeding the minimum required nonfederal cost sharing, except when oral presentations are made by applicants. If oral presentations are made (see below: Oral Presentation—Optional), the maximum total of points that can be earned is 115. The number of points assigned to each evaluation criterion will be determined on a competitive basis by the MBDA review panel based on the quality of the application with respect to each evaluation criterion. PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 1. Applicant Capability (40 Points) Proposals will be evaluated with respect to the applicant’s experience and expertise in providing the work requirements listed. Specifically, proposals will be evaluated as follows: (a) Community—Experience in and knowledge of the minority community, minority business sector, and strategies for enhancing its growth and expansion; particular emphasis shall be on expanding SGI firms. Consideration will be given as to whether the applicant has a physical presence in the geographic service area at the time of its application (4 points); (b) Business Consulting—Experience in and knowledge of business consulting with respect to minority firms, with emphasis on SGI firms in the geographic service area (5 points); (c) Financing—Experience in and knowledge of the preparation and formulation of successful financial transactions, with an emphasis on the geographic service area (5 points); (d) Procurements and Contracting— Experience in and knowledge of the public and private sector contracting opportunities for minority businesses, as well as demonstrated expertise in assisting clients into supply chains (5 points); (e) Financing Networks—Resources and professional relationships within the corporate, banking and investment community that may be beneficial to minority-owned firms (5 points); (f) Establishment of a Self-Sustainable Service Model—Summary plan to establish a self-sustainable model for continued services to the MBE communities beyond the MBDA award period (3 points); (g) MBE Advocacy—Experience and expertise in advocating on behalf of minority communities and minority businesses, both as to specific transactions in which a minority business seeks to engage and as to broad market advocacy for the benefit of the minority community at large (3 points); and (h) Key Staff—Assessment of the qualifications, experience and proposed role of staff that will operate the MBEC. In particular, an assessment will be E:\FR\FM\26JAN1.SGM 26JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 15 / Monday, January 26, 2009 / Notices made to determine whether proposed key staff possess the expertise in utilizing information systems and the ability to successfully deliver program services. At a minimum the applicant must identify a proposed project director. (10 points). 2. Resources (20 Points) The applicant’s proposal will be evaluated as followed: (a) Resources—Resources (not included as part of the non-federal cost share) that will be used in implementing the program, including but not limited to existing prior and/or current data lists that will serve in fostering immediate success for the MBEC (8 points); (b) Location—Assessment of the applicant’s strategic rationale for the proposed physical location of the MBEC. Applicant is encouraged to establish a location for the MBEC that is in a building which is separate and apart from any of the applicant’s existing offices in the geographic service area (2 points); (c) Partners—How the applicant plans to establish and maintain the network of strategic partners and the manner in which these partners will support the MBEC in meeting program performance goals (5 points); and (d) Equipment—How the applicant plans to satisfy the MBEC information technology requirements, including computer hardware, software requirements and network map (5 points). 3. Techniques and Methodologies (20 Points) The applicant’s proposal will be evaluated as follows: (a) Performance Measures—For each funding period, the manner in which the applicant relates each performance measure to the financial information and market resources available in the geographic service area (including existing client list); how the applicant will create MBEC brand recognition (marketing plan); and how the applicant will satisfy program performance goals. In particular, emphasis may be placed on the manner in which the applicant matches MBEC performance goals with client service hours and how it accounts for existing market conditions in its strategy to achieve such goals (10 points); (b) Start-up Phase—How the applicant will commence MBEC operations within the initial 30-day period. The MBEC shall have thirty (30) days to become fully operational after an award is made (3 points); and (c) Work Requirement Execution Plan—The applicant will be evaluated VerDate Nov<24>2008 17:20 Jan 23, 2009 Jkt 217001 on how effectively and efficiently staff time will be used to achieve the work requirements, particularly with respect to periods beyond the start-up phase (7 points). 4. Proposed Budget and Budget Narrative (20 Points) The applicant’s proposal will be evaluated as follows: (a) Reasonableness, Allowability and Allocability of Proposed Program Costs. All of the proposed program costs expenditures should be discussed and the budget line-item narrative must match the proposed budget. Fringe benefits and other percentage item calculations should match the proposed budget line-item and narrative (5 points); (b) Non-Federal Cost Share. The required 20% non-Federal share must be adequately addressed and properly documented, including but not limited to how client fees (if proposed) will be used by the applicant in meeting the non-federal cost-share (5 points); and (c) Performance-Based Budgeting. The extent to which the line-item budget and budget narrative relate to the accomplishment of the MBEC work requirements and performance measures (i.e., performance-based budgeting) (10 points). Bonus for Non-Federal Cost Sharing (maximum of 5 points): Proposals with non-federal cost sharing exceeding 20% of the total project costs will be awarded bonus points on the following scale: More than 20%—less than 25% = 1 point; 25% or more—less than 30% = 2 points; 30% or more—less than 35% = 3 points; 35% or more—less than 40% = 4 points; and 40% or more = 5 points. Non-federal cost sharing of at least 20% is required under the MBEC Program. Non-federal cost sharing is the portion of the total project cost not borne by the Federal Government and may be met by the applicant in any one or more of the following four means (or a combination thereof): (1) Client fees; (2) cash contributions; (3) non-cash applicant contributions; or, (4) third party in-kind contributions. 