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Certification Division

The Certification Division is responsible for the administration of Virginia’s business certification programs. Its mission is to ensure only bona fide Small, Woman-owned, and Minority-owned Businesses (SWaM), Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE), and Employment Services Organizations (ESO) are certified to participate in Virginia’s specialized procurement and contracting opportunities. The Division has three units: SWaM Certification, DBE Certification, and Transportation Business Development Assistance.

The Division provides certifications for SWaM, DBE, ESO, and Service Disabled Veteran-owned businesses (SDV). In addition, the Division also provides specialized management and technical assistance to DBE firms participating in projects funded by the US Department of Transportation and other federal sectors.

Certification Types:

  1. SWaM: The Small, Women-owned, and Minority-owned Business (SWaM) certification program is a state program of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The purpose is to enhance procurement opportunities for SWaM businesses participating in state-funded projects. For more information on or to apply for SWaM Certification including; Small, Women-owned, Minority-owned, Micro, Service Disabled Veterans, click here.
  2. DBE: The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certification program is a Federal program. The purpose is to increase the participation of certified DBEs in projects funded by the US Department of Transportation and other federal sectors. For more information or to apply for DBE Certification, click here.
  3. ESO: “Employment services organization” means an organization that provides community-based employment services to individuals with disabilities that is an approved Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) accredited vendor of the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services. To learn more or apply for ESO, click here.
  4. HBCU: “Historically black colleges and university” includes any college or university that was established prior to 1964; whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans; and that is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association determined by the Secretary of Education.  In addition, “Minority-owned business” means also any historically black college or university, regardless of the percentage ownership by minority individuals.

Transportation Business Development Assistance

The Department provides specialized management and technical assistance to DBE firms participating in projects funded by the US Department of Transportation and other federal sectors.   The primary purpose of the specialized assistance is to provide training, assistance, and services to DBEs certified in the DBE program to increase their activity in the program, and to facilitate the firms’ development into viable, self-sufficient organizations capable of competing for, and performing on Federally- assisted highway projects.