Welcome to the Virginia Department of Minority Business Enterprise’s (or commonly known as “DMBE”) website! We hope you find the information we’re providing to be helpful and of value to your business.
Did you know that approximately 95% of Virginia businesses are small businesses and that Small, Women- and Minority-owned businesses are the source of most new jobs in Virginia? Unfortunately for these hardworking, talented entrepreneurs, growing a successful business is not an easy task. For most small businesses, opportunities and capital funding—the lifeblood of any successful business—are significantly more difficult to access.
DMBE is the state agency dedicated to enhancing the participation of our small, women- and minority-owned businesses in Virginia’s procurement opportunities. DMBE is responsible for the administration of two certification programs: the Small, Women- and Minority-owned Businesses under Virginia’s “SWaM” Procurement Initiative and the federal U.S. Department of Transportation’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (“DBE”) Program. DMBE also provides support to our certified businesses through business development and procurement advocacy programs, in cooperation with other agencies and departments.
Mission and Key Goals
The mission of the Department of Minority Business Enterprise is to promote access to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s contracting opportunities and ensure fairness in the procurement process.
DMBE has two key goals: (1) increase the number of certified businesses in the Commonwealth, and (2) increase the total dollars allocated to SWaM vendors as a percentage of all discretionary spend or contract dollars. For a more detailed look at DMBE’s performance measures, visit the Commonwealth’s VA Performs website at www.vaperforms.virginia.gov/ and go to DMBE’s performance measures.
History and Statutory Authority
The Department of Minority Business Enterprise was first established by the General Assembly of Virginia in 1975 at Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia. The General Assembly at that time recognized the importance of providing equal opportunity for participation in the purchasing policies and procedures of the Commonwealth. They noted: “…it is essential that opportunity be provided for participation in our free enterprise system by socially and economically disadvantaged persons…improve the functioning of our economy and realize the great potential of the Commonwealth….”
As with all state agencies, the foundation for the Department of Minority Business Enterprise lies in the Code of Virginia Additionally, the Virginia Public Procurement Act (VPPA) and Executive Orders 29 (2002), 103 (2005), and 10 (2006) in part outline key statutes, policies, procedures, initiatives, and responsibilities of the department. According to the Code of Virginia (§2.2-1402), the duties of DMBE include:
1. Coordinate as consistent with law the plans, programs and operations of the state government that affect or may contribute to the establishment, preservation, and strengthening of minority business enterprise.
2. Promote the mobilization of activities and resources of state and local governments, businesses and trade associations, universities, foundations, professional organizations, and volunteer and other groups towards the growth of minority business enterprises, and facilitate the coordination of the efforts of these groups with those of state departments and agencies.
3. Establish a center for the development, collection, summarization, and dissemination of information that will be helpful to persons and organizations throughout the nation in undertaking or promoting the establishment and successful operation of minority business enterprise.
4. Within constraints of law and availability of funds, and according to the Director's discretion, provide technical and management assistance to minority business enterprises, and defray all or part of the costs of pilot or demonstration projects that are designed to overcome the special problems of minority business enterprises.
5. Manage the Capital Access Fund for Disadvantaged Businesses created pursuant to § 2.2-2311, and, in cooperation with the Small Business Financing Authority, determine the qualifications, terms, and conditions for the use of such Fund.
The Code of Virginia established the Department of Minority Business Enterprise within the Office of the Governor and stipulates that the Governor shall have the authority to appoint an agency director to serve at the Governor’s pleasure. The director serves as a special assistant to the Governor for minority business development. Additionally, the Codestates that the department must have its main office in Richmond and may have branch offices as may be necessary as determined by the director, subject to the approval of the Secretary of Commerce and Trade. The Code of Virginia (§2.2.-204) assigns the Department of Minority Business Enterprise to the Secretary of Commerce and Trade and also permits the Governor, by executive order, to assign any agency listed in this section to another secretariat.
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Secretary of Administration oversees the Department of General Services, which generally coordinates all state procurement. Governor Timothy Kaine, recognizing the intricacies of DMBE in promoting participation and increasing utilization of Small, Women, and Minority-Owned businesses and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises in the Commonwealth’s procurement activities, signed Executive Order 10 (2006) on February 3, 2006. This action administratively transferred the responsibility for the Department of Minority Business Enterprise from the Secretary of Commerce and Trade to the Secretary of Administration and effectively consolidated the state’s procurement efforts under one secretariat.
The regulations which govern the SWaM Certification Program are found in the Virginia Administrative Code (7 VAC 10-21-10). The regulations which govern the certification of DBEs are found in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR Parts 23 and 26).