5. Oral Presentation—Optional (10 Points) Oral presentations are optional and held only when requested by MBDA. This action may be initiated for the top two (2) ranked applications. Oral presentations will be used to establish a final evaluation and ranking. The applicant’s presentation will be evaluated as to the extent to which the presentation demonstrates: (a) How the applicant will effectively and efficiently assist MBDA in the PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 4373 accomplishment of its mission (2 points); (b) Business operating priorities designed to manage a successful MBEC (2 points); (c) A management philosophy that achieves an effective balance between micromanagement and complete autonomy for its Project Director (2 points); (d) Robust search criteria for the identification of a Project Director (1 point); (e) Effective employee recruitment and retention policies and procedures (1 point); and (f) A competitive and innovative approach to exceeding performance requirements (2 points). Funding Priorities: Preference may be given during the selection process to applications which address the following MBDA funding priorities: (a) Proposals that include performance goals that exceed by 10% or more the minimum performance goal requirements in the FFO; (b) Applicants who demonstrate an exceptional ability to identify and work towards the elimination of barriers which limit the access of minority businesses to markets and capital; (c) Applicants who demonstrate an exceptional ability to identify and work with minority firms seeking to obtain large-scale contracts and/or insertion into supply chains with institutional customers; (d) Proposals that take a regional approach in providing services to eligible clients; or (e) Proposals from applicants with pre-existing or established operations in the identified geographic service area. Review and Selection Process 1. Initial Screening Prior to the formal paneling process, each application will receive an initial screening to ensure that all required forms, signatures and documentation are present. An application will be considered non-responsive and will not be evaluated by the review panel if it is received after the closing date for receipt of applications, the applicant fails to submit an original, signed Form SF–424 by the application closing date (paper applications only), or the application does not provide for the operation of a MBEC. Other application deficiencies may be accounted for through point deductions during panel review. 2. Panel Review Each application will receive an independent, objective review by a E:\FR\FM\26JAN1.SGM 26JAN1 4374 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 15 / Monday, January 26, 2009 / Notices panel qualified to evaluate the applications submitted. The review panel will consist of at least 3 persons, all of whom will be full-time federal employees and at least one of whom will be an MBDA employee, who will review the applications for a specified project based on the above evaluation criterion. Each reviewer shall evaluate and provide a score for each proposal. Each project review panel (through the panel Chairperson) shall provide the MBDA National Director (Recommending Official) with a ranking of the applications based on the average of the reviewers’ scores and shall also provide a recommendation regarding funding of the highest scoring application. 3. Oral Presentation—Upon MBDA Request MBDA may invite the two (2) topranked applicants to develop and provide an oral presentation. If an oral presentation is requested, the affected applicants will receive a formal communication (via standard mail, email or fax) from MBDA indicating the time and date for the presentation. Inperson presentations are not mandatory but are encouraged; telephonic presentations are acceptable. Applicants will be asked to submit a PowerPoint presentation (or equivalent) to MBDA that addresses the oral presentation criteria set forth above. The presentation must be submitted at least 24 hours before the scheduled date and time of the presentation. The presentation will be made to the MBDA National Director (or his/her designee) and up to three senior MBDA staff who did not serve on the original review panel. The oral panel members may ask follow-up questions after the presentation. MBDA will provide the teleconference dial-in number and pass code. Each applicant will present to MBDA staff only; competitors are not permitted to listen (and/or watch) other presentations. All costs pertaining to this presentation shall be borne by the applicant. MBEC award funds may not be used as a reimbursement for this presentation. MBDA will not accept any requests or petitions for reimbursement. The oral panel members shall score each presentation in accordance with the oral presentation criterion provided above. An average score shall be compiled and added to the score of the original panel review. 4. Final Recommendation The MBDA National Director makes the final recommendation to the Grants Officer regarding the funding of one application under this competitive VerDate Nov<24>2008 17:20 Jan 23, 2009 Jkt 217001 solicitation. MBDA expects to recommend for funding the highest ranking application, as evaluated and recommended by the review panel and taking into account oral presentations (as applicable). However, the MBDA National Director may not make any selection, or he/she may select an application out of rank order for the following reasons: (a) A determination that an application better addresses one or more of the funding priorities for this competition. The National Director (or his/her designee) reserves the right to conduct one or more site visits (subject to the availability of funding), in order to make a better assessment of an applicant’s capability to achieve the funding priorities; or (b) The availability of MBDA funding. Prior to making a final recommendation to the Grants Officer, MBDA may request that the apparent winner of the competition provide written clarifications (as necessary) regarding its application. Authority: 15 U.S.C. Section 1512 and Executive Order 11625. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA): 11.800, Minority Business Enterprise Centers. Intergovernmental Review: Applications under this program are not subject to Executive Order 12372, ‘‘Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs.’’ Limitation of Liability: Funding for the program listed in this notice is contingent upon the availability of FY 2009 appropriations. MBDA issues this notice subject to the appropriations made available under the current continuing resolution, H.R. 2638, ‘‘Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009,’’ Public Law 110–329. In no event will MBDA or the Department of Commerce be responsible for proposal preparation costs if the MBEC Program fails to receive funding or is cancelled because of Department of Commerce or MBDA priorities. All funding periods under the award are subject to the availability of funds to support the continuation of the project. Publication of this notice does not obligate MBDA or the Department of Commerce to award any specific project or to obligate any available funds. Universal Identifier: Applicants should be aware that they will be required to provide a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering system (DUNS) number during the application process. See the June 27, 2003 Federal Register notice (68 FR 38402) for additional information. PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Organizations can receive a DUNS number at no cost by calling the dedicated toll-free DUNS Number request line at 1–866–705–5711 or by accessing the Grants.gov Web site at http://www.Grants.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 February 11, 2008 (73 FR 7696) are applicable to this solicitation. Paperwork Reduction Act: This document contains collection-ofinformation requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). The use of Standard Forms 424, 424A, 424B, SF-LLL, and CD–346 have been approved by OMB under the respective control numbers 0348–0043, 0348–0044, 0348–0040, 0348–0046, and 0605–0001. 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 and an opportunity for public comment are not required by the Administrative Procedure Act for rules concerning public property, loans, grants, benefits, or 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. Dated: January 16, 2009. Edith J. McCloud, Associate Director for Management, Minority Business Development Agency. [FR Doc. E9–1525 Filed 1–23–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–21–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XL79 Marine Mammals; File No. 87–1591 AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and E:\FR\FM\26JAN1.SGM 26JAN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 15 (Monday, January 26, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 4370-4374]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-1525]



