Small Business Plans

The University of Minnesota is required to provide a Small Business Subcontracting Plan (SBP) on federal prime contracts that exceed $700,000.

This plan is most frequently submitted when the University submits the "best and final" proposal, but may be requested as part of a Request for Proposal (RFP). The department will be aware of the need for a SBP since it is mentioned in the RFP. The categories for meeting the definition of a small business include: small-disadvantaged, women-owned, veteran-owned, and HUBZone small businesses.


When a contract proposal is received, the grant administrator (GA) in SPA reviews the budget and asks the department to identify budget categories that could be part of the plan. Personnel costs and certain other costs are excluded as a target since a small business contractor cannot provide them. The department will provide, via e-mail to the GA, the costs and budget categories to be included in the plan.

Best Practice

Past experience has shown that use of travel, printing, and some laboratory supply companies as small business contractors has been effective. Computer equipment may also work in satisfying a small business. Though small business vendors can be used for scientific equipment, this usually does not work because we have not found small business vendors who can supply specialty scientific equipment.

Once the SBP is accepted by the contract officer, the department must follow through as submitted with subcontracts outlined in the plan. The federal government requires a bi-annual report on these expenditures and success in achieving the "good faith" goals.

PI Responsibilities

Principal Investigators (PIs) and their administrative staff are responsible for:

  • Working with SPA grant administrator to develop a plan
  • Assisting in determining dollar percentages of goods and services for each goal
  • Ensuring that purchases are made during the project period from the plan's stated small business
  • Working with Sponsor Financial Reporting (SFR) to monitor and provide information as needed for bi-annual SBP reports

Questions & Resources

If you are preparing a Subcontract Small Business Plan, please contact the Office for Business & Community Economic Development (BCED) with your questions or for more resources.