Have Your Member Companies Lost Customers?
Trade associations and other business groups report that many of their member companies continue to see sluggish sales to their U.S. customer base. With a more global outlook, many U.S. firms are able to replace lackluster U.S. orders with foreign ones. Sometimes all they need is a nudge in the right direction from a group that they trust like their association, a state economic development agency, or a chamber of commerce. These kinds of industry groups are eligible to receive MDCP financial assistance awards. Groups considering applying for funding should contact Brad.Hess@trade.gov.
2011 Competition Likely to Open March 16
The opening date for the 2011 competition will be the date that the opportunity notice, or FFO, is published. The due date for applications will probably be six weeks after the FFO publication. During this competition period International Trade Administration staff can continue to respond to requests for information and referral from potential MDCP applicants; however, ITA staff cannot offer opinions on applicants project ideas or suggest project ideas. This March 16 to April 27 competition period will almost certainly be the actual period identified in the FFO when it is published on grants.gov. The FFO for 2011will be fairly similar to the FFO for 2010.
Prior to the Competition Opening Applicants Are Encouraged to Brainstorm with ITA
MDCP awards are cooperative agreements, not grants. We at ITA will work with MDCP award winners to help accomplish project work. So using appropriate ITA staff as a sounding board for project ideas is something we encourage applicants to do. Prior to the competition period, there are no restrictions on the amount or depth of scrutiny ITA officials can provide applicants. However, once the competition period begins, as noted above, restrictions apply.
Likely Due Date for 2011 Competition: April 27
Because the publication of the FFO will very likely happen on March 16, the due date for applications will be April 27, 2011. March 16 UPDATE: As soon as the FFO is posted on grants.gov, we will link to it here.
Delays in 2011 Competition Launch Have Been Administrative not Budgetary
We project the expected competition launch and due dates in order to keep potential applicants apprised of the earliest dates that restrictions on discussions with ITA officials will be imposed. See FAQs 5, 6, 7, and 31.) Several parties within the Department of Commerce must review and approve the FFO. It is impossible to know in advance how long each party will take or what revisions each review might require. We try to provide the earliest possible FFO publication date. Because this date is only a best guess based on the most optimistic projection of how long the FFO processing will take, it changes each day.
Total Funds Likely to be Available for 2011 MDCP Awards: $2 to $4 Million
The $2 to $4 million likely to be available for the 2011 compeition is in line with traditional program funding levels. This level is not as great as the $15 m for MDCP that Congress had authorized in the Small Business Jobs Act passed in autumn 2010; however, Congress did not approve funding for this higher amount. See program funding for more details. We have no indication that Congress plans to appropriate the $15 m authorized in the bill, so we are planning on a total pool of award funds of between $2 m and $4 m for the 2011 competition.
December 1: Partnering to Double Exports
On Decenber 1, 2010, about 175 association executives and other interested parties joined Secretary Locke and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) to explore the theme "Partnering to Double Exports." In addition to highlighting the objectives of the National Export Initiative, the event served as a sort of "coming out party for MDCP" as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Manufacturing and Services Nicole Lamb-Hale put it. Read more about this biggest-ever MDCP outreach event.
Five Awards from 2010 MDCP Competition
On September 28, 2010, Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke announced five MDCP awards. See Secretary Locke's press release for a list of the winners. Many of the 50 proposals were worthy of an award. However, funding constraints limited the number of winners to five.
MDCP Supports the National Export Initiative.
On March 9th, 2010, ITA issued a press release, detailing ways in which MDCP supports the National Export Initiative.
Secretary Locke Relates Exports to Job Growth.
In a January 15, 2010, speech delivered in Anchorage, Secretary Locke noted that every $180,000 increase in exports creates one U.S. job. Refer to the study on jobs and exports for more information.
How to Know if You Are On Our Email Contact List
If you received an email on March 9 then you are on the list. If you did not receive an email and you have not received an email since then notifying you that you are on the list, please email Mr. Marvin Watkins at Marvin.Watkins@trade.gov and request to be added to the contact list.
Who from ITA Should Advise You On Designing an MDCP Project
In addition to MDCP Director Brad Hess potential applicants should contact other ITA staff as set forth on line 4 of Step-by-Step Application Process.
Designed for Non-Profit Applicants, Not Individual Businesses
MDCP is designed for non-profits, trade associations, etc. that represent an industry. It is not designed for individual companies. For more information about eligibility for financial assistance programs other than MDCP, visit the eligibility page of grants.gov.