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Informational Only

This challenge is no longer accepting new submissions.

Barriers Among Underserved Groups In Underserved Areas from Equal Access to Federal Procurement Opportunities

With an emphasis on science and research procurements and Department of Energy (DOE) procurement opportunities.

Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP)

Type of Challenge: Ideas
Partner Agencies | Federal: U.S. Department of Energy
Submission Start: 06/01/2021 10:00 AM ET
Submission End: 06/15/2021 11:59 PM ET


The federal government is committed to pursuing a comprehensive approach to improve diversity and equity in the federal marketplace for those who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality, such as:

  • Business owners who are people of color;
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities; (TCUs), and Minority Serving Institution (MSIs);
  • Businesses located in historically underutilized business zone (HUBZone) areas; and
  • Persons with disabilities.

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) in the Executive Office of the President and the Department of Energy’s (DOE) are co-hosting a two-week crowdsourcing campaign to identify barriers faced by underserved groups that prevent them from full and equal access to federal procurement opportunities.

In order to remedy inequities in access and opportunity for historically underserved groups, we must first identify barriers that restrict these groups from full and equal participation in the federal marketplace. Only after identifying barriers experienced in the federal marketplace, can we take targeted action to dismantle obstacles embedded in the federal acquisition system and formulate solutions that promote equity in federal procurement activities.

Challenge Question: What barriers for historically underserved groups should be addressed in order to achieve full and equal participation in federal prime and subcontracting opportunities?

Challenge Focus Areas: All ideas are welcome, but we are specifically interested in input on:

  • Specific contracting policies, procedures, and practices creating disparities in outcomes and inequities in access and opportunity
  • Real-world examples/experiences that illustrate barriers faced by historically underserved groups
  • Patterns or trends, supported by data, that indicate inequity
  • Barriers unique to or associated with science and research procurements

Key Dates

The crowdsourcing campaign will remain open from June 1 to June 15, 2021.


Monetary prize awards are not being offered as part of this Challenge.

Non-monetary Prizes

By participating in this challenge, you will contribute to the list of barriers that will be used by DOE and OFPP to inform future plans to dismantle obstacles embedded in the federal acquisition system in order to promote equity in the federal marketplace.

You will also have a share in supporting the Department of Energy and OFPP’s work related to the Executive Order 13985 Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.


Participation Rules: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will use the websites, mobile apps, applications, and other products and services (collectively, the “Services”) provided by IdeaScale, a California corporation, and any of its related, affiliated or subsidiary companies (collectively, “IdeaScale”) to host the OFPP Innovates IdeaScale community (collectively, the “Community”). OMB, or its designated partners, will issue challenges, questions, requests for feedback, calls for ideas (collectively, “Campaigns”) to the Community to promote communication, outreach, and dialogue on federal acquisition matters.

  • Registration. In order to participate in the Community you must register for the Services or have been invited to the Services by IdeaScale or an IdeaScale Customer. As part of the registration process, we collect only the information needed to set up a Community account. This information includes your name, email address, and a password. We collect no other Personal Information about you other than that which you choose to provide as part of the registration process.
  • OMB reserves the right for any reason to modify or close Campaigns at any time.
  • Unless otherwise noted, Campaigns are issued to collect insight and is not a competition where prizes will be awarded.
  • User submissions. Users may participate Campaigns by voting for an idea, posting ideas, comments, suggestions, graphics, photographs, video, or any other information, content, or materials (collectively “Submissions”) to the Community. All users participating in Campaigns agree to the following:

    • Submissions are entirely voluntary, non-confidential, gratuitous, and non-committal.
    • Only post materials directly related to the topic or challenge being discussed.
    • Refrain from posting materials that promote services or products unless they directly relate to the topic or challenge being discussed.
    • Do not submit any confidential, proprietary or sensitive information that you do not wish to be made public.
    • Any information provided may be made publicly available or incorporated into future OMB initiatives. Information submitted in response to this notice is subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.
    • Unless explicitly stated, Submissions are provided in the user’s personal capacity and do not represent the views or opinions of people, institutions, employers, or organizations the user may or may not be associated with in a professional or personal capacity.
    • OMB is under no obligation to acknowledge, compensate or provide feedback with respect to any information or materials included in a Submission.
    • Users agree to hold OMB harmless from all legal and administrative claims to include associated expenses that may arise from any claims related to their Submission or its use.
    • OMB will not be responsible for any claims or complaints from third parties about any disputes of ownership regarding the ideas, technology, white papers, prototypes, or images in Submissions.

Eligibility Requirements

This challenge is open to all.

Terms & Conditions

These IdeaScale End User Terms and Conditions (“Terms”) apply to your access to and use of the websites, mobile apps, applications, and other products and services (collectively, the “Services”) provided by IdeaScale, a California corporation, and any of its related, affiliated or subsidiary companies (collectively, “IdeaScale”). By accessing or using the Services, you indicate that you have read, understand and agree with the Terms and all IdeaScale rules and policies, including IdeaScale’s Privacy Policy. THESE TERMS CONTAIN DISCLAIMERS, PROVISIONS THAT LIMIT IDEASCALE’S LIABILITY TO YOU, AND PROVISIONS THAT REQUIRE DISPUTES TO BE RESOLVED ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS. If you do not agree with these Terms, do not access or use the Services.


Judging Panel

Ideas submitted will be voted on by the online crowdsourcing community hosted on the IdeaScale platform.

How to Enter

How to Participate:

  • You must create an account and register to participate in the challenge here:
  • As a registered participant (each, a “User”), you will then be able to participate in the EPIC Campaign by submitting new ideas, commenting on ideas, and voting on ideas.
  • Once logged into, select the Barriers Among Underserved Groups In Underserved Areas from Equal Access to Federal Procurement Opportunities link under “Active Campaigns” to review full details about the challenge.
  • To submit a new idea, click the “Submit Idea” button. After giving your idea a short title, you will be asked to tell us about your idea or barrier and how it contributes to disparity or inequity in the federal marketplace.

Submission URL

Please use the following URL to submit your responses: