Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 2.2. Administration of Government
Chapter 16.1. Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity
5/29/2022

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 2.2-1603. Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity created; appointment of Director; offices; personnel.

A. There is hereby created a Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (the Department), which shall be headed by a Director appointed by the Governor to serve at his pleasure. The Director shall also serve as a special assistant to the Governor for small, women-owned, and minority-owned business development.

B. The Director of the Department shall, under the direction and control of the Governor, exercise the powers and perform the duties conferred or imposed upon him by law and perform such other duties as may be required by the Governor.

C. The Department shall have its main office in Richmond and may have branch offices as may be necessary, as determined by the Director subject to the approval of the Secretary of Commerce and Trade.

2013, c. 482.

§ 2.2-1604. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Certification" means the process by which (i) a business is determined to be a small, women-owned, or minority-owned business or (ii) an employment services organization, for the purpose of reporting small, women-owned, and minority-owned business and employment services organization participation in state contracts and purchases pursuant to §§ 2.2-1608 and 2.2-1610.

"Department" means the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity or any division of the Department to which the Director has delegated or assigned duties and responsibilities.

"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.

"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.

"Minority individual" means an individual who is a citizen of the United States or a legal resident alien and who satisfies one or more of the following definitions:

1. "African American" means a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Africa and who is regarded as such by the community of which this person claims to be a part.

2. "Asian American" means a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, or the Pacific Islands, including but not limited to Japan, China, Vietnam, Samoa, Laos, Cambodia, Taiwan, Northern Mariana Islands, the Philippines, a U.S. territory of the Pacific, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, or Sri Lanka, and who is regarded as such by the community of which this person claims to be a part.

3. "Hispanic American" means a person having origins in any of the Spanish-speaking peoples of Mexico, South or Central America, or the Caribbean Islands or other Spanish or Portuguese cultures and who is regarded as such by the community of which this person claims to be a part.

4. "Native American" means a person having origins in any of the original peoples of North America and who is regarded as such by the community of which this person claims to be a part or who is recognized by a tribal organization.

"Minority-owned business" means a business that is at least 51 percent owned by one or more minority individuals who are U.S. citizens or legal resident aliens, or in the case of a corporation, partnership, or limited liability company or other entity, at least 51 percent of the equity ownership interest in the corporation, partnership, or limited liability company or other entity is owned by one or more minority individuals who are U.S. citizens or legal resident aliens, and both the management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more minority individuals, or any historically black college or university, regardless of the percentage ownership by minority individuals or, in the case of a corporation, partnership, or limited liability company or other entity, the equity ownership interest in the corporation, partnership, or limited liability company or other entity.

"Small business" means a business that is at least 51 percent independently owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are U.S. citizens or legal resident aliens and, together with affiliates, has 250 or fewer employees or average annual gross receipts of $10 million or less averaged over the previous three years. One or more of the individual owners shall control both the management and daily business operations of the small business.

"State agency" means any authority, board, department, instrumentality, institution, agency, or other unit of state government. "State agency" does not include any county, city, or town.

"Women-owned business" means a business that is at least 51 percent owned by one or more women who are U.S. citizens or legal resident aliens, or in the case of a corporation, partnership, or limited liability company or other entity, at least 51 percent of the equity ownership interest is owned by one or more women who are U.S. citizens or legal resident aliens, and both the management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more women.

2013, c. 482; 2015, cc. 765, 775; 2016, c. 525.

§ 2.2-1605. Powers and duties of Department.

A. The Department shall have the following powers and duties:

1. Coordinate as consistent with prevailing law the plans, programs, and operations of the state government that affect or may contribute to the establishment, preservation, and strengthening of small, women-owned, and minority-owned businesses;

2. Promote the mobilization of activities and resources of state and local governments, businesses and trade associations, baccalaureate institutions of higher education, foundations, professional organizations, and volunteer and other groups towards the growth of small businesses and businesses owned by women and minorities, and facilitate the coordination of the efforts of these groups with those of state departments and agencies;

3. Establish a center for the development, collection, summarization, and dissemination of information that will be helpful to persons and organizations throughout the nation in undertaking or promoting procurement from small, women-owned, and minority-owned businesses;

