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Market Development Cooperator Program

Project Teams

Officials sign opening of product display center in China
Liz Couch left, an ITA/I&A industry specialist and leader of the federal SEMA MDCP project, meets with U.S. exhibitors and SEMA's MDCP project manager Linda Spencer, right.

More than Money

MDCP awards are not grants, but rather cooperative agreements. Like a grant, a cooperative agreement includes financial assistance for the recipient organization. But unlike a grant, the recipient or "coperator" does not undertake its project alone. A team of ITA professionals assist. These include a federal team leader from ITA's Industry & Analysis unit. Federal team members also include country specialists, trade specialists, Commercial Officers, and locally-engaged staff from ITA's Global Markets unit.(If needed, officials from other federal agencies may be invited to participate in the project team.)

Combined Project Team: Cooperator, Federal, Other

The cooperator, the federal team, and any other partners constitute the combined MDCP project team. The combined project team acts as the project's "board of directors," establishing direction, recommending changes when necessary, and working on project activities. The combined team coordinates through conference calls or in-person meetings every 4-6 weeks. Subsets of the combined team coordinate via email or teleconference more often as needed. A list of active MDCP project teams is at the top of this page.

What do Federal Team Members Do?

In addition to providing direction and helping to plan and coordinate MDCP project events, one or more federal team members usually participates directly in activities. For example, in the past, federal team members have recruited for technical seminars, delivered presentations at seminars, and attended meetings where international standards are developed. Federal members of the project team usually draw on separate government-administered funds to pay the costs associated with their participation.

Demonstrate Your Partnership Aptitude Prior to Applying

Partnership with ITA is one of the five evaluation criteria ITA uses to select recipients of MDCP financial assistance awards. As recommended in Step-by-Step Process, organizations that intend to apply for MDCP funding should seek out:

1. MDCP director

2. Export Assistance Center of ITA's Global Markets/Commercial Service

3. DC-based industry specialists in ITA's Industry & Analysis

4. Global Markets/Commercial Service staff abroad

5. Global Markets country desk officers in DC

The MDCP director, in collaboration with relevant industry specialists and the Export Assistance Center can help determine which ITA staff to involve.

Is This Like a STEP Grant? Can We Just Go It Alone?

Like STEP, MDCP is about exports, but an MDCP award is not a grant. If you can "go it alone" without working with an MDCP team then you are probably better off not applying for MDCP funding. An MDCP award recipient becomes a "cooperator" that works closely with ITA. The financial award is just one part of a broader support effort.

ITA has developed programs, resources, and capabilities, international and domestic, to help companies, especially SMEs, to maintain or increase exports. It is important that you demonstrate that your project aligns with ITA priorities, that you are aware of ITA's resources, and plan to integrate them into your project plan. Your aptitude as a partner accounts for 20% of your MDCP evaluation score.

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