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SWaM Certification FAQs

SWaM Certification

Frequently Asked Questions


What is SWaM Certification?

SWaM stands for Small, Women-owned, and Minority-owned business enterprise. This certification is assigned for free to qualifying businesses from the Virginia DMBE (Department of Minority Business Enterprise). In 2006 Governor Tim Kaine signed Executive Order 33 in order to enhance business opportunities in the Commonwealth of Virginia for SWaM-certified firms.


Why am I being asked to certify?

The University currently has a large number of vendors who qualify for SWaM certification but have not applied for certification. This reduces the number of SWaM vendors available to quote on University business, and does not allow the Supplier Diversity Initiative to accurately report the dollars the University spends with diverse businesses. Therefore, it is of high priority to us that qualifying business partners obtain their SWaM Certification.


What are the benefits to certification?

There are several benefits to certifying your firm as SWaM at UVa:

  • eVA fees are capped at $500 per order for SWaM-certified firms.
  • SWaM-certified firms are automatically included in the Department of Minority Business Enterprise's SWaM Vendor Search, which is imported into UVa's website for departmental purchasers looking for sources for goods or services. Unlike in eVA, the commodity codes in DMBE are customizable, which means that SWaM firms can optimize their listing for searches.
  • SWaM-certified firms on contract at UVa receive eye-catching SWaM logos on their contract listings.
  • Certifying as SWaM helps the University meet its internal business goals.


I'm a small business, but I'm not women- and minority-owned. Do I qualify as SWaM?

Yes! You don't need to be small AND women- AND minority-owned to be a SWaM firm. You can find more information about the definitions of small, women-, or minority-owned businesses at the DMBE's Frequently Asked Questions website, #4-7.


How do I certify?

From the DMBE website:

  1. Complete the Online Application for SWaM Certification.
  2. Print, sign and date the completed application form. (Printing for Mozilla Firefox Users, click here)
  3. Mail the signed application and all required supporting documents to DMBE.
    Important notice :
    You must mail us your signed application with all required supporting documents or your application will not be processed.
    Do not submit the original copy of supporting documents.



What kind of supporting documents do I need to submit?

It depends on how your business is set up. The list of required supporting documents can be found here:


This is confusing. I need help!

The UVa Supplier Diversity is happy to help you with this process. Contact Jack King or Lorie Strother for assistance. The Central Virginia Procurement Technical Assistance Center is also a great (free!) resource.


What happens if I don’t choose to certify?

Nothing. University departments may purchase from whomever they’d like. However, according to our policy they must first seek a quote from a SWaM-certified vendor. The Supplier Diversity Initiative greatly appreciates the effort this process takes to help us fulfill our mission.


Where can I check my certification status?

You can check your certification status by visiting here, clicking on the "Company Name" tab, and entering your company's name.


Still have questions? Contact Supplier Diversity Business Operations Manager Jack King at (434) 924-0688 or at