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Memorandum of Understanding between the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) agree to enter into this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the 24th day of September 2002. This partnership will support and foster collaborative efforts between MBDA and NIST designed to increase the competitiveness and viability of Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs).


The purpose of this partnership is to:

  • leverage the expertise, service delivery and networks of the two organizations;
  • share knowledge; and
  • develop strategies to increase the number of minority businesses participating in NIST programs, services and contracting opportunities.


National Institute of Standards and Technology: The National Institute of Standards and Technology is a non-regulatory federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce's Technology Administration. Founded in 1901, NIST's mission is to develop and promote measurements, standards, and technology to enhance productivity, facilitate trade, and improve the quality of life. NIST employs about 3,000 scientists, engineers, business specialists, economists and administrative personnel.

NIST carries out its mission in four major programs: The Advanced Technology Program (ATP) which provides early stage investment to accelerate the development of innovative technologies by the private sector; the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) consists of federally funded extension centers to help small manufacturers improve their capabilities and performance; the Baldrige National Quality Program (BNQP), associated with the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, which recognizes business performance excellence and quality achievement by U.S. businesses, healthcare and educational organizations, and health care providers; and the NIST Laboratories that provide technical leadership for vital components of the nation's technology infrastructure needed by U.S. industry to continually improve its products and services. (Appendix A)

Minority Business Development Agency: The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is the only Federal agency created to foster the establishment and growth of minority owned businesses in America. MBDA is committed to increasing the competitive participation of minority entrepreneurs in commerce nationally and internationally. MBDA has provided management and technical assistance and information to, and advocacy for, minority-owned businesses for over 30 years. MBDA has the lead role in the Federal Government in coordinating minority business programs.

MBDA assists minority individuals to establish and grow businesses by helping them to obtain capital and access to the marketplace. In addition, MBDA has both local and national level networks of 45 minority business development centers, five regional offices and four district offices nationwide. MBDA funds minority and Native American Business Development Centers, Minority Business Opportunity Committees, and Business Resource Centers. MBDA has established relationships with national and local minority and mainstream business organizations, with corporations and financial institutions, and with federal government officials, including procurement officials.

IV. MBDA/NIST Objectives

The following paragraphs set forth the specific objectives of this MOU which are to help build awareness between NIST and MBDA and provide increased outreach assistance, as needed, to Minority Business Enterprises that can be served through NIST and MBDA:


Manufacturing Extension Program

  • Develop an outreach template designed to familiarize minority-owned manufacturers with industry trends and inform these companies of the services provided through the MEP network.
  • If the parties determine that such a program is required, develop and implement a pilot training program for minority manufacturers designed to improve the operational capacity of these companies. This program could include training with respect to ISO, other manufacturing or quality certifications and general trends in the corporate and government supply chains. This program should have clear objectives, benchmarks and goals, so that the program's success can be measured.
  • Develop and/or reinforce the local partnerships between the MBDA regional offices, and the MEP Centers within those regions.

Advanced Technology Program

  • Develop a strategy to identify minority businesses that may benefit from awards under the ATP.
  • Develop and implement an outreach strategy to increase MBE awareness of the Advanced Technology Program and its resources.
  • Develop a process to refer eligible minority business to the Program.
  • Implement a tracking/monitoring mechanism for ATP-funded MBEs, with the objective of having these businesses reviewed by the venture capital community, at MBDA's request, for subsequent rounds of funding.
  • Educate selected staff and MBDA Centers about ATP and the R&D funding opportunities for "entrepreneurs" ATP offers.
  • Participate in MBDA meetings, such as Minority Enterprise Development Week (MED Week), for the purpose of providing information on NIST and when appropriate, ATP will request participation by a minority.
  • Coordinate and invite MBDA to participate in ATP outreach efforts involving minority businesses and educational institutions for the purpose of stimulating technology knowledge within the minority community.

Office of International and Academic Affairs

  • Develop a communication process to familiarize MBDA partners through the Office of International and Academic Affairs (OIAA) with components of the global economy including foreign policies, multilateral agreements.
  • Introduce MBDA partners to the Inter-American Metrology System (SIM) of 34 developing and developed countries and, if required, find possible ways for these partners to assist SIM.
  • Act as a liaison between MBDA partners and research universities including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to foster collaboration through the OIAA.
  • Coordinate visits and meetings of MBDA and its partners to NIST Laboratories for possible collaboration and assistance through the OIAA.
  • Communicate foreign policy issues to MBDA partners as they relate to measurement standards.

Additional NIST Opportunities

  • Provide additional outreach activities for notifying MBEs of NIST contracting opportunities through the office of Acquisition and Logistics Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization Department.
  • Assist in identifying minority companies that can compete for these opportunities.
  • Provide selected MBDA staff with the opportunity to learn about the principles and guidelines of the Baldrige National Quality Program.


  • Quantify geographic concentrations of minority-owned manufacturers and assess the specific needs of the minority market place as they relate to the strengths of the various NIST programs.
  • Work with MEP to help define the minority manufacturing market and determine the critical areas of expertise needed most.
  • Conduct outreach to appropriate segments of the minority market space (including, but not limited to minority manufacturers), and related organizations.
  • Provide general business assistance, including strategies for obtaining financing to current MEP minority manufacturing clients.


MOU Term: The MOU will remain in effect for one year, will be reviewed annually, and may be renewed by mutual agreement. The MOU may be terminated by either party upon ten days written notice.

Non-Exclusivity: The parties agree that this MOU is non-exclusive and nothing contained herein prevents either party from entering into similar agreements with any third party. If any terms of this MOU are inconsistent with existing authorities or directives of either of the Agencies entering into this MOU, those portions of this MOU that are determined to be inconsistent shall be invalid; the remaining terms and conditions shall remain in full force and effect.

Relationship of Parties: Nothing herein shall be construed to create any joint venture or similar relationship or to subject the parties to any implied duties or obligations respecting the conduct of their affairs that are not expressly stated herein. Neither party shall have any right or authority to assume or create any obligation or responsibility, either expressed or implied, on behalf of or in the name of the other party, or to bind the other party in any matter whatsoever. Neither party shall be deemed to be an agent or principal of the other.

Funding: No funds are transferred under this MOU. Each party is responsible for any costs that it incurs in the performance of this MOU.


For the Minority Business Development Agency:

  • An opportunity to identify and establish long-term relationships in areas that are strategically important to both organizations (e.g. Issues related to minority-owned manufacturing enterprises, research & development, creating greater access to government resources for high-growth minority businesses, etc.)
  • A conduit for the MBDA to collaborate with the NIST Laboratories and Extramural/outreach programs (i.e. MEP, ATP, Office of International and Academic Affairs, Baldrige, etc.)
  • An opportunity to create greater awareness of MBDA services within NIST, including the MEP network and the manufacturing sector at large

For the National Institute of Standards and Technology:

  • Access and insight to the factors which drive the needs of minority-based industries and opportunities for collaboration within specific areas of need
  • Enhanced collaboration in areas of mutual interest to both NIST and MBDA
  • Enhanced interaction with minority-based industries and research organizations

For the Nation:
The NIST/MBDA partnership will provide the nation with a new and productive industry collaboration between federal agencies

  • The success of this partnership will demonstrate the benefits that derive from the formation of collaborative efforts between agencies
  • The partnership will promote greater access to industry and technology knowledge by minority-owned businesses
  • The collaboration between NIST and MBDA will further leverage taxpayers dollars, while helping to improve the economy


Arden Bement, Director
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Ronald N. Langston, National Director Minority Business Development Agency
Released September 26, 2002, Updated January 23, 2023