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Partner Organizations

MEP has established itself as the connecting point for manufacturers, state and local governments, private sector resources, research organizations, and the federal government. To respond to this expanded need, MEP will develop new networks and partnerships that companies must have in order to realize an enduring competitive position in the global market. MEP will promote the transition from reactive strategies to the proactive pursuit of increased profits and overall growth by helping manufacturers understand the value of their marketable assets in light of these drivers.

In addition to the partnerships developed by NIST MEP, the MEP national network is made up of centers that have established key relationships with partner that include state organizations, universities, as well as state, local, and federal agencies. The shared passion and mission among these partnership is the strengthening of and commitment to U.S. manufacturers.

Small Business Administration (SBA)

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a program of the SBA that consist of 950 service centers that provide in-depth, one-on-one counseling to help improve opportunities for small business to be successful and to foster economic development. The program grant $88 million to colleges, universities, and state government who operate 63 lead centers.



Association for Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC)

The ASBDC is a trade association advocating for the SBDCs. They hold regional conferences as well as an annual national conference that features an incredible array of public, academic and industry partners.


Small Business Technology Development Centers (SBTDC)

The Small Business Technology Development Centers (SBTDC) assists companies with technology-related issues while identifying key growth areas.



SCORE, formerly known as the Service Corp of Retired Executives, is a volunteer organization which has 11,000 retired executives who provide management assistance to small businesses around the country.


Women’s Business Centers

Women’s Business Centers provides training and counseling geared towards social and economically disadvantaged women.

Office of Technology, Small Business Innovation & Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR)

Office of Technology, Small Business Innovation & Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) is responsible for oversight of SBIR and STTR programs. SBA does not have SBIR and STTR funds, but does work closely with major agencies such as NASA, NIH, and National Science Foundation to ensure the program objectives are being met.
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Office of Disaster Assistance

Office of Disaster Assistance manages the SBA disaster loan program. In FY 2005 almost 9,400 loans were provided to businesses and for Economic Injury Disaster. They also supply a handy “Open for Business” disaster planning toolkit for the small and mid-sized business owner produced by the Public Entity Risk Institute.

Office of Trade

Office of Trade coordinates with the Trade Promotion Coordination Committee made up of 19 agency programs to help with program collaboration on enterprise competitiveness assistance. 

U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration

NIST MEP and ETA collaborate to help US manufacturers address their workforce needs.  Numerous MEP centers partner with local and state Workforce Investment Boards to serve manufacturers, including skill development programs that help manufacturers to grow; layoff aversion programs to help SMEs address challenges that would otherwise place them at risk of layoffs; and sharing market intelligence to understand the labor market trends and opportunities that impact regional economies. 

Trade Adjustment Assistance Program

Trade Adjustment Assistance Program which focuses on redeployment and retraining services that are available to employees of firms who have faced trade-related adversity imbalances. The TAA also linked to WIRED areas in 19 states in the manufacturing sector where imports are increasing. Workers are eligible for several services including job training with a stipend, job search and relocation support. Through this program there are a myriad of programs for workers displaced by trade issues. The most commonly used benefit is the retraining services, which also features a 2-year stipend to help support the employee while they go through retraining. This is a billion dollar program with a substantial amount of the funding coming from unemployment insurance fees collected from employers. There is also the Alternative TAA which offsets a decrease in wages suffered from trade imbalances and a 65% health care premium tax credit. On Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration side of the program businesses that are displaced by trade imbalances receive technical and management assistance services.

Project Gate Initiative

The Project Gate initiative is targeted to help the unemployed micro enterprises get back to being productive members in local economic communities with the help of One Stop Career Centers

U.S. Export Import Bank/City/State Partner Program

Export Import (ExIm) Bank’s products and services offered include direct loans, loan guarantees, capital equipment loans and export credit insurance. The ExIm Bank strives to deliver 20% of their service and products to small businesses. The ExIm Bank offers a seminar every other month for exporters and financial institutions to learn more about the various products and services they offer.

For more information about Ex-Im Bank and their online processing of financial request go to

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Center for Veterans Enterprise

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Center for Veterans Enterprise offers counseling services to veteran-owned businesses. The VA Business Centers work mainly with start-up businesses. Their VetBiz call centers also refer small businesses to assistance programs such as the SBDC for more in-depth financial services. They have a Veteran Vendor Information database that registers veteran owned companies which has captured information on 13,000 veteran owned businesses. The VA estimates that there are 5 million Veteran-owned businesses in the U.S.


U.S. Department of Energy’s Industrial Technologies Program

U.S. Department of Energy’s Industrial Technologies Program works with U.S. industry to improve industrial energy efficiency and environmental performance. 

Their university-based Industrial Assessment Centers primarily concentrate on the chemical, steel, forest products and glass industries to conduct in-depth energy efficiency assessments. The IACs also offer manufacturers their best practices guidelines and self-assessment tools for potential energy savings. 

U.S. Department of Commerce/International Trade Administration

The Commercial Service supports and encourages U.S. exports to countries all over the world. They have a field network of 230 offices around the world and 108 domestic offices. They recently released their competitive study that will help exporters to define markets and get information on prospective distributors.

Market Development Cooperator Program

The Market Development Cooperator Program provides funding for non-profits interested in organizing overseas trade missions for U.S. businesses.