[[Page 4370]]

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

Minority Business Development Agency

[Docket No.: 090109014-9016-01]


Solicitation of Applications for the Minority Business Enterprise 
Center (MBEC) Program

AGENCY: Minority Business Development Agency, Commerce.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: On October 7, 2008, the Minority Business Development Agency 
(MBDA) published an announcement (73 FR 58555) soliciting competitive 
applications from organizations to operate a Minority Business 
Enterprise Center (MBEC) in Houston, TX for a new three (3) year award 
period, in accordance with 15 U.S.C. Section 1512 and Executive Order 
11625. However, the competition was deemed unsuccessful by MBDA due to 
a lack of responsive applications. This notice solicits competitive 
applications for a new operator of the Houston MBEC project and 
supersedes in its entirety the notice published on October 7, 2008.
    The Houston MBEC operates through the use of business consultants 
and provides a range of business consulting and technical assistance 
services directly to eligible minority-owned businesses in the Houston-
Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). 
Responsibility for ensuring that applications in response to this 
competitive solicitation are complete and received by MBDA on time is 
the sole responsibility of the applicant. Applications submitted must 
be to operate a MBEC and to provide business consultation services to 
eligible clients. Applications that do not meet these requirements will 
be rejected. This is not a grant program to help start or to further an 
individual business.

DATES: The closing date for receipt of applications is March 2, 2009 at 
5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST). Completed applications must be 
received by MBDA at the address below for paper submissions or at 
http://www.Grants.gov for electronic submissions. The due date and time 
is the same for electronic submissions as it is for paper submissions. 
The date that applications will be deemed to have been submitted 
electronically shall be the date and time received at Grants.gov. 
Applicants should save and print the proof of submission they receive 
from Grants.gov. Applications received after the closing date and time 
will not be considered. Anticipated time for processing is seventy-five 
(75) days from the closing date for receipt of applications. MBDA 
anticipates that one award under this notice will be made with a start 
date of June 1, 2009.
    Pre-Application Conference: In connection with this solicitation, a 
pre-application conference is scheduled for February 6, 2009 in 
Houston, TX. The time and location of the pre-application conference 
have yet to be determined. Participants must register at least 24 hours 
in advance of the conference and may participate in person or by 
telephone. Please visit the MBDA Internet Portal at http://www.mbda.gov 
(MBDA Portal) or contact an MBDA representative listed below for the 
specific time and location of the pre-application conference and for 
registration instructions.

