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Guide for the Submission of Unsolicited Proposals


The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) provides this information as a summary of the unsolicited proposal process. Parties that submit unsolicited proposals to MBDA are required to review current regulations to ensure the proposal meets MBDA and Department of Commerce requirements and the MBDA mission prior to submission. Please direct all unsolicited proposals and correspondence to:

Nakita Chambers
U.S. Department of Commerce
Minority Business Development Agency
1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Room 5079
Washington, DC 20230

MBDA accepts assistance from public and private agencies and organizations in accomplishing its mission and program objectives. MBDA is authorized under Executive Order 11625 (a) to implement Federal policy in support of the minority business enterprise program; (b) provide additional technical and management assistance to disadvantaged businesses; (c) to assist in pilot and demonstration projects that further the agency’s mission; and (d) to coordinate the participation of all Federal departments and agencies in an increased minority enterprise effort. Organizations are encouraged to submit proposals that are relevant to MBDA’s mission either in response to formal MBDA solicitations and funding opportunity announcements or through self-generated unsolicited proposals.


The unsolicited proposal is one method available to MBDA to conduct pilot or demonstration projects designed to overcome the special problems of minority business enterprises or otherwise to further the purposes of MBDA's mission. Pilot or demonstration projects conducted by public or private agencies or organizations may be conducted through unsolicited proposals funded through either competitive or noncompetitive actions. MBDA may choose to provide funding for unsolicited proposals using a contract or a grant. MBDA is under no obligation to provide funding for a meritorious, unsolicited proposal due to funding limitations or other program priorities.

An €œunsolicited proposal€ is a written application or proposal for a new or innovative idea that is submitted to an agency on the initiative of the offeror for the purpose of obtaining a funding from the agency. An unsolicited proposal is NOT a response to a Request for Proposals, Agency Announcement, Federal Funding Opportunity Announcement or any other Government-initiated solicitation or program.

A valid unsolicited proposal must:

  • Be innovative and unique;

  • Be independently originated and developed by the offeror. Unsolicited proposals in response to a publicized general statement of agency needs are considered to be independently originated;

  • Be prepared without Government supervision, endorsement, direction, or direct Government involvement;

  • Include sufficient detail to permit a determination that Government support could be worthwhile and the proposed work could benefit the agency's research and development or other mission responsibilities;

  • Not be an advance proposal for a known agency requirement that can be acquired by competitive methods; and

  • Not address a previously published agency requirement.

The following submissions are NOT considered unsolicited proposals:

  • Advertising material €“ Material designed to acquaint the Government with a prospective contractor's present products, services, or potential capabilities, or designed to stimulate the Government's interest in buying such products or services.

  • Commercial item offer €“ An offer of a commercial item that the vendor wishes to see introduced in the Government's supply system as an alternate or a replacement for an existing supply item. This term does not include innovative or unique configurations or uses of commercial items that are being offered for further development and that may be submitted as an unsolicited proposal.

  • Contribution €“ A concept, suggestion, or idea presented to the Government for its use with no indication that the source intends to devote any further effort to it on the Government's behalf.


Interested parties are allowed to make preliminary contact with agency technical or other appropriate personnel before preparing a detailed unsolicited proposal or submitting proprietary information to the Government in order to save time and effort. MBDA may respond to contact from interested parties in any of the following ways:

  • Industry or small business conferences;

  • Public hearings;

  • Market research;

  • One-on-one meetings;

  • Draft RFPs or RFIs;

  • Presolicitation notices and preproposal conferences; and

  • Site visits.

MBDA will make at least the following information available to potential offerors of unsolicited proposals:

  • Definition of unsolicited proposal and content acceptable for evaluation;

  • Requirements regarding prospective contractors and organizational conflicts of interest;

  • Guidance on preferred method for submitting ideas/concepts to the Government;

  • Agency points of contact for information regarding advertising, contributions, and other types of transactions similar to unsolicited proposals;

  • Information sources on agency objectives and areas of potential interest;

  • Procedures for submission and evaluation of unsolicited proposals; and

  • Instructions for identifying and marking proprietary information so that it is protected and restrictive legends conform to FAR Part 15.609.


Noncompetitive applications may be submitted for pilot and demonstration projects. In accepting an unsolicited proposal for pilot and demonstration projects, MBDA may decide on the appropriate award instrument based on Department of Commerce policy and the Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act (31 U.S.C. sec. 6301-08). The MBDA National Director will make the determination that full and open competition is not required.


MBDA grants, cooperative agreements, and pilot projects also are funded as competitive awards. MBDA provides funding on a competitive basis to organizations and institutions through the MBDA Business Center program. The funding opportunities for the MBDA Business Center program are announced by formal funding opportunity announcements posted on Grants.gov. Parties interested in obtaining information regarding the competitive financial assistance program for MBDA Business Centers may contact:

Nakita Chambers
U.S. Department of Commerce
Minority Business Development Agency
Office of Business Development
1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Room 5079
Washington, DC 20230

Additional information regarding MBDA competitive financial assistance programs can be found on MBDA’s website at http://www.mbda.gov/main/grantcompetitions.


MBDA may provide funding for an unsolicited proposal using the federal contract process contained in FAR part 15.6, Unsolicited Proposals.