Skip Navigation

Supplier Diversity

The Department of Minority Business Enterprise

The Department of Minority Business Enterprise (DMBE) is a state agency dedicated to enhancing the participation of small, women- and minority-owned businesses in Virginia’s procurement process. The agency administers the Small, Women- and Minority-owned Businesses program under Virginia’s SWaM Procurement Initiative.

Small, Women-Owned, and Minority-Owned (SWaM) Firms

SWaM firms are small businesses and businesses owned and operated by women or minorities. In order to be classified as a SWaM business, vendors must be certified as such by DMBE.

    • Small Business

    • For the purposes of classification and reporting, a small business enterprise is an independently owned and operated business which, together with affiliates, has 250 or fewer employees, or average annual gross receipts of $10 million or less averaged over the previous three years. For the purpose of the SWaM Program, the definition of small business enterprise shall be interpreted to include all certified woman-owned and minority-owned businesses.
    • Women-Owned Business

    • For the purposes of classification and reporting, a women-owned business is defined as a business concern which is at least 51 percent owned by one or more women who are U.S. citizens or legal resident aliens, or in the case of a corporation, partnership or limited liability company or other entity, at least 51 percent of the equity ownership interest in which is owned by one or more women, and whose management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more of such individuals.
    • Minority-Owned Business

    • For the purposes of classification and reporting, a minority-owned business is defined as a business concern which is at least 51 percent owned by one or more minorities or in the case of a corporation, partnership or limited liability company or other entity, at least 51 percent of the equity ownership interest in which is owned by one or more minorities and whose management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more of such individuals.

VCU’s Commitment to SWaM Firms

Diversity in expenditures is strongly supported by Procurement Services. SWaM businesses are solicited and encouraged to participate in the procurement activities of the University and records are maintained documenting such solicitation efforts and participation. The University also encourages its contractors to provide for the participation of SWaM firms through partnerships, joint ventures, subcontracts and other contractual opportunities. User departments at the University are encouraged to support procurement diversity using their $10,000 delegated purchasing authority. This direction is provided to departments through formal fiscal training classes and regularly scheduled departmental visits conducted by the buying staff. Small, women and minority-owned businesses are encouraged to establish business relationships with user departments that may require products and or services from their firm.

Ways VCU Provides Business Opportunities to SWaM Firms

Solicitation Requirements

Procurement Services’ procedure for increasing procurement opportunities for SWaM businesses requires the buying staff to solicit these firms as defined below:

  • Departments have delegated authority to purchases up to $10,000 noncompetitively and should include SWaM businesses to the extent practicable.
  • Solicitations between $10,000 and $50,000 must include a minimum of four SWaM businesses, provided there is adequate registration by commodity.
  • Solicitations over $50,000 must include a minimum of six SWaM businesses, provided there is adequate registration by commodity.

Any solicitation wherein the aforementioned number of SWaM businesses will not be solicited requires advance written approval from the Supplier Diversity Champion or his/her designee.

Advertisement Requirements

All formal RFPs and Statement of Interest applications must be advertised/posted in the:

  • Richmond Times-Dispatch
  • Richmond Free Press (a local minority-owned newspaper) (construction related purchases and purchases for goods/services with significant minority-owned registration only)
  • eVA

All IFBs must be advertised in the:

  • Richmond Times-Dispatch (FMD-Construction Management issued projects only)
  • eVA

A copy of all IFBs, RFPs and Statement of Interest Applications must be sent to the following organizations:

  • Central Virginia Business and Construction Association (CVBCA)
  • Metropolitan Business League (MBL)
  • Virginia Department of Minority Business Enterprises (DMBE)
  • Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council (VMSDC)

Evaluation Requirement

Formal solicitations have SWaM commitment as one of the evaluation criteria.

Outreach

Procurement Services staff participate in trade fairs and other events that focus on developing business relationships between governmental agencies/institutions and SWaM businesses. These staff members meet with representatives of SWaM businesses to encourage them to certify through DMBE and to educate these firms on VCU’s procurement policies and procedures.

VCU participates in VASCUPP’s annual SWaM Expo as a part of the University’s ongoing outreach efforts and to achieve diversity in procurement.

Goal Setting, Monitoring, and Reporting

The University’s goal is to be a leader among the commonwealth’s institutions of higher education in supplier diversity.

Contracts in which prime contractors have made SWaM commitments are recorded in a database. The University sends a letter on a quarterly basis to each prime contractor who has made a second-tier commitment. The letter requires the prime contractor to provide information regarding expenditures to second-tier SWaM businesses that were utilized on the specific contract. The prime contractor must provide the name of the second-tier firm, business classification of the firm (e.g. minority-owned), and the dollar amount paid. The reported information will be compared with the prime contractor’s commitment to determine whether the prime contractor is fulfilling its contractual obligations.

Payments are withheld for prime contractors who fail to report information on a timely basis (until the information is reported). Prime contractors that do not meet their SWaM commitments may be held in contractual default.

Expenditures with SWaM businesses are calculated on a monthly basis and reported to the Virginia Department of Minority Business Enterprises (DMBE) on a quarterly basis. The University compares its SWaM expenditures with the VCU-specific SWaM goals, and reports progress on a monthly basis to senior management. SWaM expenditure calculations include direct payments, purchases from SWaM businesses using the P-Card, and second-tier SWaM reporting provided by prime contractors.

For More Information

procurement servicesUniversity Purchasing »
10 S. 6th Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219