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
  • Small Minority, Women, and Veteran Diverse Supplier Initiatives

Contact information

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

B2B virtual opportunities

OneLA Doing Business With Flatiron Construction

Cosponsored with Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Flatiron is partnering with diverse and small businesses to expand contracting opportunities. Attend this event to learn more about current projects, upcoming pursuits/needs and how to do business with Flatiron.

Featured speakers:

Dr. Giovanna Brasfield, ECMCA, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion.

Brian Freund, Vice President of Operations, Transit Construction.

(Click on image for registration information)

Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Virtual Mixer

Celebrating Women’s History Month

Wednesday, March 10, 2021
4:00 – 5:30pm

Start the new year right by making new connections and re-establishing past connections.

Michael Castiglione, expert in professional training and leadership development will share tips on how to build relationship and trust to grow your business.

Lesley Brillhart, director of Dress for Success Worldwide West, will share the mission of Dress for Success and its goal to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and the development tools to help women thrive in work and life.

In partnership with the National Association Women Business Owners

(Click on image for more information and to register)

SBA and Treasury announce PPP reopening; issue new guidance

In a press release dated January 8, 2021, the Small Business Administration (SBA) announced the reopening of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in consultation with the Treasury Department the week of January 11 for new borrowers and certain existing PPP borrowers.  The full content of the press release is available on the SBA website.

For more information on SBA’s assistance to small businesses, visit or

The Greatness of Diversity: Entrepreneur Enrichment Series – Series 3

Two-part series (join one or both):

Tuesday, November 17, 2020
12:00 noon – 1:00pm

Tuesday, November 24, 2020
12 noon – 1:30pm

NAWBO-CA is partnering with Know Better World Foundation to offer a co-branded series of free e-courses around coping with the current volatile business world. The series consists of five topics based on input from NAWBO members and includes input from your #NAWBOsisters.

The third in the series will cover everything you always wanted to know about diversity for your business but were afraid to ask.

(Click on image for more information and to register)

Los Angeles Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (LA WED)

Thursday, November 19, 2020
10:00am – 3:00pm

In recognition of the significant impact women business owners have made on the Los Angeles economy and quality of life despite significant obstacles, Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Los Angeles City Council declared November 19 to be Women’s Entrepreneurship Day in Los Angeles.

The LA WED Celebration will include remarks from successful and emerging local women entrepreneurs, breakout sessions with leading experts, a financial resource expo, and networking opportunities with other women entrepreneurs and organizations.

(Click on image for more information and to register)

3 Part Business Recovery Series, Part I: Let’s Level Set

Thursday, October 8, 2020
1:00pm – 2:00pm

First in the series covers financial considerations for small businesses. Topics include:

  • Rebalancing the balance sheet
  • Protecting and strengthening credit
  • Banking and business financing

Presented and co-hosted by John M Langston Bar Association of Los Angeles and City National Bank.

(Click on image to register)

LA Regional COVID Fund

Micro-enterprises, small businesses, and nonprofits—the backbone of our region’s economy—are facing unprecedented economic pressure.

Beginning July 6, 2020, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce is accepting applications for grants from the LA Regional COVID Fund. The fund provides grants of $5K to micro-entrepreneurs and $15K for small businesses and nonprofits to aid in recovery from COVID-19.

Technical assistance is available in multiple languages.

(Click on image to go to website for more information and to apply online or call 833-238-4450)

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.

Looking Good for TV on Zoom

If you’re new to video conferencing or if you just want to learn a few tricks on how to look your best on camera, watch this seven-minute video or download the illustrated guide to help you get ready for your close up. Includes tips on lighting, framing, focus, audio and much more.

Provided by USC Communications and the Provost’s Office.

(Click on the image for more information.)


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.

Small business certifications

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.