If you are a small business and have only targeted US federal government bid opportunities, you may be missing a valuable way to increase your business revenue and past performance experience. Most state and local governments have established e-Procurement systems for their procurement activities. The e-Procurement systems allow you to see business opportunities and facilitate business transactions for both parties, buyers, and sellers.
If you are interested in doing business with Virginia (VA) or any other state, you need to learn how their e-Procurement systems function, as well as getting registered with their platforms. In this blog, you will find important information that will help you win Virginia state contracts, including:
- An introduction to VA’s e-Procurement system
- VA e-Procurement registration advantages and registration process
- Information about Small, Women-owned, and Minority-owned (SWaM) Certification
- GovShop VA Bid Opportunities
VA e-Procurement System
The state of Virginia has been operating one of the nation’s leading enterprise-wide electronic procurement systems, eVA, to make sure that VA state agencies and suppliers maximize their visibility and access to every commonwealth procurement opportunity. All VA state agencies are required to purchase products and services through eVA system, beginning at the point of solicitations or requisitions for all procurement, including IT, construction, and transportation. More than 245 state agencies and colleges/universities, as well as 900 local government and public bodies, use eVA to post bidding opportunities, receive quotes, electronically order goods/services and approval, evaluation, contract management, and more. Since 2003, eVA has been recognized by multiple entities as an innovative procurement electronic tool that has provided transparency and strategic methods in providing public bodies with goods, services, and information technology.
eVA has an array of services for suppliers including: vendor outreach and events, which provides webinars and educational selling courses; Virginia Business opportunities (VBO), a public bid opportunities database where you can view the opportunity description and attachments, selected as favorite, and response online through your eVA registration; Virginia Information Business Exchange (VIBE), a free platform that allows you to create advertisements and profiles to promote your services/products; and public search order, suppliers and contracts.
VA e-Procurement Registration Advantages and Registration process
Registration in eVA system is free for all American businesses. eVA registration gives full access to a variety of free services and tools. Businesses can maintain account profiles, receive bid opportunities and track business opportunities through email/fax notifications, access purchase order details, automate placement on bidders list, submit bids online and report subcontractor payments. eVA registration has another free functionality that will allow you to either load a catalog into eVA profile by using the catalog creator tool, or have eVA directly access your shopping website. Having an eVA catalog will maximize the visibility of your business and will give buyers an idea of what you sell. Review the Creating your Electronic Catalog Guide for further details and basic requirements.
Registering for the eVA procurement system is easy! Go to eVA website and click on “Register Now”, then click on “Vendor Registration”. The registration process has around 9 to 10 sections, the first one being “Search your company name and location” and the last one “Select NIGP to describe goods/services you sell.” To make the registration process easier for you, we recommend you to check out the step-by-step vendor registration Instructions. Additionally, have handy the following information for a smooth and successful registration:
- Company name
- Federal tax identification number (9 digits) that identifies your company.
- Address and contact information (Phone/Fax No., PO Box, email)
- Commodity codes that describe to buyers what your company sells. Use NIGP Codes lookup to identify your respective codes.
Through the registration process, the system will request you to upload the Commonwealth of Virginia Substitute W-9. Make sure you fill it out, sign by hand, date it, and attach the file successfully. If W-9 is not properly executed or received, the registration won’t be complete, and payment of goods/services will be delayed.
Small, Women-owned and Minority-owned (SWaM) Certification
The federal government has set-aside programs and certifications for small businesses according to their ownership, size and minority status. The state of Virginia also has small business set-aside programs. The Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD) offers the Small, Women-owned, and Minority Owned (SWaM) certification program to companies that are small businesses or qualify as a micro business, are owned by women, service disabled veterans, and/or minorities. Being a SWaM business certified will increase your company procurement opportunities in state-funded contracts.
Before you consider to start a SWaM certification application process, you need to qualify as a Virginia-based business and as a non-profit business. If you are a non-Virginia based business refer to “SBSD Certification Policy of Applications from Non-Virginia Based Businesses” for further instructions. If you comply with the two requirements above, you are set to go. To apply to this program, you must complete an on-line registration and provide (scan) the required documentation along with the application to be considered for certification. Find the documentation in “Documents Required for All Certification Applicants”. SWaM program will let you know if you have been certified 60 days after you have submitted your application and required documentation.
Businesses can verify if they have been SWaM certified by logging in their eVA profile. SBSD uploads SWaM information to eVA. Go to the profile icon, select your account, and type your Tax ID number, which must match with the Tax ID number included in the SWaM registration. Obtaining SWaM certification can be a business advantage for you when state agencies request in their solicitations or requisitions that business must be small business, woman-owned, service disable veteran or minority-owned certified. Time to get certified!
GovShop VA Bid Opportunities
GovShop offers national and international suppliers a variety of data services by optimizing matches between government bid opportunities and company capabilities. Suppliers can view and apply to Virginia state agencies opportunities and others by creating a GovShop free account, and be able to use the platform matching tool to find business opportunities through commodity codes, contract vehicles, and other government procurement-related filters. Now, if you go a step further and subscribe to one of the GovShop memberships, you will soon be seeing the latest project from our tech team, which will be offering a complete guide on how, where and what to search for state and local bid opportunities to increase customers’ target lists and maximize you business revenues.