Office of Trade Promotion Programs/Middle East/North Africa Business Information Center

The Office of Trade Promotion Programs/Middle East/North Africa Business Information Center offers information on potential trade partners in this often overlooked part of the world, including the United Arab Emirates which has a trade surplus that holds an opportunity for U.S. exporters. 

Office of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

The Office of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) focuses on trade outreach and education. The IPR is currently partnering with the SBA to offer an online learning module to help firms navigate issues related to intellectual property rights. The learning module is slated to be released next year. 


U.S. Department of Commerce/Minority Business Development Agency

U.S. Department of Commerce/Minority Business Development Agency advocates for minority owned businesses and focuses on providing direct support for minority-owned businesses.

The Minority Business Enterprise Centers provide assistance to minority owned businesses of all sizes. MBDA focuses on high tech minority businesses, tech transfer and commercialization assistance and minority serving institutions to feed the high tech entrepreneur and workforce pipeline. MBDA also utilizes a web portal that directs minority businesses to a myriad of available resources. 


U.S. Department of Commerce/Economic Development Administration

U.S. Department of Commerce/Economic Development Administration supports feasibility studies and economic adjustment assistance due to economic development disruptions such as hurricanes. The EDA also operates the University Center Assistance program in partnership with 50 universities.


Trade Adjustment Assistance Centers

The Trade Adjustment Assistance Centers help firms deemed to be inalterably impacted by trade imbalances. The TAAC also provides workforce support for workers of the impacted firms. This side of TAAC is managed and operated through the DOL ETA.


U.S. Department of Commerce’s /Office of Civil Rights/Minority Serving Institution (MSI)

U.S. Department of Commerce’s /Office of Civil Rights/Minority Serving Institution (MSI) program advances equal opportunity in higher education, strengthens the capacity of MSI s to provide the highest quality education, and increase opportunities for MSI s to participate in and benefit from agency programs and activities. The MSI program offers funding to promote education, research and outreach of the program.

American Small Manufacturing Coalition

The American Small Manufacturing Coalition is a trade association advocating for the MEP program to improve the innovation and productivity of U.S. manufacturers. As the association for manufacturing extension agents, partnerships with other programs and organizations play an important role in helping manufacturers succeed.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has several programs that assist businesses in employing environmentally friendly practices.

The Pollution Prevention Control is a key policy in national environmental protection activities a number of partnerships including those with the State Pollution Prevention Technical Assistance Programs that work with local public and private partners across the country utilize publications, technical assistance and partnerships to disseminate information on pollution prevention processes.

Learn more at:

Green Suppliers Network has been actively collaborating with NIST MEP combining Lean and Green process improvement to enabling efficient pollution prevention in supply chains.

To learn more about the Green Suppliers Network go to their website at:

The National Center for Environmental Innovation (NCEI) focuses on voluntary activities that reduce the environmental footprint of businesses while improving their bottom line. The NCEI has produced information in this area to support Lean Manufacturing; they provide advocacy for firms in terms of working with conflicting regulatory policies and look for opportunities to partner with government agencies in support of innovative environmental policy.

For more information visit their website at:

Environmentally Preferable Purchase Program offers the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool to help purchasers buy greener computers. There is currently a push on to get more small businesses and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses (SDVOB) involved and getting their products EPEAT registered so they can increase their sales to the federal government and other purchasers interested in buying EPEAT registered products.

More information can be found about the EPP at:

Association for Technical Procurement Assistance Centers

The Association for Technical Procurement Assistance Centers supports the Procurement Technical Assistance Centers to provide businesses with training to help with Phase I and Phase II SBIR paperwork preparations. The PTAC has also packaged a basic RFID training seminar to help companies understand the new DOD requirements.

Learn more at:

Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs

The Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs represents the grant giving arm of DOJ that focuses on local partnerships to help with community crime prevention. They have programs to reach out and offer volunteer income tax preparation services as an entry point to gain attention for their Earned Income Tax Credit program, a program which is jointly administered by DOJ and the IRS. Their office also administers the Weed and Seed program. Through local Mayors’ and U.S. Attorneys’ offices they work with non-profit organizations to help them bring in resources to the most challenged areas to encourage economic development as a way to cut down on crime and lower law enforcement expenses.

Learn more about the community capacity development programs at

American Association of Community Colleges

Represents 1,200 accredited U.S. two-year community, junior and technical colleges as well as a growing number of international members in Puerto Rico, Japan, Great Britain, Korea, and the United Arab Emirates. AACC is the primary advocacy organization for community colleges at the national level and works closely with directors of state offices to inform and affect state policy. In addition, AACC collaborates with a wide range of entities within the higher education community to monitor and influence federal policy and to collaborate on issues of common interest. The association has ongoing interaction with key federal departments and agencies and supports and promotes its member colleges through policy initiatives, innovative programs, research and information and strategic outreach to business and industry and the national news media.  

U.S. Department of Agriculture/Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service

U.S. Department of Agriculture/Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service is in 3,150 counties across the U.S., most notably in rural areas where many times they are the lead organization reaching the smallest of businesses.

They have cooperative agreements associated with 112 colleges and universities. Last year, working with the Department of Homeland Security they launched the “Business Ready” disaster preparedness campaign with training materials that offered information on how to recover in the event of a disaster. The materials reflect varying degrees of expense and effort required for continuity of operations. The materials were disseminated with the help of local Chambers of Commerce.

Through the EDEN program CREES has been working on pandemic preparedness plans.

Information on CSREES and the Business Ready preparedness campaign can be found at ( and at the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) Home Page: