USC Small Business Diversity Office

The Small Business Diversity Office (SBDO) fosters economic growth in California through campus use of businesses owned by minorities, women, veterans, and small local businesses in the communities surrounding USC’s campuses. The SBDO administers:

  • Government Subcontract Plans for USC Research Units
  • Small Local Business Program initiative for small businesses within 26 targeted zip codes
  • Minority, Women, and Veteran Diverse Supplier Initiatives

Contact information

Rhonda Thornton-Crawford, PhD
Director and Small Business Liaison Officer


Get Online & Optimize Your Website for Sales

April 28, 2020
10:00 – 11:30 am

Join USC Civic Engagement and Google for a discussion on how to make the switch to online and keep your business open during COVID19. Google Digital Coach, Roberto Martinez, will provide an overview on current Google tools, grants, and services. He will also demonstrate how to set up a free Google My Business page and optimize your website to improve search engine optimization (SEO) and sales.

(Click on image for information and registration)

2020 Navy Contracting Summit

June 29-30, 2020
Norfolk, Virginia

The Defense Leadership Forum invites you to attend one of the top military contracting events of 2020. Among other things, this event will provide defense contractors and businesses nationwide with the latest information on:

  • Historic 2020 and 2021 Navy budgets;
  • New contracting opportunities for prime defense contractors and defense subcontractors; and
  • Details on specific new military contracts in important areas of procurement.

Note: Early bird registration ends at 5:00 pm on Thursday, December 19.

(Click on image for information and registration)


In the news

Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce COVID-19 Response & Resource Guide

As the region adjusts to tackle coronavirus (COVID-19), the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce is committed to providing the resources and information necessary to address the needs of our business community during this unprecedented time. For daily updates, refer to the COVID-19 Response & Resource Guide.

Resilience Toolkit for Los Angeles Businesses

The newly established Small Business Emergency Microloan Program now provides financing to strengthen small business enterprises in this time of acute need. Businesses that meet the criteria may access the toolkit from the link above and apply online for a City of LA Small Business Emergency Microloan that provides loans from $5,000 to $20,000.

SBA to Provide Up to $2 Million in Disaster Assistance Loans to Small Businesses

In a press release dated March 12, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that it is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The full content of the press release is available on the SBA website.

For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail

OneLA Regional Collaborative

The OneLA Regional Collaborative is an initiative positioned to support small, diverse businesses by providing access to all contract opportunities in one centralized online marketplace. This new regional contracting program offers event and procurement opportunities for southern California small, diverse businesses. The program is comprised of four core components for emerging contractors:

  • Matchmaking and relationship-building
  • Training
  • Advising
  • Easy certification

Visit to learn more and create a free account.


The mission of the USC SBDO is to provide professional, responsive and quality services to support the University of Southern California’s academic, research, social and economic goals. Its vision is to surpass the USC goal to procure 15% of all purchases, regardless of funding source, from diverse and local community suppliers.


USC values the quality, capabilities, cost-competitiveness and value-added customer service of all diverse suppliers. To assist in the advancement of the diverse supplier spend goal, the USC SBDO provides accessibility to and awareness of diverse and local suppliers throughout USC and the local community. This is accomplished through SBDO market-specific programs, collaborative partnerships, seminars, forums and promotional events.

USC Local Vendor Program

Use of small local suppliers contributes to USC’s diverse supplier spend goal. Therefore, the university promotes the use of small businesses located in one of the 26 targeted zip codes surrounding the University Park, Health Sciences, Alhambra and Marina del Rey campuses:


90006 90015 90033 90230
90007 90017 90037 90231
90008 90018 90043 90232
90011 90021 90058 90291
90012 90023 90062 90292
90013 90031 90063
90014 90032 90071

Diverse suppliers

The supplier classifications below—with the exception of Minority Owned Large Business (MOLB), and Woman Owned Large Business (WOLB)—contribute to USC’s 15% diverse supplier spend goal; classifications with a “Yes” designation contribute to diverse supplier goals set forth in federal and/or state contracts. For a complete description of supplier classifications, refer to USC Supplier Portal Diverse Supplier Classifications (see Related Documents, right).

Code Description Certification Requirements Qualifies for Federal or State Contract Goals
MOLB Minority Owned Large Business Self-identified No
MOSB Minority Owned Small Business Self-identified Yes
PHY Physically Challenged Business Self-identified No
WOLB Woman Owned Large Business Self-identified No
WOSB Women Owned Small Business Self-identified Yes
HBCU/MI Historically Black College/ University and Minority Institution Self-identified Yes
S Small Business Self-identified Yes
ANC Alaska Native Corporation Self-identified Yes
SDB Small Disadvantaged Business Self-identified Yes
8(A) Certified Business Development Program Certified through the Small Business Administration Yes
HUBZone Historically Underutilized Business Certified through the Small Business Administration Yes
CDVBE California Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Certified through the State of California Yes
VOSB Veteran Owned Small Business Self-identified Yes
SDVOSB Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business Self-identified Yes

 Minority, Women and Veteran Business Enterprise (MWVBE) certification

MWV Business Enterprise certification is the process that a business must undergo to verify the company’s 51% ownership by U.S. citizens who meet the criteria for minority, women, disadvantaged or veteran business owners who manage and operate the business on a daily basis.

Who can certify?

All qualified suppliers are strongly encouraged to certify with one of the recognized agencies to prequalify for projects and services for which certified suppliers are required. Certification fees vary; suppliers should check directly with the agency for an application and any related fees.

What are the benefits of certification?

Certified MBEs, WBEs and DBEs are included in the System for Award Management (SAM) database that is accessible to prime contractors when bidding on public or private contracts that require inclusion of certified MBE, WBE and DBE.

More information about SBA certification programs can be obtained by:

Federal and State certification of diverse suppliers

Diverse supplier certification is one of the tools used to seek, validate and vet qualified minority, women, veteran and disadvantaged business concerns for sponsored research projects.

  • For the university to receive credit toward federal- or state-sponsored projects goals, MBE, WBE or VBE certification is required. The Small Business Administration (SBA) or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must certify these businesses. The SBA will certify qualified businesses for 8(a) Business Development Program and HubZone Empowerment Contracting Program.
  • Environmental Protection Agency upgrade program includes new certification requirements for MBEs, WBEs and DBEs.
  • The supplier certification resources listed below will assist suppliers with the certification process.
  • To receive credit for using diverse suppliers on the university’s state contracts, the supplier must be a California Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (CDVBE) and upload proof of certification to its profile in the USC Supplier Portal.

Supplier certification resources

USC SBDO services for USC departments

USC SBDO provides many services for USC departments. For federal and state contracts, the SBDO:

  • Administers the USC Small Business Diversity Office;
  • Prepares and administers the university master plan for small government subcontract plans in compliance with the Federal Acquisition Regulations and Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations (FARs and DFARs);
  • Provides and administers small business individual subcontract plans ISPGs for university research projects;
  • Submits small diverse supplier compliance reports to applicable government funding agencies and USC Contracts and Grants; and
  • Provides annual monitoring of small business concern spend compliance to USC Contract and Grants research units.