The Commonwealth of Virginia (the Commonwealth)’s Small, Women-owned, and Minority-owned (SWaM) Business Program is designed to enhance procurement opportunities for SWaM businesses in Commonwealth contracting. The Commonwealth has commissioned BBC Research & Consulting (BBC) to conduct a disparity study to assess whether woman- and minority-owned (WAM) businesses face any barriers as part of the Commonwealth’s contracting processes. Information from the study will help the Commonwealth assess its efforts to encourage WAM businesses to bid on Commonwealth contracts and help inform any improvements necessary to optimize the Commonwealth’s contracting processes and the SWaM Program.

Study Analysis. The crux of the disparity study will be to examine whether there are any disparities between:

  • The percentage of contract dollars that the Commonwealth spent with WAM businesses during the study period (utilization); and
  • The percentage of contract dollars that WAM businesses might be expected to receive based on their availability to perform specific types and sizes of Commonwealth contracts (availability).

The study will focus on contracts and procurements that the Commonwealth awarded from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2019 in the areas of construction, services, and goods. The study will also examine other qualitative and quantitative information related to:

  • Legal considerations surrounding the SWaM Program;
  • Marketplace conditions for women, minorities, and WAM businesses;
  • Contracting practices and assistance programs that the Commonwealth currently has in place; and
  • Potential program measures for the Commonwealth to consider implementing to further encourage WAM business participation.

Study schedule. BBC initiated the disparity study in February 2020 and will complete the study at the end of December 2020. For details about the study schedule, click here.

Key contacts. If you have any questions or comments regarding the 2020 Commonwealth of Virginia Disparity Study, please contact:
Verniece Love
Deputy Director, Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity
Commonwealth of Virginia
(t) 804-786-3100; (e)

Alternatively, you can contact the project team directly at:
Stephanie Ayers
Associate, BBC Research & Consulting
(t) 303-321-2547; (e)

Study progress. The Commonwealth will provide regular updates about BBC’s progress on the disparity study throughout its course. Please check back periodically for those updates.

Project initiation. The Commonwealth and BBC initiated the 2020 Commonwealth of Virginia Disparity Study in February 2020 with a series of in-person meetings with various Commonwealth departments and representatives. BBC met with the Commonwealth to introduce the study, answer questions, and begin the process of understanding contracting and vendor data that the Commonwealth maintains. For the presentation that the project team used for those meetings, click here.

Data collection. BBC began working with the Commonwealth in February 2020 to collect data on contracts and procurements that the Commonwealth awarded during the study period as well as information about the vendors that participated in that work.

Next steps. BBC will engage in the tasks in the coming months:

  • Community meetings. The project team will conduct a series of community meetings in various locations throughout the Commonwealth, which will tentatively be held in September 2020. During the community meetings, BBC will present information about the disparity study, answer any questions, and solicit participants for any verbal or written testimony that they would like to share about their experiences working in the marketplace. Further details including specific dates, times, and locations of the meetings will be available soon. Please participate and make sure your insights are included as part of the process!
  • Data collection. BBC will continue to work with the Commonwealth to collect data on contracts that it awarded during the study period and the vendors that participated in those contracts.
  • Data analysis. BBC will begin analyzing data that it collects from the Commonwealth. BBC will begin assessing the subindustries that account for the majority of Commonwealth contracting, the geographical area that is most relevant to Commonwealth contracting, and the percentage of total contract dollars WAM businesses received on Commonwealth prime contracts and subcontracts during the study period.
  • Availability surveys. In the Summer of 2020, the project team will begin conducting availability telephone surveys with businesses in the relevant geographic market area that perform work that is relevant to Commonwealth contracting. If we contact your business, please participate in the survey process to help ensure an accurate and comprehensive survey process!