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Informational Only

This challenge is no longer accepting new submissions.

MaTCH Pilot Competition

Address the job skills gap by strengthening the connection between makerspaces and workforce development in U.S. cities.

Small Business Administration

Total Cash Prizes Offered: $1,000,000
Type of Challenge: Business Plans
Submission Start: 05/21/2019 12:00 PM ET
Submission End: 07/08/2019 11:59 PM ET

Winners Announced

Aug. 20, 2019: Acting Administrator Chris Pilkerton announces MaTCH Pilot Competition winners


Fifty-three percent (53%) of small business owners report there “are few or no qualified applicants for the positions they [are] trying to fill.” The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that there are millions of unfilled jobs in the United States. Moreover, many businesses not only face a challenge when attempting to find individuals with the technical or hard skills needed to perform the work required by their industries, but also have difficulty finding individuals with the soft skills necessary to be successful in the workplace. 

SBA believes that existing Makerspaces are uniquely positioned to help address this problem.  The non-profit organization Maker City posits a strong connection between makerspaces and workforce development in U.S. cities, with numerous benefits including: embracing independent work and self-employment, focus on new forms of vocational education, opportunity to focus on “jobs in the middle” which match makers to those seeking traditional employment, development of new forms of apprenticeship, and a shift to new forms of credentials.   SBA proposes a pilot program that will utilize existing Makerspaces to provide the necessary job specific and soft skills training and, to the extent feasible, any required industry or trade certifications (the “MaTCH Pilot Competition”).  The goal of the The Makerspace Training, Collaboration, and Hiring (MaTCH) Pilot Competition, upon successful completion of the training program, is to have all program graduates immediately placed in positions with previously identified employers that are in need of skilled labor and have committed to employing a set number of program graduates.

For more information, view MaTCH Competition FAQs.


The Competition will award up to $1 million in total prizes, based on the following tiered approach:

a) Seed: up to $25,000 will be awarded to seed small workforce development programs.
b) Proof of Principle: up to $100,000 will be awarded to grow programs that have a proven program with a history of training and/or workforce development.
c) Scale: up to $200,000 will be awarded for capacity building of existing successful programs with a strong history of training and/or workforce development. This winner would also have graduated participants in at least two training cycles.

Appropriated funds will be used for the cash awards.Each of the awards will be disbursed in a series of four (4) payments as follows:

a) First payment. Forty (40) percent of the winner’s total prize amount will be disbursed upon award and the winners’ satisfaction of all applicable requirements.
b) Second payment. Twenty-five (25) percent of the winner’s total prize amount will be disbursed after program trainees have completed the training program and received any pertinent certifications, and the winner has provided documentary evidence of such, satisfactory to SBA.The winner has up to one hundred and twenty (120) days after the disbursement of the first payment to satisfy this requirement. The second payment and all subsequent payments will be forfeited if the winner does not satisfy this requirement within the specified 120-day time frame.
c) Third payment. Twenty-five (25) percent of the winner’s total prize amount will be disbursed once program graduates have been employed by a targeted business(es) consistent with the representations in winner’s submission, and the winner has provided documentary evidence of such satisfactory to SBA. The winner has up to one-hundred and fifty (150) days after disbursement of the first payment to satisfy this requirement.The third payment and all subsequent payments will be forfeited if the winner does not satisfy this requirement within the specified 150-day time frame.
d) Fourth and final payment. The remaining ten (10) percent of the total prize amount will be disbursed once the winner submits to SBA a written assessment satisfactory to SBA that includes, but is not limited to, the outcomes and outputs of the training program as measured by the metrics outlined in their challenge application, a summary of any lessons learned and best practices, and suggestions for any improvements to the design or implementation of similar competitions in the future.The winner has up to one-hundred and eighty (180) days after disbursement of the first payment to satisfy this requirement.The fourth payment will be forfeited if the winner does not satisfy this requirement within the specified 180-day time frame.

The Winners will be announced on or about August 6, 2019.  Only one prize will be awarded for each winning submission, regardless of the number of Contestants that created or were involved with that submission.  SBA reserves the right to substitute prizes of similar value without notice.


Eligibility Rules

This Competition is open only to: (1) citizens or permanent residents of the United States who are at least eighteen (18) years of age at the time of their submission of an entry (or teams of such individuals); and (2) private entities, such as corporations or other organizations, both for profit and nonprofit, that are incorporated or organized in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States. Individuals submitting on behalf of corporations, nonprofits, or other organizations or groups of individuals (such as an academic class or other team) must meet the eligibility requirements for individual contestants. An individual cannot belong to more than one team submitting an entry in this Competition. SBA employees and contractors are not eligible, nor are Federal entities or Federal employees acting within the scope of their employment. Individuals or organizations that are currently suspended or debarred by the federal government are not eligible for this Competition.   Only Makerspaces that have been in existence and in operation for a minimum period of two (2) years prior to the date of submission will be considered eligible to provide the contemplated program training.

