Accessibility Information

Users of assistive technologies such as screen readers should use the following link to activate Accessibility Mode before continuing: Learn more and Activate accessibility mode.

Regional Innovation Cluster Initiative Services

Solicitation Number: SBAHQ-14-R-0007
Agency: Small Business Administration
Office: Office of Chief Finanical Officer- Aquisition Division
Location: SBA Contracting
  • Print
Sources Sought
Added: May 01, 2014 5:28 pm

The SBA, Office of Entrepreneurial Development, has a need for professional support of its Regional Innovation Clusters Program.

The NAICS code for this requirement is 541690, Other Scientific and Technical Consulting Services, with a size standard of $14 Million. The Product Service Code is R499, Support - Professional - Other.

Market Research: The purpose of this Sources Sought Notice is to perform market research to determine if there are two or more small businesses that are technically able and have sufficient professional experience to lead a cluster and deliver required business services.

Requirement Background: The SBA is investing in regional clusters throughout the United States. Clusters are geographic concentrations of interconnected companies and institutions in a particular field. These clusters span a variety of industries that include energy, manufacturing, agriculture, and advanced defense technologies. The goal of the Agency's involvement in clusters is to increase small business participation and economic activity.

A cluster initiative serves as an organizing entity. The cluster activities increase opportunities for small businesses to participate, promote innovation within the chosen industry, and generally enhance regional economic growth.

Cluster initiatives build off organic clusters by purposely integrating small, medium, and large companies, non-profit organizations, and universities for business funding and research opportunities that create jobs, attract capital, and have long-term, positive economic impact.

Each cluster provides the small business community with matchmaking opportunities, business training, counseling, and mentoring - all to assist small business growth and increased economic activity.

Successful cluster initiative proposals will include partnerships with and between business and industry groups, academic institutions, economic development organizations, entrepreneurial education programs, and training initiatives - and will reflect an industry-specific or region-specific focus and collaboration.

This Acquisition Need: The SBA intends to award three to four contracts to contractors to head cluster initiatives. Each contract will be for a base year and four option years. The base year is expected to be for a firm-fixed, not-to-exceed (level-of-effort) price of approximately $500,000 to $600,000. Travel costs and event costs will be included in the negotiated firm-fixed, not-to-exceed price. The contractor will also provide fully loaded labor rates for a Program Director, Program Manager, Project Manager, and Technical Business Advisor for each year. The rates for the base year will be used to determine that the offered firm-fixed, level-of-effort price is fair and reasonable. The option year rates will be used to negotiate the option year firm-fixed, not-to-exceed price once a budget is established.

It is expected that in response to the Combined Synopsis/Solicitation, Contractor's proposal shall include the details of its proposed cluster activities - the region to be focused on and the industry to be enhanced. Proposals will be ranked more highly that focus on a regional cluster not being currently supported through active SBA contracts. However, this Sources Sought Notice is for market research purposes only, and a response to this notice need not include a proposal.

It is expected that a Combined Synopsis/Solicitation for this contractual need will be issued on or about May 27, 2014.

Response Requested: Contractor's response shall include the following information in the following order:
1. The full name of Contractor, Contractor's DUNS number, address, two points-of-contact with both email addresses and telephone numbers;
2. Contractor's socio-economic status and the related NAICS code of 541690 for which Contractor is registered in the System for Award Management (SAM);
3. A description of Contractor's core business, including its core competencies and services it currently provides.
4. A Description of Contractor's relevant experience in performing services covered by NAICS code 541690. Include any relevant contract numbers, Government or business names of parties, periods of performance, and value of contract. Include any GSA Schedule or other Government contracting vehicle to which contractor is a schedule holder or party. For each contract reported, include whether Contractor was the Prime Contractor.
5. Contractor's proposed region(s) and industry(ies) of focus.
6. A description of Contractor's expertise, abilities, and approach as it relates to cluster initiatives. Contractor shall address how it will provide at least three of the following services to small businesses involved in the cluster:
• Business training,
• Business counseling/consulting,
• Mentoring,
• Technology transfer counseling/consulting,
• Commercialization of existing research and development (R&D) counseling/consulting,
• Engagement with Department of Defense, Department of Energy, or other Federal Agency's Small Business Innovative Research & Development Programs,
• Export readiness counseling/consulting,
• Support for underserved communities, or
• Other services related to small businesses.

In its response to this notice, Contractor shall also address how it will link small businesses with other small and large businesses, technology, development and financing opportunities, as well as initiatives to establish mentoring, matchmaking, and networking opportunities with seasoned entrepreneurs to help potential high-growth small businesses. This may include, but is not limited to, the following services:
• Build customer bases with Department of Defense, Department of Energy, or other Federal Agency's Contracting, Procurement, and Programing offices,
• Build networks and partnerships,
• Provide opportunities for showcasing and demonstration,
• Assist in market development in the region and beyond,
• Assist in ascertaining Department of Defense, Department of Energy, or other Federal Agency technology development requirements and priorities, matching and operationalizing cluster technology and capabilities to best meet these needs, and
• Facilitate opportunities for accessing new resources and markets.

In its response to this notice, Contractor shall also address how the proposed cluster initiative will align itself with emerging entrepreneurial growth initiatives, and/or other Federal Agency programming to catalyze high potential industries. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Incorporation or linkage to an accelerator program,
• Brokering of public/private partnerships to enhance the entrepreneurial ecosystem with the cluster,
• Alignment with rapid prototyping centers (e.g. Maker Spaces),
• A focus on advanced industries which include, but are not limited to, manufacturing, electronics, robotics, defense systems, power/energy innovations, cyber security,
• Involvement with the National Export Initiative, and
• Involvement with the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation.

Contractor's Response Format and Dates: Responses shall be in English, printable by electronic media on one side of the paper, use 12-point font of any type, and be either single or double-spaced. Responses shall be sent as a pdf file attachment to an email to the Contracting Officer's email address no later than the date and time provided in this notification. The responses shall be limited in size to (1) 10 pages printed on one side, and (2) 10 megabytes total - both email message and attachment - in order to protect the Contracting Officer's email capacity. Do not include formatting that requires large megabyte support. Any graphs or tables included count toward the page limitation.

General/Related Information: A solicitation/RFP is not being issued at this time, and this notice shall not be construed as a commitment of any nature by the Government. No contract will be awarded as a result of this Sources Sought Notice. A request for solicitation/RFP documents will not receive a response. All costs associated with providing information as requested by this Sources Sought Notice shall be the responsibility of the Contractor. This Notice does not restrict the Government in any way to a particular acquisition approach.

Submit the information requested above (response) by email to Cheryl T. Flanagan, Contracting Officer, , no later than 5 p.m., Mountain Time, on May 21, 2014.


409 Third Street, S.W.
Washington, District of Columbia 20416
United States
Cheryl T. Flanagan,
Contracting Officer
Phone: 3038442035