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U.S. Department of Commerce


In accordance with Public Law 95-507, all contracts over $1 million for construction and over $500,000 for other goods and services must have a subcontracting plan approved by the OSDBU prior to contract award. Goals for subcontracting awards to small, SDB, HUBZone, and women-owned firms are negotiated with prime contractors. The subcontract goal achievements are monitored semiannually, with annual reports submitted through SBA to the President of the United States. For detailed information please refer to the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) and specifically FAR section 52.219-9 'Small Business Subcontracting Plan'.

Minority Business

The OSDBU seeks to encourage a high profile for minority firms at the Department of Commerce by: actively searching for minority firms for all procurements and all Commerce programs, showcasing and counseling minority firms during ‘Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week’, establishing goals for high minority attendance at Commerce procurement functions, and counseling minority businesses on all Federal minority and technical programs. 

Please also visit the U.S. Department of Commerce's Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) website.


The Small Business Administration is charged with aiding small businesses in the process of obtaining government contracts and performing them successfully.


Such a program has mentor firms (prime contractors with active subcontracting plans) receiving incentives for entering into agreements with protege firms (various small business concerns). The agreements establish developmental assistance programs provided by the mentor firm for the protege firm. Commerce does not currently have a mentor-protege program. However, some other agencies such as the Department of Defense, NASA, Department of Energy, do have Mentor-Protege programs.

Grant and Loan Information

Commerce does not offer loans or grants to begin or expand a small business. As for loans, you might also consider contacting SBA (phone: 1-800-827-5722)(http://www.sba.gov) or your state government for programs that provide economic development business loans.

Various grant websites (not limited to small business) include:


The Javits-Wagner-O'Day (JWOD) program provides employment opportunities for over 36,000 Americans who are blind or have other severe disabilities by orchestrating government purchases of products and services provided by nonprofit agencies employing such individuals throughout the country. The Committee has designated National Industries for the Blind (NIB) and NISH (serving people with a range of disabilities) as the national nonprofit organizations that perform this and other functions that assist nonprofit agencies to participate in the JWOD program. The following link will take you to a list of JWOD Program Liaisons for each of the various federal agencies.

Manufacturing Extension Program

MEP is a nationwide network of not-for-profit Centers in over 400 locations nationwide, whose sole purpose is to provide small and medium-sized manufacturers with the help they need to succeed. The Centers, serving all 50 States, and Puerto Rico, are linked together through the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology. That makes it possible for even the smallest firms to tap into the expertise of knowledgeable manufacturing and business specialists all over the U.S.

Advanced Technology Program

The Advanced Technology Program program is designed to assist businesses in carrying out research and development on pre-competitive, generic technologies on a wide range of potential applications that can offer significant benefits to the nation’s economy. It provides technology development grants to single businesses, joint ventures, or independent research institutes.


Technology Transfer

Commerce has responded to Public Law 99-502 with policy that ensures that, where appropriate, the Department will transfer federally owned or originated technology to state and local governments and to the private sector. The OSDBU assists small businesses wishing to explore technology transfer opportunities with Commerce.

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program

SBIR is a highly competitive program that encourages small business to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation's R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs.

  • SBIR Program at NIST (U.S. Department of Commerce)

  • SBIR Program at NOAA (U.S. Department of Commerce)

DoC’s Implementation Plan for Executive Order 13329 “Encouraging Innovation in Manufacturing” pdf


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