Virginia announces app to make small businesses and those owned by minorities and women more accessible

Business

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia is urging residents and agencies to check out a new app that helps connect them with small, minority-owned and women-owned businesses.

The app, called Start Small, was created by the Virginia Department of Transportation and uses vendor data from the Department of General Services’ electronic procurement system.

Anyone can use the app by searching the system for keywords. There are about 100,000 registered vendors in the system, including those owned by women, minorities and service-disabled veterans.

“Virginia is stronger because of our small businesses,” said Gov. Ralph Northam. “This app makes it easier than ever to support our local, women-owned, and minority-owned businesses. I encourage all Virginians to take advantage of Start Small to find vendors that fit their needs.”

The system also helps agencies with “routine purchases that keep government running and make up millions in dollars of government spending,” Northam’s office said. In 2019, Northam issued an executive order requiring executive branch agencies and institutions to use more than 42% of discretionary spending with certified small businesses.

Companies can register to do business with the commonwealth through this system. It is free to do so.

“With the Virginia Department of Transportation constructing and maintaining over 57,000 miles of roadway across the Commonwealth, in addition to the equipment and tools necessary to keep Virginia moving, our agency does business with vendors and suppliers across the state,” said the Virginia Department of Transportation Commissioner Stephen C. Brich. “We are proud to contribute to the growth and success of Virginia entrepreneurs and the economy by supporting small businesses owned by women, minorities and disabled veterans.”

“We are excited to collaborate with the Virginia Department of Transportation to make it easier and more convenient for state employees to find eVA registered vendors all across the Commonwealth,” Department of General Services Director Joe Damico said. “We understand that when employees are in the field and they need immediate supplies, they just need to get the job done. Bringing this information to their fingertips helps ensure those taxpayer dollars are spent with Virginia’s small businesses to the greatest extent possible.”

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