Makerspaces that support businesses or individuals engaged in any activity that is illegal under federal, state, or local law or that can reasonably be determined to support or facilitate any activity that is illegal under federal, state, or local law are ineligible for this competition.

Submissions developed with Federal funding, including grants, are not eligible for the Competition. 

Registration/Submission Requirements

Interested persons or entities should review these Competition Rules before entering the Competition.  All Contestants must enter the Competition through steps and considerations include the following:

a) Register at the Competition website, Registration will only be open between May 21, 2019, and July 8, 2019.
b) Complete Contact information in Competition website.
c) Upload submission in the designated field.
i. At a minimum, submissions must include the information and materials specified in the Eligibility Rules above, which should include:
1. A business plan detailing the contestant’s qualifications, experience, resources, and the proposed training curriculum, including the nature and length of the training/certification program and the number of trainees that will be accommodated;
2. Signed Certificates of Placement or other written evidence from one or more employers demonstrating reasonable commitments to place program graduates upon training completion, such that graduates will have a position waiting for them with a previously identified employer; and
3. A description of how the other Competition criteria identified by SBA in Paragraph 2 above will be satisfied.
4. Maximum length of submission package: 20 pages, including attachments.
5. Maximum length of submission package: 20 pages, including attachments.
6. A standard, 11-point minimum font size applies.
Tables, images, and illustrations may use a reduced font size not less than 8-point and may be landscape.
7. Only the following types of files will be accepted:  Microsoft Word Document (.doc), Microsoft Word Open XML Document (.docx), Portable Document Format File (.pdf), Power Point Presentation (.ppt); and Power Point Picture Presentation (.pptx).
8. All pages must be appropriately numbered and identified by the complete Contestant name and date in the header and/or footer. A Table of Contents should be created.
9. Submissions should include: one (1) attachment for the business plan and one (1) attachment for supporting documents mentioned above.  Each individual attachment must not exceed 25 MB in size.
10. Submission attachments that exceed the file size above will not be accepted and will not be evaluated. Contestant logos are prohibited except for the Title Page.
11. Page count will not be based upon the numbers of pages printed but rather dictated by the number of pages in a print layout view of the application. Counting pages in the order they appear for viewing will make up the page count. The page limits are applicable to graphs, tables, drawings, and any other attachments submitted with the proposals and not specifically excluded by the submission. Any index, table of contents, glossary or integrated master schedule will not be included in the maximum page limitation.
d) Submissions must not include business or personal information not specifically requested by these Competition Rules, for example, social security numbers should not be included with a submission.
e) Registration is Free of Charge.
f) No SBA logo – The application must not use SBA’s logo or official seal in the Submission and must not claim SBA endorsement.  The award of a prize in this Competition does not constitute an endorsement of a specific entity, service, or product by SBA or the Federal government.

Verification of Winners

The winners must continue to comply with all terms and conditions of these Competition Rules, and winning is contingent upon fulfilling all applicable rules, policies and requirements, including the requirements contained herein. 

Applicable Law:

This Competition is being conducted by SBA pursuant to the America Competes Act (15 U.S.C. § 3719) and is subject to all applicable federal laws and regulations. By participating in this Competition, each Contestant gives its full and unconditional agreement to the Competition Rules, which are final and binding in all matters related to the Competition. A Contestant’s eligibility for a prize award is contingent upon their fulfilling all requirements identified in these Competition Rules. Publication of these Competition Rules is not an obligation of funds on the part of SBA. SBA reserves the right to modify or cancel this Competition, in whole or in part, at any time prior to the award of prizes.

 Conflicts of Interest:

No individual acting as a judge at any stage of this Competition may have personal or financial interests in, or be an employee, officer, director, or agent of any Contestant or have a familial or financial relationship with a Contestant.

Intellectual Property Rights:

All entries submitted in response to this Competition will remain the sole intellectual property of the individuals or organizations that developed them. By registering and entering a submission, each Contestant represents and warrants that it is the sole author and copyright owner of the submission, and that the submission is an original work of the contestant, or that the Contestant has acquired sufficient rights to use and to authorize others to use the submission, and that the submission does not infringe upon any copyright or upon any other third party rights of which the Contestant is aware.

By registering and entering a submission, however, the Contestant agrees that SBA reserves an irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free license to use, copy, distribute to the public, create derivative works from, and publicly display and perform a submission. 

Publicity Rights:

By registering and entering a submission, each Contestant consents to SBA’s and its agents' use, in perpetuity, of its name, likeness, photograph, voice, opinions, and/or hometown and state information for promotional or informational purposes through any form of media, worldwide, without further payment or consideration.