ADDRESSES: (1a) Paper Submission--If Mailed: If the application is sent 
by postal mail or overnight delivery service by the applicant or its 
representative, one (1) signed original plus two (2) copies of the 
application must be submitted. Applicants are encouraged to also submit 
an electronic copy of the proposal, budget and budget narrative on a 
CD-ROM to facilitate the processing of applications. Complete 
application packages must be mailed to: Office of Business 
Development--MBEC Program, Office of Executive Secretariat, HCHB, Room 
5063, Minority Business Development Agency, U.S. Department of 
Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20230.
    Applicants are advised that MBDA's receipt of mail sent via the 
United States Postal Service may be substantially delayed or suspended 
in delivery due to security measures. Applicants may therefore wish to 
use a guaranteed overnight delivery service. Department of Commerce 
delivery policies for overnight delivery services require all packages 
to be sent to the address above.
    (1b) Paper Submission--If Hand-Delivered: If the application is 
hand-delivered by the applicant or by its representative, one (1) 
signed original plus two (2) copies of the application must be 
delivered. Applicants are encouraged to also submit an electronic copy 
of the proposal, budget and budget narrative on a CD-ROM to facilitate 
the processing of applications. Complete application packages must be 
delivered to: U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business 
Development Agency, Office of Business Development--MBEC Program 
(extension 1940), HCHB--Room 1874, Entrance 10, 15th Street, 
NW. (between Pennsylvania and Constitution Avenues), Washington, DC. 
MBDA will not accept applications that are submitted by the deadline, 
but that are rejected due to the applicant's failure to adhere to 
Department of Commerce protocol for hand-deliveries.
    (2) Electronic Submission: Applicants are encouraged to submit 
their proposal electronically at http://www.Grants.gov. Electronic 
submissions should be made in accordance with the instructions 
available at Grants.gov (see http://www.grants.gov/forapplicants for 
detailed information). MBDA strongly recommends that applicants not 
wait until the application deadline date to begin the application 
process through Grants.gov as, in some cases, the process for 
completing an online application may require 3-5 working days.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information or for an 
application package, please visit MBDA's Minority Business Internet 
Portal at http://www.mbda.gov. Paper applications may also be obtained 
by contacting the MBDA Office of Business Development or the MBDA 
National Enterprise Center (NEC) in the region in which the MBEC will 
be located (see below Agency Contacts). In addition, Standard Forms 
(SF) may be obtained by accessing http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants 
or http://www.grants.gov and Department of Commerce (CD) forms may be 
accessed at http://www.doc.gov/forms.
    Agency Contacts:
    1. MBDA Office of Business Development, 1401 Constitution Avenue, 
NW., Room 5075, Washington, DC 20230. Contact: Efrain Gonzalez, Chief, 
202-482-1940.
    2. Dallas National Enterprise Center (DNEC), 1100 Commerce Street, 
Room 726, Dallas, Texas, 75242. This region covers the states of 
Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, 
Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. Contact: John F. 
Iglehart, Regional Director, 214-767-8001.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    Electronic Access: A link to the full text of the Announcement of 
Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) for this solicitation may be accessed 
at: http://www.Grants.gov, http://www.mbda.gov, or by contacting the 
appropriate MBDA representative identified above. The FFO contains a 
full and complete description of the requirements under the MBEC 
Program. In order to receive proper consideration, applicants must 
comply with all information and requirements contained in the FFO. 
Applicants will be able to access, download and submit electronic grant 
applications for the MBEC Program through http://www.Grants.gov. MBDA

[[Page 4371]]

