Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI)

A. Summary of Ask

Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) acknowledges the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation in the county. Several of MCEDC’s FY20 priorities focus on strengthening specific elements of local ecosystems for entrepreneurs, start-ups, and growth stage businesses (referred to collectively as the “ecosystem”), including:

  • Encouraging more tech transfer and product commercialization;

  • Promoting B2B purchasing to strengthen the local supply chain;

  • Easing access to capital for start-ups,

  • Amplifying efforts in designated zones (e.g., Maryland Enterprise Zones, Federal Opportunity Zones, Arts & Entertainment Districts),

  • Fostering increased connections among start-ups, and

  • Enhancing the availability of industry-specific infrastructure—including wet lab space and food/beverage production space.

To support its FY19 priorities, MCEDC is issuing this request for expressions of interest (RFEI) to gather project proposals that will address any of the elements listed above (or those that are closely related).

Respondents to this RFEI may seek MCEDC’s support for their project, which may range from strategic partnerships, technical support and publicity to, in limited cases, funding. MCEDC encourages Respondents to propose creative and economically viable projects that will have a clear return on MCEDC’s investment, whether financial or otherwise.

MCEDC will review proposals on a rolling basis from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020 and identify the proposals best suited for further exploration. Selected proposals will receive contact for followup conversations within 4 weeks of submission.

B. Proposal Requested Elements

Proposals submitted need to address all applicable elements listed below to be evaluated.

Project Concept

Please share the project concept, including strategic rationale, product or service provided, market demand, the value proposition for the local business ecosystem, and metrics of success. If there is a specific industry focus, please explain the need within the industry that this project will address.

Target Audience

Please describe who the project intends to engage and/or benefit. Please provide any relevant information such as criteria for selection, admission, etc.

Operations Plan

Please describe the plan to execute the project, including, if applicable, location of project; staffing needed; strategic, programmatic, or operational partnerships; and other relevant details.

Financial Plan

Please include a detailed budget and cash flow analysis including, if applicable:

  • Capital expenses required to launch the project

  • Operational expenses associated with the project

  • Potential revenue sources

  • Funding sources, including respondent investment, other funds committed or raised, and any in-kind or other contributions

Respondent Team and Experience

Please provide a description of the team and experience relevant to project execution.

Project Timeline

Please detail the timeline for project development, execution, and duration.

Support Request

Please detail the type of support you are seeking and how it would benefit your project.

Marketing/Outreach Plan

Please describe the marketing plan to engage relevant parties, if applicable, and consider:

  • Marketing strategy and budget

  • Modes of marketing to be used (e.g., print media, digital media)

  • Timeline

Proposals should not exceed 10 pages (not including the financial plan). MCEDC shall not be liable for any costs incurred by the respondent in the preparation of its Proposal.

C. Respondent Responsibilities

Respondents submitting proposals must designate themselves or another party—not MCEDC or any government agency—to be the project operator. If another party is designated, a letter of support from that party must accompany the proposal. Operators are assumed to be responsible for:

1. Development and Concept

Developing the project concept; explaining strategic rationale and support needed; identifying resources and work plan for start-up, launch and operations; and identifying success metrics and evaluation methodology.

2. Management and Operation

Executing the project, providing strategic direction, and managing day-to-day operations.

3. Communication and Engagement

Marketing the project and engaging relevant parties.

4. Evaluation and Reporting

Providing periodic and timely updates to MCEDC on the project, focusing on the services and benefits provided. Specific tasks could include providing periodic reports on project operation and cooperating with MCEDC requests for information related to project.

D. Proposal Evaluation

MCEDC will evaluate the proposals on the following factors:

  • the Respondent team’s qualifications and experience;

  • the creativity of the concept and the quality of the proposal;

  • the proposal’s commitment to equity and inclusivity;

  • the proposal’s alignment to MCEDC’s FY19 priorities;

  • the financial plan’s sustainability; and

  • the Respondent’s ability to meet MCEDC’s expectations for project management and operations.

E. Interviews

Interviews may be held with any, none, or all the respondents as the proposals are received and reviewed. Interviews will be held at the sole discretion of MCEDC.

F. Submission

This RFEI allows Respondents to submit Proposals on a rolling basis from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020. MCEDC will review proposals and respond within 4 weeks of submission.

MCEDC may, in its sole and absolute discretion, elect to commence non-exclusive negotiations with one or more Respondents at any time as part of the proposal review process.

How to Submit

Proposals must be submitted to, and received by MCEDC, at the email address below:

Brandon Bedford
Research, Planning & Policy Analyst

G. Terms and Limitations

In addition to those stated elsewhere, this RFEI and any transaction resulting from this RFEI are subject to the conditions, terms and limitations stated below:

A. MCEDC, and their respective officers, employees, and agents, make no representation or warranty and assume no responsibility for the accuracy of the information set forth in this RFEI.

B. MCEDC is not obligated to pay, and shall not pay, any costs in connection with assisting Respondent(s) at any time unless MCEDC has expressly agreed to do so in writing.

C. Only proposals from principals will be considered responsive. Individuals in representative, agency or consultant status may submit Proposals only under the direction of identified principals, where the principals are solely responsible for paying for such services.

D. This is a Request for Proposals not a Request for Bids. MCEDC shall be the sole judge of each response’s conformance with the requirements of this RFEI and of the merits of the individual qualifications and Proposals. MCEDC reserves the right to waive any conditions or modify any provision of this RFEI with respect to one or more Respondents, to negotiate with one or more of the Respondents, to require supplemental statements and information from any Respondents, to establish additional terms and conditions, to encourage Respondents to work together, or to reject any or all responses, if in its judgment it is in the best interest of MCEDC and the county to do so. If all responses are rejected, this RFEI may be withdrawn and the county support contemplated in this RFEI may be retained and re-offered under the same or different terms and conditions. In all cases, MCEDC shall be the sole judge of the acceptability of the responses. MCEDC will enforce the Submission Deadlines stated in the RFEI. The timing of any Respondent selection may differ depending upon the degree to which further information on individual Proposals must be obtained or due to other factors that MCEDC may consider pertinent. All Proposals become the property of MCEDC.

E. All Proposals and other materials submitted to MCEDC in response to this RFEI may be disclosed in accordance with the standards specified in the Maryland Public Information Act (“MPIA”). The entity submitting a Proposal may provide in writing, at the time of submission a detailed description of the specific information contained in its submission, which it has determined is a trade secret and which, if disclosed, would substantially harm such entity’s competitive position. This characterization shall not be determinative but will be considered by MCEDC when evaluating the applicability of any exemptions in response to a MPIA request.

F. Subject to all applicable laws, upon submission of a Proposal to this RFEI, Respondents, and their representatives and agents, shall treat their Proposals and all information obtained from MCEDC in connection with this RFEI (the “Confidential Information”) confidentially, and shall not discuss, publish, divulge, disclose or allow to be disclosed the Confidential Information to any other Respondents or any other person, firm or entity, including press or other media, without MCEDC’s prior written approval.