On July 22, Governor McAuliffe signed Executive Order 20: Advancing Equity for Small, Women, and Minority Owned Businesses (SWaM), which expands contracting opportunities for small businesses in the Commonwealth. The executive order sets the highest contracting goal in Virginia history of state expenditures to SWaM-certified businesses at 42%. It also creates a new “micro business” designation for small businesses with no more than 25 employees and no more than $3 million in revenue. Currently, over 80% of SWaM certified companies fall under this micro business category but often have to compete with companies over ten times their size for contracting opportunities.
This executive order is designed to ensure a more transparent, equitable, and inclusive procurement process for Virginia’s small, women, and minority-owned businesses, and has received praise from leaders across the Commonwealth. The following are from local elected officials:
Senator Louise Lucas, Portsmouth:
“Nearly two decades ago, I introduced a resolution (SJ12) to ease the process of state procurement for minority owned businesses. Today, I am proud to say that Governor McAuliffe has taken executive action to ensure an equitable and inclusive procurement process. I am glad to have a governor who recognizes the achievements of all hard working Virginians.”
Delegate Ron Villanueva, Virginia Beach:
“Governor McAuliffe’s small, women, and minority owned business Executive Order was designed to remove unnecessary barriers and promote equity in the procurement process. By taking the initiative to ensure equality, the Governor is providing exactly the kind of leadership that Virginia needs.”
Delegate Matthew James, Portsmouth:
“When Governor McAuliffe signed the small, women, and minority owned business executive order, he reminded us once again of his commitment to equality. This Executive Order sets a high bar for compliance, and failure to meet the SWaM plan requirements will be detrimental to the contractor’s future projects. The Governor is taking a stand and demanding inclusiveness, and I applaud him for that.”
Senator Kenny Alexander, Norfolk:
“Governor McAuliffe's commitment to improving Virginia’s business climate includes providing small, women and minority owned business with the needed resources for success. We should all applaud his inclusive approach. These enterprises are the future of Virginia’s economy and their success is critical to long term job growth."
Delegate Lionel Spruill, Chesapeake:
“Today, Governor McAuliffe announced his plan to maximize the participation of small, women, and minority owned businesses in state procurement. This deliberate step towards creating an inclusive process is indicative of his devotion to equality for all Virginians.”