strongly recommends that applicants not wait until the application 
deadline date to begin the application process through Grants.gov as in 
some cases the process for completing an online application may require 
additional time (e.g., 3-5 working days). The date that applications 
will be deemed to have been submitted electronically shall be the date 
and time received at Grants.gov. Applicants should save and print the 
proof of submission they receive from Grants.gov. Applications received 
after the closing date and time will not be considered.
    Background: The MBEC Program is a key component of MBDA's overall 
minority business development assistance program and promotes the 
growth and competitiveness of eligible minority-owned businesses. MBEC 
operators leverage project staff and professional consultants to 
provide a wide range of direct business assistance services to eligible 
minority-owned firms, including but not limited to initial 
consultations and assessments, business technical assistance, and 
access to federal and non-federal procurement and financing 
opportunities. MBDA currently funds a network of 33 MBEC projects 
located throughout the United States. Pursuant to this notice, 
competitive applications for new awards are being solicited for the 
MBEC project identified below.
    MBDA originally made a three (3) year award for the operation of 
the Houston MBEC project for the period January 1, 2007--December 31, 
2009. See 71 FR 42352. The original award was subsequently terminated 
at the recipient's request effective January 1, 2009. On October 7, 
2008, MBDA published an announcement soliciting competitive 
applications for an operator of the Houston MBEC for a new three (3) 
year award period. See 73 FR 58555. However, the competition was deemed 
unsuccessful by MBDA due to a lack of responsive applications. This 
notice solicits competitive applications for a new operator of the 
Houston MBEC project and supersedes in its entirety the notice 
published on October 7, 2008. The new award for the Houston MBEC 
project is expected to be made with a three (3) year award period of 
June 1, 2009--May 31, 2012.
    Program Description: The MBEC Program generally requires project 
staff to provide standardized business assistance services directly to 
eligible ``minority business enterprises,'' with an emphasis on those 
firms with $500,000 or more in annual revenues and/or those eligible 
firms with ``rapid growth potential'' (``Strategic Growth Initiative'' 
or ``SGI'' firms); to develop and maintain a network of strategic 
partnerships; to provide collaborative consulting services with MBDA 
and other MBDA funded programs and strategic partners; and to provide 
referral services (as necessary) for client transactions. For this 
purpose, minority business enterprises are business concerns that are 
owned or controlled by the following persons or groups of person: 
African Americans, Puerto Ricans, Spanish-speaking Americans, Asian and 
Pacific Islander Americans, Native Americans (including Alaska Natives, 
Alaska Native Corporations and tribal entities), Eskimos, Aleuts, Asian 
Indians, and Hasidic Jews. See 15 CFR 1400.1 and Executive Order 11625.
    The MBEC Program incorporates an entrepreneurial approach to 
building market stability and improving the quality of client services. 
This entrepreneurial strategy expands the reach of the MBECs by 
requiring project operators to develop and build upon strategic 
alliances with public and private sector partners as a means of serving 
minority-owned firms within each MBEC's geographical service area. The 
MBEC Program is also designed to effectively leverage MBDA resources, 
including but not limited to: MBDA Office of Business Development and 
MBDA National Enterprise Centers; MBDA's Business Internet Portal; and 
MBDA's nationwide network of MBECs, Native American Business Enterprise 
Centers (NABECs) and Minority Business Opportunity Centers (MBOCs). 
MBEC operators are also required to attend a variety of MBDA training 
programs designed to increase operational efficiencies and the 
provision of value-added client services.
    MBEC operators are generally required to provide the following four 
client services: (1) Client Assessment--this is a standardized service 
activity that includes identifying the client's immediate and long-term 
needs and establishes a projected growth track; (2) Strategic Business 
Consulting--this involves providing intensive business consulting 
services that can be delivered as personalized consulting or group 
consulting; (3) Access to Capital--this assistance is designed to 
secure the financial capital necessary for client growth, and (4) 
Access to Markets--this involves assisting clients to identify and 
access opportunities for increased sales and revenues.
    Please refer to the FFO pertaining to this competitive solicitation 
for a full and complete description of the application and programmatic 
requirements under the MBEC Program.
    Location and Geographical Service Area: MBDA is soliciting 
competitive applications from organizations to operate an MBEC in the 
following location and geographical service area:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                       MBEC geographical
          Name of MBEC             Location of MBEC     service area **
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Houston MBEC....................  Houston, TX.......  Houston-Sugar Land-
                                                       Baytown, TX
                                                       MSA.**
------------------------------------------------------------------------
** Metropolitan Statistical Area, please see OMB Bulletin No. 09-01,
  Update of Statistical Area Definitions and Guidance on Their Uses
  (November 20, 2008) at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/bulletins.

    Eligibility: For-profit entities (including but not limited to 
sole-proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations), non-profit 
organizations, state and local government entities, American Indian 
Tribes, and educational institutions are eligible to operate an MBEC.
    Match Requirements: The MBEC Program requires a minimum non-federal 
cost share of 20%, which must be reflected in the proposed project 
budget. Non-federal cost share is the portion of the project cost not 
borne by the Federal Government. Applicants must satisfy the non-
federal cost sharing requirements in one or more of the following four 
means or any combination thereof: (1) Client fees; (2) applicant cash 
contributions; (3) applicant in-kind (i.e., non-cash) contributions; or 
(4) third-party in-kind contributions. The MBEC is required to charge 
client fees for services rendered and such fees must be used by the 
operator towards meeting the non-federal cost share requirements under 
the award. Applicants will be awarded up to five bonus points to the 
extent that the proposed project budget includes a non-federal cost 
share contribution, measured as a percentage of the overall project 
budget, exceeding 20% (see Evaluation Criterion below).
    Funding Availability: MBDA anticipates that approximately $291,000 
will be available in each of Fiscal Years (FYs) 2009--2011 to fund the 
financial assistance award for the Houston MBEC project. The total 
award period for the project is anticipated to be three (3) years and 
to cover the period June 1, 2009-May 31, 2012. The anticipated level of 
Federal funding and the minimum non-federal matching share for the 
Houston MBEC project for each funding period is set forth in the below 
table (the actual award amount may vary depending on the availability 
of appropriated funds and on MBDA and Department of Commerce 
priorities).

[[Page 4372]]



