Don Chapman with the Minority Business Development Agency discusses the panel review process for MBDA Business Center grant applications.
Every application receives an initial screening to make sure that all required forms, signatures and documentation are present. It’s imperative that you complete this paperwork and documentation.
There is a check list included in the Announcement of federal Funding Opportunity for you to follow to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Any application that is not for the operation of a MBDA Business Center will be rejected and will not be recommended for panel review.
In addition, any application that does not include the required forms and documentation will either lose points or not be evaluated, depending on what was omitted.
It’s also important that you get the entire application turned in on time – anything received after the closing date and time also will not be evaluated.
Independent Merit Review
After that initial screening, each application goes through an independent, merit review by a panel of at least three qualified business development experts who are full-time federal employees. At least one panelist for each application will be an MBDA employee.
Applications are reviewed for each specified project based on the evaluation criterion published in the Announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity. The panel will review, evaluate and provide a score for each MBDA Business Center grant application.
MBDA Regional Directors Review
After the panel reviews the applications, MBDA Regional Directors then review panel recommendations and the applications for MBDA Business Centers located within their geographical service area. A listing of the regional service area is available on MBDA’s website.
The Regional Directors then provide a written memorandum to the MBDA Selecting Official – in this case, the MBDA National Director.
Finally, the recommendations are provided to the Department of Commerce Grants Officer who then awards the selected applicant.
The anticipated time for processing awards is generally 140 days from the closing date.
The selected MBDA Business center grant awardee will receive information from the Grants Officer on how to accept the grant electronically.
MBDA will notify unsuccessful applicants, in writing, after a final selection has been made and after an offer has been accepted.
If you have more questions about how MBDA scores and panels the MBDA Business Center grants program, please email MBDABusinessCenter@mbda.gov