Liability and Insurance Requirements:

By registering and entering a submission, each Contestant agrees to assume any and all risks and waive any and all claims against the U.S. Government and its related entities, except in the case of willful misconduct, for any injury, death, damage, or loss of property, revenue, or profits, whether direct, indirect, or consequential, arising from their participation in this Competition, whether the injury, death, damage, or loss arises through negligence or otherwise. By registering and entering a submission, each Contestant further represents and warrants that it possesses sufficient liability insurance or financial resources to cover claims by a third party for death, bodily injury, or property damage or loss resulting from any activity it carries out in connection with its participation in this Competition, or claims by the U.S. Government for damage or loss to Government property resulting from such an activity. Contest winners should be prepared to demonstrate proof of insurance or financial responsibility in the event the SBA deems it necessary.

Record Retention and Disclosure:

All submissions and related materials provided or made available to SBA in connection with this Competition automatically become SBA records and cannot be returned. Contestants should identify any confidential commercial information contained in their entries at the time of their submission to SBA. SBA will notify Contestants of any Freedom of Information Act requests the Agency receives during the Competition related to their submissions in accordance with 13 C.F.R. § 102.


SBA and its agents are not responsible for:

a) Any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by Contestants, printing errors, or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Competition;
b) Technical failure of any kind, including, but not limited to malfunctions, interruptions or disconnections in phone lines, network hardware or software, or in the Competition website;
c) Unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Competition;
d) Technical or human error which may occur in the administration of the Competition or the processing of entries; or
e) Any injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from Contestant’s participation in the Competition or receipt, use or misuse of any prize.

If for any reason a Contestant’s entry is confirmed to have been erroneously deleted, lost, or otherwise destroyed or corrupted, Contestant’s sole remedy is to submit another entry in the Competition, provided it is submitted before the initial screening of entries is completed.

General Conditions

SBA reserves the right at any time, for any reason, to cancel, suspend, and/or modify the Competition, or any part of it. 

Participation constitutes each Contestant’s full and unconditional agreement to these Official Rules and administrative decisions which are final and binding in all matters related to the Competition. The publishing of the Competition Rules is not an obligation of funds; the final award of prizes is contingent upon the availability of appropriations.

Judging Criteria

The SBA is launching the MaTCH Pilot Competition in order to address the job skills and placement problem faced by U.S. businesses. To be considered for selection, a proposed solution must leverage an existing Makerspace to provide vocational training programs (including job specific skills and soft skills training) that meet the minimum standards of the specific trade and, to the extent feasible, any required industry or trade certifications, in addition to targeted job placement of program graduates in local businesses.Additional factors may be considered, such as, but not limited to: (i)when appropriate, the offering of shared resources, including temporary staffing at no or reduced cost, to certain employers; (ii) when necessary, practical training and assistance in personnel management for certain employers; (iii) whether the Makerspace and/or the jobs to be filled are located in an Opportunity Zone1; (iv) presentation of opportunities for individuals with disabilities; and (v) presentation of opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals.Proposed solutions must meet the forgoing requirements supported by documentation that includes the following:

a) Detailed description of the approach to training and the establishment of a training program that, among other things: (i) identifies the industry or trade sector that will be the focus of the training, describes the minimum standards to be met during the training, and the associated rationale;  (ii) identifies the unemployed or underemployed population segments that were targeted for training, the methodology used to recruit the trainees, and the number of individuals that will be in the training class; (iii) identifies the methodology and process used to identify prospective employers and secure the required commitments from these businesses to hire the program graduates; and (iv) includes a detailed budget that describes the funds that will be required to accomplish the objectives of the training and placement program and precisely how those funds will be allocated and utilized (25%);
b) Certificates of Placement or other written evidence from one or more employers that, taken together, demonstrate a reasonable commitment to employ program graduates immediately upon completion of the program. Such commitments may be secured with the assistance of local or national trade associations or other organizations that can assist in identifying and securing a commitment from potential employers (25%);
c) Evidence that the Makerspace has the necessary experience, resources and curriculum to impart the hard skills (including upskills, where appropriate) trainees need in order to be placed in the identified jobs and provide compliance with trade’s required standards, and, when applicable and to the extent feasible, certification of skills required by the relevant industries.This should include a detailed description of the training program and curriculum, including the nature of the training, the resources (human and otherwise) to be used in the training, and the length of the training program, including the time needed to secure any necessary certifications (25%); and
d) Evidence that the Makerspace has the necessary experience, resources and curriculum to impart the needed soft skills and teach trainees how to be successful in the workplace (25%).

1“An Opportunity Zone is an economically distressed community where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.They are designed to spur economic development by providing tax benefits to investors.Localities qualify as Opportunity Zones if they have been nominated for that designation by a state and that nomination has been certified by the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury via his designated authority to the Internal Revenue Service.” Available at

How To Enter

For more information and to enter the competition, visit: