Frequently Asked Questions

Provided below are a number of frequently asked questions on the Small Business Applied Research (SBAR) Program. If you have additional questions, please contact SBAR@usaid.gov.

  1. What are the eligibility requirements for the Small Business Applied Research Program?
  2. Am I required to share my intellectual property with USAID?
  3. The Pre-Proposal Conference announcement indicates that SBAR is a field-based initiative. If the proposed pilot is a software application, can the development work be performed at the proposer's location and then implemented or supported in the field as necessary, or must all work be performed in the recipient country?
  4. What is the timeframe for the commencement of any award?
  5. What is the total amount of funding allocated to this BAA?
  6. If the proposed solution proves successful in its BAA-designated location, will there be the potential to expand its use to other USAID missions orOperating Units where it might provide similar benefits?
  7. Can R&D provided to non-U.S. government agencies be used as evidence of eligibility – or can R&D provided to international development agencies, NGOs, foreign governments or private companies also be included to meet the eligibility requirement?
  8. Regarding the estimated activity cost of $100,000 to $3m, would this range apply to each of the problem statements, or would all problem statements be included in this amount?
  9. Can a small business prime include a small-business sub on its submission?
  10. Does the Apparently Successful Partner have to demonstrate capacity in all development areas cited (smallholder agriculture, etc.)?
  11. Would there be a single award for all problem statements and the countries targeted, or would each Mission or Operating Unit issue separate awards?
  12. Do nonprofits qualify for the program? (The organization submitting the question is a social enterprise that sells services, but is legally structured as a non-profit.)

 1. What are the eligibility requirements for the Small Business Applied Research Program?

Response: This solicitation is limited to U.S. small businesses. Proof of Small Business Administration (SBA) certification verifying small business status is mandatory and must accompany each response to this solicitation (Concept paper submissions). Information regarding SBA certification is available here.

For the purposes of this BAA, a U.S. small business is defined as follows; this definition is consistent with U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) standards. In order to qualify for this BAA, a U.S. small business must:

  • Be organized for profit;
  • Have a place of business in the US;
  • Operate primarily within the U.S. or makes a significant contribution to the U.S. economy through payment of taxes or use of American products, materials, or labor;
  • Be independently owned and operated;
  • Not dominant in the field of operation in which it is bidding on government contracts;
  • Be a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or any other legal form; and
  • Meet SBA size standards (see Size Standards and the Size Standards Tool)

 2. Am I required to share my intellectual property with USAID?

Response: Through this initiative, USAID seeks to facilitate research and development that will lead to innovative, and potentially commercially-viable, solutions. In recognition of the sensitive nature of organizations’ information, USAID will work with businesses to protect intellectual property.

All Concept Papers, Preliminary and Final, must be free of any intellectual property that the organization wishes to protect from disclosure outside of USAID, as the Concept Papers may be shared with USAID partners and stakeholders, including other federal agencies, outside subject matter experts, and local/host government representatives, as part of the evaluation process.

However, once an organization has been identified as a presumptive awardee, organizations may work with USAID to identify and further protect proprietary information that may be incorporated into the contract.

If USAID further engages with a business regarding its submission, the parties can negotiate further intellectual property protection for intellectual property arising from the award. Recognizing that an objective of this program is to allow for the development of U.S. small business concerns that provide innovative solutions for international development, USAID anticipates that it will agree not to disclose data delivered under any resulting contract outside the Government (including disclosure for procurement purposes) without permission of the contractor.


 3. The website indicates that SBAR is a field-based initiative. If the proposed pilot is a software application, can the development work be performed at the proposer's location and then implemented or supported in the field as necessary, or must all work be performed in the recipient country?

Response: The purpose of stating that this is a field-based initiative was to ensure that organizations understand that the implementation is overseas. In the solution described, it could be appropriate for some work to be performed in the U.S. That would be subject to negotiation with the respective mission or Operating Unit.


 4. What is the timeframe for the commencement of any awarded pilot?

Response: It was envisioned that the estimated timeframe could range between 1 - 3 years, but that is not a firm range. The final timeframe is dependent upon the solution proposed and budget, and subject to negotiation with the mission or operating unit. Short-term demonstration projects might be of interest to the mission or operating unit. Please pose this question to the respective email address for the problem statement of interest.


 5. What is the total amount of funding allocated to this BAA?

Response: Funding varies by mission/operating unit and problem statement. Budget ranges are indicated in the appendix where problem statements are described.


 6. If the pilot solution proves successful in its BAA-designated location, will there be the potential to expand its use to other USAID mission countries or Operating Units where it might provide similar benefits?

Response: A successful demonstration project may have potential for expansion depending on the availability of funding; consistency with mission, operating unit, or regional priorities; and other factors. However, it is not guaranteed that a successful demonstration project will be expanded.


 7. Can R&D provided to non-U.S. government agencies be used as evidence of eligibility – or can R&D provided to international development agencies, NGOs, foreign governments or private companies also be included to meet the eligibility requirement?

Response: R&D work conducted for an entity outside the U.S. Government may be considered relevant past performance under Evaluation Factor #2. Evaluation Factor #2 does not limit eligible past performance to only that performed through a U.S. government agency.


 8. Regarding the estimated activity cost of $100,000 to $3m, would this range apply to each of the problem statements, or would all problem statements be included in this amount?

Response: Please refer to the Appendix where each problem statement includes its estimated budget range. Each problem statement has the potential for its own award in the budget range indicated.


 9. Can a small business prime include a small-business sub on its submission?

Response: Yes, organizations may propose the use of U.S. small business subcontractors. Final awards will incorporate the applicable FAR Limitations on Subcontracting clause (currently FAR 52.219-14 (Jan. 2017)).


 10. Does the Apparently Successful Partner have to demonstrate capacity in all development areas cited (smallholder agriculture, etc.)?

Response: Each of the problem statements has the potential for its own successful organization and resulting award. Please refer to the Appendix where details can be found for each problem statement.


 11. Would there be a single award for all problem statements and the countries targeted, or would each Mission or Operating Unit issue separate awards?

Response: Each of the problem statements has the potential for its own resulting award that would be issued by the Mission or Operating Unit that submitted the problem statement. Please refer to the Appendix where details can be found for each problem statement.


 12. Do nonprofits qualify for the program? (The organization submitting the question is a social enterprise that sells services, but is legally structured as a non-profit.)

Response: Generally, a “small business concern” must be organized for profit. It is suggested that the entity submitting the question review FAR 19.001 and 13 C.F.R. 121.105 and consult counsel if needed.

Last updated: November 22, 2019

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