4. Consistent with prevailing law and availability of funds, and according to the Director's discretion, provide technical and management assistance to small, women-owned, and minority-owned businesses and defray all or part of the costs of pilot or demonstration projects that are designed to overcome the special problems of small, women-owned, and minority-owned businesses;

5. Advise the Small Business Financing Authority on the management and administration of the Small, Women-owned, and Minority-owned Business Loan Fund created pursuant to § 2.2-2311.1;

6. Implement any remediation or enhancement measure for small, women-owned, or minority-owned businesses as may be authorized by the Governor pursuant to subsection C of § 2.2-4310 and develop regulations, consistent with prevailing law, for program implementation. Such regulations shall be developed in consultation with the state agencies with procurement responsibility and promulgated by those agencies in accordance with applicable law; and

7. Receive and coordinate, with the appropriate state agency, the investigation of complaints that a business certified pursuant to this chapter has failed to comply with its subcontracting plan under subsection D of § 2.2-4310. If the Department determines that a business certified pursuant to this chapter has failed to comply with the subcontracting plan, the business shall provide a written explanation.

B. In addition, the Department shall serve as the liaison between the Commonwealth's existing businesses and state government in order to promote the development of Virginia's economy. To that end, the Department shall:

1. Encourage the training or retraining of individuals for specific employment opportunities at new or expanding business facilities in the Commonwealth;

2. Develop and implement programs to assist small businesses in the Commonwealth in order to promote their growth and the creation and retention of jobs for Virginians;

3. Establish an industry program that is the principal point of communication between basic employers in the Commonwealth and the state government that will address issues of significance to business;

4. Make available to existing businesses, in conjunction and cooperation with localities, chambers of commerce, and other public and private groups, basic information and pertinent factors of interest and concern to such businesses; and

5. Develop statistical reports on job creation and the general economic conditions in the Commonwealth.

C. All agencies of the Commonwealth shall assist the Department upon request and furnish such information and assistance as the Department may require in the discharge of its duties.

2013, c. 482; 2014, cc. 41, 464; 2015, cc. 696, 697, 733; 2016, c. 520; 2020, c. 1234.

§ 2.2-1606. Powers of Director.

As deemed necessary or appropriate to better fulfill the duties of the Department, the Director may:

1. With the participation of other state departments and agencies, develop comprehensive plans and specific program goals for small, women-owned, and minority-owned business programs; establish regular performance monitoring and reporting systems to assure that goals of state agencies and institutions are being achieved; and evaluate the impact of federal and state support in achieving objectives.

2. Employ the necessary personnel or subcontract, according to his discretion, with localities to supplement the functions of business development organizations.

3. Assure the coordinated review of all proposed state training and technical assistance activities in direct support of small, women-owned, and minority-owned business programs to ensure consistency with program goals and to avoid duplication.

4. Convene, for purposes of coordination, meetings of the heads of departments and agencies, or their designees, whose programs and activities may affect or contribute to the purposes of this chapter.

5. Convene business leaders, educators, and other representatives of the private sector who are engaged in assisting the development of small, women-owned, and minority-owned business programs or who could contribute to their development for the purpose of proposing, evaluating, or coordinating governmental and private activities in furtherance of the objectives of this chapter.

6. Provide the managerial and organizational framework through which joint undertakings with state departments or agencies or private organizations can be planned and implemented.

7. Recommend appropriate legislative or executive actions.

8. Adopt regulations to implement certification programs for small, women-owned, and minority-owned businesses and employment services organizations, which regulations shall be exempt from the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.) pursuant to subdivision B 2 of § 2.2-4002. Such certification programs shall allow applications for certification to be submitted by electronic means as authorized by § 59.1-496 and the applicant to affix thereto his electronic signature, as defined in § 59.1-480. Such certification programs shall deny certification to vendors from states that deny like certifications to Virginia-based small, women-owned, or minority-owned businesses and employment services organizations or that provide a preference for small, women-owned, or minority-owned businesses and employment services organizations based in that state that is not available to Virginia-based businesses. The regulations shall (i) establish minimum requirements for certification of small, women-owned, and minority-owned businesses and employment services organizations; (ii) provide a process for evaluating existing local, state, and private sector certification programs that meet the minimum requirements; and (iii) mandate certification without any additional paperwork of any small, women-owned, or minority-owned business that has obtained (a) certification under any federal certification program or (b) certification under any other certification program that is determined to meet the minimum requirements established in the regulations, and of any employment services organization that has been approved by the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services. All employment services organization certifications shall remain in effect until the Department is notified by the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services that such organization is no longer approved. The regulations shall also require as a prerequisite for approval that any out-of-state business applying for certification in Virginia as a small, women-owned, or minority-owned business have the equivalent certification in the business's state of origin. An out-of-state business located in a state that does not have a small, women-owned, or minority-owned business certification program shall be exempt from the requirements of this provision. The regulations shall establish a process for businesses that are denied initial certification as a small, women-owned, or minority-owned business to appeal such denial on the basis that the Department made a mistake in denying the business's application for certification.