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                          June 1, 2009 through May 31, 2010     June 1, 2010 through May 31, 2011     June 1, 2011 through May 31, 2012
                                       -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Project name                                       Non- Federal                          Non- Federal                          Non- Federal
                                        Total cost    Federal    share  ($)   Total cost    Federal    share  ($)   Total cost    Federal    share  ($)
                                            ($)     share  ($)   (20% min.)       ($)     share  ($)   (20% min.)       ($)     share  ($)   (10% min.)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Houston MBEC..........................    363,750     291,000        72,500     363,750     291,000        72,500     363,750     291,000        72,500
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Applicants must submit project plans and budgets for each of the three 
(3) funding periods under this award (June 1, 2009--May 31, 2010, June 
1, 2010--May 31, 2011, and June 1, 2011--May 31, 2012). Projects will 
initially be funded for the first funding period and will not have to 
compete for funding in the second and third funding periods. However, 
operators that fail to achieve a ``Satisfactory'' or better performance 
rating for the current funding period may be denied funding for 
subsequent funding periods. Recommendations for funding for subsequent 
funding periods are generally evaluated by MBDA based on a 
``Satisfactory'' or better mid-year program performance rating (i.e., 
June 1, 20xx--November 30, 20xx) and/or a combination of a mid-year and 
cumulative third-quarter (i.e., June 1, 20xx--February 28, 20xx) 
``Satisfactory'' or better performance rating for the current funding 
period. In making such funding recommendations, MBDA and the Department 
of Commerce will consider the facts and circumstances of each case, 
such as but not limited to market conditions, most recent performance 
of the operator and other mitigating circumstances.
    Funding for the program listed in this notice is contingent upon 
the availability of FY 2009 appropriations. MBDA issues this notice 
subject to the appropriations made available under the current 
continuing resolution, H.R. 2638, ``Consolidated Security, Disaster 
Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009,'' Public Law 110-
329. 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 Department of Commerce or MBDA 
priorities. All funding periods under the award are subject to the 
availability of funds to support the continuation of the project. 
Publication of this FFO does not obligate the Department of Commerce or 
MBDA to award any specific cooperative agreement or to obligate all or 
any part of available funds.

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

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA): 11.800, Minority 
Business Enterprise Centers.
    Eligibility: For-profit entities (including but not limited to 
sole-proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations), non-profit 
organizations, state and local government entities, American Indian 
Tribes, and educational institutions are eligible to operate an MBEC.
    Match Requirements: The MBEC Program requires a minimum non-federal 
cost share of 20%, which must be reflected in the proposed project 
budget. Non-federal cost share is the portion of the project cost not 
borne by the Federal Government. Applicants must satisfy the non-
federal cost sharing requirements in one or more of the following four 
means or any combination thereof: (1) Client fees; (2) applicant cash 
contributions; (3) applicant in-kind (i.e., non-cash) contributions; or 
(4) third-party in-kind contributions. The MBEC is required to charge 
client fees for services rendered and such fees must be used by the 
operator towards meeting the non-federal cost share requirements under 
the award. Applicants will be awarded up to five bonus points to the 
extent that the proposed project budget includes a non-federal cost 
share contribution, measured as a percentage of the overall project 
budget, exceeding 20% (see Evaluation Criterion below).
    Evaluation Criterion: Proposals will be evaluated and one applicant 
may be selected based on the below evaluation criterion. The maximum 
total number of points that an application may receive is 105, 
including the bonus points for exceeding the minimum required non-
federal cost sharing, except when oral presentations are made by 
applicants. If oral presentations are made (see below: Oral 
Presentation--Optional), the maximum total of points that can be earned 
is 115. The number of points assigned to each evaluation criterion will 
be determined on a competitive basis by the MBDA review panel based on 
the quality of the application with respect to each evaluation 
criterion.

1. Applicant Capability (40 Points)

    Proposals will be evaluated with respect to the applicant's 
experience and expertise in providing the work requirements listed. 
Specifically, proposals will be evaluated as follows:
    (a) Community--Experience in and knowledge of the minority 
community, minority business sector, and strategies for enhancing its 
growth and expansion; particular emphasis shall be on expanding SGI 
firms. Consideration will be given as to whether the applicant has a 
physical presence in the geographic service area at the time of its 
application (4 points);
    (b) Business Consulting--Experience in and knowledge of business 
consulting with respect to minority firms, with emphasis on SGI firms 
in the geographic service area (5 points);
    (c) Financing--Experience in and knowledge of the preparation and 
formulation of successful financial transactions, with an emphasis on 
the geographic service area (5 points);
    (d) Procurements and Contracting--Experience in and knowledge of 
the public and private sector contracting opportunities for minority 
businesses, as well as demonstrated expertise in assisting clients into 
supply chains (5 points);
    (e) Financing Networks--Resources and professional relationships 
within the corporate, banking and investment community that may be 
beneficial to minority-owned firms (5 points);
    (f) Establishment of a Self-Sustainable Service Model--Summary plan 
to establish a self-sustainable model for continued services to the MBE 
communities beyond the MBDA award period (3 points);
    (g) MBE Advocacy--Experience and expertise in advocating on behalf 
of minority communities and minority businesses, both as to specific 
transactions in which a minority business seeks to engage and as to 
broad market advocacy for the benefit of the minority community at 
large (3 points); and
    (h) Key Staff--Assessment of the qualifications, experience and 
proposed role of staff that will operate the MBEC. In particular, an 
assessment will be

[[Page 4373]]

made to determine whether proposed key staff possess the expertise in 
utilizing information systems and the ability to successfully deliver 
program services. At a minimum the applicant must identify a proposed 
project director. (10 points).

