Doing Business with USAID
DOING BUSINESS WITH USAID
— Things to Know —
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) delivers humanitarian and economic assistance programs in more than 80 countries around the world. If you wish to work with USAID, a federal government agency, here are some helpful things to know:
What Does USAID Do?
USAID conducts foreign assistance programs that address worldwide development issues including economic growth, global health, agriculture and trade, democracy, conflict prevention, and humanitarian/disaster assistance. To accomplish our goals, we work in close partnership with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), local host-country organizations, universities, large and small businesses, international agencies, overseas governments, and other U.S. federal agencies. USAID seeks to expand our partner base so we may continue to bring the best development solutions to help save lives and improve livelihoods.
How Do I Partner with USAID?
The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, authorizes USAID to use grants (assistance) and contracts (acquisitions) and other types of transactions to achieve U.S. foreign assistance objectives. Partnering opportunities can most often be found through:
- Grants: USAID provides funds to a responsible grantee to implement a program with little direct involvement during the program.
- Cooperative Agreements: USAID provides funds to a cooperator but has more substantial involvement and contact with the partner during the life of the project.
- Contracts: USAID purchases technical assistance services or other services from a responsible party to implement a program as directed by the Agency.
USAID seeks partnerships by issuing Requests for Applications (RFA) or other solicitations for services through grants or cooperative agreements, and Requests for Proposals (RFP) or other solicitation types to acquire goods and services through contracts. Requests are published online:
- For contracting opportunities, regularly visit FedBizOpps: www.fbo.gov
- For grant opportunities, regularly visit: www.grants.gov
Once USAID issues a solicitation, potential partners are provided adequate time to respond with a proposal or an application. All of the information you need to develop a response to these solicitations are included within the solicitation announcement, including the point of contact for that specific solicitation. Each solicitation will include a description of the USAID objectives, instructions for submission, and evaluation factors (selection criterion against which your offer will be evaluated). Please read the solicitation requests and all instructions for response carefully. Submit all required documents within the period provided.
What If I Have a Question About a USAID Solicitation?
Each USAID solicitation or request will have the best contact name listed on the document. Please address your questions via phone or email to the Point of Contact listed.
Can I Submit an Unsolicited Proposal?
USAID is always looking for those who can contribute new ideas consistent with the Agency’s development assistance objectives in the countries where we work. USAID prefers to issue competitive awards whenever possible in order to ensure that we achieve the best value and strongest solutions from those who can deliver the desired results. While we accept unsolicited proposals for review, potential offerors should be aware that only in highly exceptional cases are such proposals likely to be funded.Unsolicited Proposals are expected to be for new, unique, and innovative activities that would not otherwise be “an advance proposal for a known USAID requirement that can be acquired by competitive methods.” Please ensure that you are familiar with USAID’s country- or regional-based programs prior to submission.
To submit a hard-copy unsolicited proposal to USAID, carefully read the requirements for submission provided at: www.usaid.gov/business/business_opportunities/.
For Contracts: All unsolicited proposals requesting funding for a contract should be sent to:
USAID, Evaluation Division (M/OAA/E)
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington D.C. 20523
Attn: Evaluation Division Chief
Please clearly mark the envelope: “Re: Unsolicited Proposal.”
For Grants, Cooperative Agreements: All unsolicited applications for grants and cooperative agreements can be submitted via email to email@example.com or via hard copy to the USAID/Kenya Mission at:
U.S. Agency for International Development
United States Embassy Complex Annex
United Nations Avenue, Gigiri
P.O. Box 629, Village Market 00621
Attn: Program Office
Where Do I Register to Do Business with USAID?
All organizations/firms, except for Private Voluntary Organizations (PVOs), must register with the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) at: www.ccr.gov.
PVOs must register with the USAID Office of Private and Voluntary Cooperation (PVC) to receive all types of funding except funding of contracts and Disaster Assistance. PVC offers programs specifically targeted to a subsector of the U.S. “non-profit” organizations. Information on PVO registration can be accessed via PVC at: www.usaid.gov/our_work/cross-cutting_programs/private_voluntary_cooperation/. Click on the registry links to the right.
What Are the U.S. Federal Regulations and Policies that USAID Must Follow?
If you wish to work with USAID as a development partner in Haiti or in any location around the world, you must be familiar with U.S. federal regulations that govern the way USAID conducts its business. Regulations and policies that govern USAID operations can be linked to from the USAID website at: www.usaid.gov/business/regulations/.
- For all contracts, USAID refers to the U.S. Government Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) and USAID’s Acquisition Regulation (AIDAR).
- For all grants and cooperative agreements (assistance mechanisms), USAID uses the U.S. Government Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
- For all acquisition and assistance awards (contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements), USAID refers to USAID policy and guidance found in the Automated Directives System (ADS), specifically Series 300: Acquisition and Assistance, found at: www.usaid.gov/policy/ads/300/.
How Do I Know If I Am Eligible for USAID Awards?
The solicitation officer (RFA/RFP) will identify who may be eligible for an award. Before USAID awards a grant or contract, USAID must make a responsibility determination based on the following types of information obtained from the applicant or other available sources:
- Proof of financial resources to perform the project, or the ability to obtain them. If no audited financial statements are available, USAID may perform a pre-award survey.
- Projected budget, cash flow, organizational chart, and past performance references.
- Applicable policies and procedures of the potential partner (e.g., accounting, personnel, purchasing, property management).
If a USAID Contracting or Agreement Officer cannot make a positive pre-award responsibility determination, they may undertake a formal selection survey involving a pre-award audit of your business.
How Does USAID Work with Small Businesses?
USAID’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization and Minority Resource Center (OSDBU/MRC) serves as an advocate and advisory office within the Agency for U.S. small businesses, small disadvantaged businesses, women-owned small businesses, HUB Zone small businesses, and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. Learn more about this service and opportunities for your small business at: www.usaid.gov/business/small_business/.
How Do I Stay Informed About USAID Opportunities?
Here are some of our general tips if you are interested in doing development work with USAID:
Check the Forecast. USAID issues a Business Forecast that shares some of the opportunities we will be making available throughout the year from our Washington D.C. headquarters and from Missions worldwide. Check: www.usaid.gov/business/business_opportunities/forecast/forecast.html.
Get to Know USAID. Explore the pages on the USAID website at www.usaid.gov/about_usaid/. Read about our ongoing programs and the work we do as well as the successes we see in development partnerships every day through our efforts.
Sign up for Notification Services. Information on how to register for notification services can be found on the FedBizOpps.gov and Grants.gov home pages. You will receive notices on pre-solicitation materials, the solicitation itself, modifications to solicitations, and general procurement announcements.
Think Locally. Explore our USAID Mission directory and Mission websites to engage with our country and regional programs: www.usaid.gov/missions/.
Are There Other Partnering Opportunities?
Yes. In many cases, USAID’s development assistance activities require specialized skills from a multiple set of development partners. It can be rare for one organization to offer all of the professional skills, services, and knowledge base the Agency requires to reform education in a post-conflict country, for example. Therefore, teaming together for an award or subcontracting arrangements between organizations can be beneficial to the achievement of the overall development goals.
USAID also welcomes participation and involvement from non-traditional and private sector partners. The Office of Development Partners (ODP) serves to help mobilize the ideas, efforts, and resources of the public sector, the private sector, and NGOs in support of shared objectives. More information about how USAID leverages support from innovative resources can be found at: www.usaid.gov/our_work/global_partnerships/gda/.