In July, The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council invited Ramain Gohar, Business Services Manager with the Virginia’s Department of Small Business & Supplier Diversity to speak at our monthly meeting about The Small, Women-owned, and Minority-owned Business (SWaM), Micro-Business, and Service-Disabled Veterans certification programs. The certifications’ purpose is to enhance procurement opportunities for businesses participating in state-funded projects.  The DEI Advisory Council would like thank Ramain for informing us of the certifications and the opportunity they present!  The following are highlights of the presentation.

For entrepreneurs and small business owners in the Culpeper area, there’s a golden opportunity that many might not be fully aware of which is SWAM Certification: Small, Women-owned, and Minority-owned Business Certification.  In Virginia there are two additional designations administered under SWAM.  The Micro Business Certification: no more than 25 employees AND no more than $3 Million in average annual revenue over the 3-year period prior to certification application date. An additional certification is the Service-Disabled Veteran:  A business that has been approved in the Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned Small Business Program (SDVOSB) by the Virginia Department of Veterans Services.

SWAM Certification (SWAM Tutorial) opens the door to selling to the Commonwealth of Virginia. This certification is valid for 5 years and carries significant weight, when doing business with the Commonwealth. With 245 state agencies under its umbrella, the Commonwealth has a goal to procure 42% of its goods and services from SWAM-certified businesses.  One of the perks of SWAM certification is the streamlined process for small purchases under $10,000. For these purchases, state agencies are allowed to make procurement decisions based on a single quote from a SWAM-certified business with the award priority given to Micro Businesses.

The Commonwealth uses an eProcurement Portal for all purchasing activity.  This portal encompasses 245+ state agencies, colleges & universities, 770+ local governments and 13,000+ eVA Users.  The portal is used to announce bidding opportunities, get quotes and to place orders for goods/services. If you’re curious about what types of businesses are SWAM-certified, you can peruse the online directory here.

If you’re a business owner in Culpeper, don’t miss out on the potential of SWAM certification!