2. Resources (20 Points)

    The applicant's proposal will be evaluated as followed:
    (a) Resources--Resources (not included as part of the non-federal 
cost share) that will be used in implementing the program, including 
but not limited to existing prior and/or current data lists that will 
serve in fostering immediate success for the MBEC (8 points);
    (b) Location--Assessment of the applicant's strategic rationale for 
the proposed physical location of the MBEC. Applicant is encouraged to 
establish a location for the MBEC that is in a building which is 
separate and apart from any of the applicant's existing offices in the 
geographic service area (2 points);
    (c) Partners--How the applicant plans to establish and maintain the 
network of strategic partners and the manner in which these partners 
will support the MBEC in meeting program performance goals (5 points); 
and
    (d) Equipment--How the applicant plans to satisfy the MBEC 
information technology requirements, including computer hardware, 
software requirements and network map (5 points).

3. Techniques and Methodologies (20 Points)

    The applicant's proposal will be evaluated as follows:
    (a) Performance Measures--For each funding period, the manner in 
which the applicant relates each performance measure to the financial 
information and market resources available in the geographic service 
area (including existing client list); how the applicant will create 
MBEC brand recognition (marketing plan); and how the applicant will 
satisfy program performance goals. In particular, emphasis may be 
placed on the manner in which the applicant matches MBEC performance 
goals with client service hours and how it accounts for existing market 
conditions in its strategy to achieve such goals (10 points);
    (b) Start-up Phase--How the applicant will commence MBEC operations 
within the initial 30-day period. The MBEC shall have thirty (30) days 
to become fully operational after an award is made (3 points); and
    (c) Work Requirement Execution Plan--The applicant will be 
evaluated on how effectively and efficiently staff time will be used to 
achieve the work requirements, particularly with respect to periods 
beyond the start-up phase (7 points).

4. Proposed Budget and Budget Narrative (20 Points)

    The applicant's proposal will be evaluated as follows:
    (a) Reasonableness, Allowability and Allocability of Proposed 
Program Costs. All of the proposed program costs expenditures should be 
discussed and the budget line-item narrative must match the proposed 
budget. Fringe benefits and other percentage item calculations should 
match the proposed budget line-item and narrative (5 points);
    (b) Non-Federal Cost Share. The required 20% non-Federal share must 
be adequately addressed and properly documented, including but not 
limited to how client fees (if proposed) will be used by the applicant 
in meeting the non-federal cost-share (5 points); and
    (c) Performance-Based Budgeting. The extent to which the line-item 
budget and budget narrative relate to the accomplishment of the MBEC 
work requirements and performance measures (i.e., performance-based 
budgeting) (10 points).
    Bonus for Non-Federal Cost Sharing (maximum of 5 points): Proposals 
with non-federal cost sharing exceeding 20% of the total project costs 
will be awarded bonus points on the following scale: More than 20%--
less than 25% = 1 point; 25% or more--less than 30% = 2 points; 30% or 
more--less than 35% = 3 points; 35% or more--less than 40% = 4 points; 
and 40% or more = 5 points. Non-federal cost sharing of at least 20% is 
required under the MBEC Program. Non-federal cost sharing is the 
portion of the total project cost not borne by the Federal Government 
and may be met by the applicant in any one or more of the following 
four means (or a combination thereof): (1) Client fees; (2) cash 
contributions; (3) non-cash applicant contributions; or, (4) third 
party in-kind contributions.

5. Oral Presentation--Optional (10 Points)

    Oral presentations are optional and held only when requested by 
MBDA. This action may be initiated for the top two (2) ranked 
applications. Oral presentations will be used to establish a final 
evaluation and ranking.
    The applicant's presentation will be evaluated as to the extent to 
which the presentation demonstrates:
    (a) How the applicant will effectively and efficiently assist MBDA 
in the accomplishment of its mission (2 points);
    (b) Business operating priorities designed to manage a successful 
MBEC (2 points);
    (c) A management philosophy that achieves an effective balance 
between micromanagement and complete autonomy for its Project Director 
(2 points);
    (d) Robust search criteria for the identification of a Project 
Director (1 point);
    (e) Effective employee recruitment and retention policies and 
procedures (1 point); and
    (f) A competitive and innovative approach to exceeding performance 
requirements (2 points).
    Funding Priorities: Preference may be given during the selection 
process to applications which address the following MBDA funding 
priorities:
    (a) Proposals that include performance goals that exceed by 10% or 
more the minimum performance goal requirements in the FFO;
    (b) Applicants who demonstrate an exceptional ability to identify 
and work towards the elimination of barriers which limit the access of 
minority businesses to markets and capital;
    (c) Applicants who demonstrate an exceptional ability to identify 
and work with minority firms seeking to obtain large-scale contracts 
and/or insertion into supply chains with institutional customers;
    (d) Proposals that take a regional approach in providing services 
to eligible clients; or
    (e) Proposals from applicants with pre-existing or established 
operations in the identified geographic service area.

Review and Selection Process

1. Initial Screening

    Prior to the formal paneling process, each application will receive 
an initial screening to ensure that all required forms, signatures and 
documentation are present. An application will be considered non-
responsive and will not be evaluated by the review panel if it is 
received after the closing date for receipt of applications, the 
applicant fails to submit an original, signed Form SF-424 by the 
application closing date (paper applications only), or the application 
does not provide for the operation of a MBEC. Other application 
deficiencies may be accounted for through point deductions during panel 
review.

2. Panel Review

    Each application will receive an independent, objective review by a

[[Page 4374]]

panel qualified to evaluate the applications submitted. The review 
panel will consist of at least 3 persons, all of whom will be full-time 
federal employees and at least one of whom will be an MBDA employee, 
who will review the applications for a specified project based on the 
above evaluation criterion. Each reviewer shall evaluate and provide a 
score for each proposal. Each project review panel (through the panel 
Chairperson) shall provide the MBDA National Director (Recommending 
Official) with a ranking of the applications based on the average of 
the reviewers' scores and shall also provide a recommendation regarding 
funding of the highest scoring application.

3. Oral Presentation--Upon MBDA Request

    MBDA may invite the two (2) top-ranked applicants to develop and 
provide an oral presentation. If an oral presentation is requested, the 
affected applicants will receive a formal communication (via standard 
mail, e-mail or fax) from MBDA indicating the time and date for the 
presentation. In-person presentations are not mandatory but are 
encouraged; telephonic presentations are acceptable. Applicants will be 
asked to submit a PowerPoint presentation (or equivalent) to MBDA that 
addresses the oral presentation criteria set forth above. The 
presentation must be submitted at least 24 hours before the scheduled 
date and time of the presentation. The presentation will be made to the 
MBDA National Director (or his/her designee) and up to three senior 
MBDA staff who did not serve on the original review panel. The oral 
panel members may ask follow-up questions after the presentation. MBDA 
will provide the teleconference dial-in number and pass code. Each 
applicant will present to MBDA staff only; competitors are not 
permitted to listen (and/or watch) other presentations.
    All costs pertaining to this presentation shall be borne by the 
applicant. MBEC award funds may not be used as a reimbursement for this 
presentation. MBDA will not accept any requests or petitions for 
reimbursement.
    The oral panel members shall score each presentation in accordance 
with the oral presentation criterion provided above. An average score 
shall be compiled and added to the score of the original panel review.

4. Final Recommendation

    The MBDA National Director makes the final recommendation to the 
Grants Officer regarding the funding of one application under this 
competitive solicitation. MBDA expects to recommend for funding the 
highest ranking application, as evaluated and recommended by the review 
panel and taking into account oral presentations (as applicable). 
However, the MBDA National Director may not make any selection, or he/
she may select an application out of rank order for the following 
reasons:
    (a) A determination that an application better addresses one or 
more of the funding priorities for this competition. The National 
Director (or his/her designee) reserves the right to conduct one or 
more site visits (subject to the availability of funding), in order to 
make a better assessment of an applicant's capability to achieve the 
funding priorities; or
    (b) The availability of MBDA funding.
    Prior to making a final recommendation to the Grants Officer, MBDA 
may request that the apparent winner of the competition provide written 
clarifications (as necessary) regarding its application.

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

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA): 11.800, Minority 
Business Enterprise Centers.
    Intergovernmental Review: Applications under this program are not 
subject to Executive Order 12372, ``Intergovernmental Review of Federal 
Programs.''
    Limitation of Liability: Funding for the program listed in this 
notice is contingent upon the availability of FY 2009 appropriations. 
MBDA issues this notice subject to the appropriations made available 
under the current continuing resolution, H.R. 2638, ``Consolidated 
Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 
2009,'' Public Law 110-329. In no event will MBDA or the Department of 
Commerce be responsible for proposal preparation costs if the MBEC 
Program fails to receive funding or is cancelled because of Department 
of Commerce or MBDA priorities. All funding periods under the award are 
subject to the availability of funds to support the continuation of the 
project. Publication of this notice does not obligate MBDA or the 
Department of Commerce to award any specific project or to obligate any 
available funds.
    Universal Identifier: Applicants should be aware that they will be 
required to provide a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering 
system (DUNS) number during the application process. See the June 27, 
2003 Federal Register notice (68 FR 38402) for additional information. 
Organizations can receive a DUNS number at no cost by calling the 
dedicated toll-free DUNS Number request line at 1-866-705-5711 or by 
accessing the Grants.gov Web site at http://www.Grants.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 February 11, 2008 (73 FR 
7696) are applicable to this solicitation.
    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, SF-LLL, and CD-346 have been 
approved by OMB under the respective control numbers 0348-0043, 0348-
0044, 0348-0040, 0348-0046, and 0605-0001. 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 and an opportunity for public comment are not required by the 
Administrative Procedure Act for rules concerning public property, 
loans, grants, benefits, or 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.

    Dated: January 16, 2009.
Edith J. McCloud,
Associate Director for Management, Minority Business Development 
Agency.
 [FR Doc. E9-1525 Filed 1-23-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-21-P