9. Establish an interdepartmental board in accordance with § 2.2-1608 to supply the Director with information useful in promoting minority business activity.

2013, c. 482; 2017, cc. 380, 573; 2018, c. 681; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 149.

§ 2.2-1607. Nonstock corporation to assist small businesses.

The Department may establish a nonstock corporation under Chapter 10 (§ 13.1-801 et seq.) of Title 13.1 as an instrumentality to assist the Department in providing support to the small business segment of the economy of the Commonwealth. The Department may do all things necessary to qualify such corporation as a certified development company under Subchapter V of the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 (15 U.S.C. § 695 et seq.), or any amendment or successor statute thereto, as well as regulations adopted thereunder by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Any action by the Department to establish such a corporation prior to July 1, 1986, is ratified and approved.

2013, c. 482.

§ 2.2-1608. Interdepartmental Board; cooperation with Department.

A. The Interdepartmental Board established by the Director shall be composed of heads of the several departments and agencies of state government, or their respective designees, whose functions affect small, women-owned, and minority-owned businesses. The participating departments and agencies shall be determined by the Director of the Department. The Interdepartmental Board shall meet at the call of the Director and shall supply the Director with information useful in promoting small, women-owned, and minority-owned business development.

B. The head of each participating state department and agency or his designee shall furnish information, assistance, and reports to, and shall otherwise cooperate with, the Director in the performance of his duties as needed.

C. The head of each participating state department or agency shall, when so requested by the Director, designate an assistant or such other similar official to have primary and continuing responsibility for the participation and cooperation of that department or agency in matters concerning small, women-owned, and minority-owned businesses.

D. Each participating state department or agency shall, within constraints of law and availability of funding, continue all current efforts to foster and promote small, women-owned, and minority-owned businesses and to support small, women-owned, and minority-owned business programs, and shall cooperate with the Director in increasing the total state effort.

2013, c. 482.

§ 2.2-1609. Use of vendors identified by public institutions of higher education as small, women-owned, and minority-owned businesses.

For purposes of compliance with § 2.2-4310, a public institution of higher education that meets the conditions prescribed in subsection A of § 23.1-1002 may procure goods, services, and construction from vendors identified by such public institutions of higher education as small, women-owned, or minority-owned businesses that the institution has certified as such based on criteria approved by the Department. An institution exercising the authority granted by this section shall establish and follow internal procedures and processes designed to verify whether or not a vendor qualifies to be certified as a small, women-owned, or minority-owned business under the Department-approved criteria and the certification requirements. The institution shall notify the Department promptly of the certification and shall provide the Department with a copy of its written certification identifying the vendor as a small, women-owned, or minority-owned business and all application materials submitted by the vendor to the institution. Such certification shall remain in effect unless and until the Department notifies the institution that the vendor does not meet the certification requirements.

2013, c. 482.

§ 2.2-1610. Reports and recommendations; collection of data.

The Director shall, from time to time, submit directly or through an assistant to the Governor his recommendations for legislation or other action as he deems desirable to promote the purposes of this chapter.

The Director shall report, on or before November 1 of each year, to the Governor and the General Assembly the identity of the state departments and agencies failing to submit annual progress reports on small, women-owned, and minority-owned business procurement required by § 2.2-4310 and the nature and extent of such lack of compliance. The annual report shall include recommendations on the ways to improve compliance with the provisions of § 2.2-4310 and such other related matters as the Director deems appropriate.

The Director, with the assistance of the Comptroller, shall develop and implement a systematic data collection process that will provide information for a report to the Governor and General Assembly on state expenditures to small, women-owned, and minority-owned businesses during the previous fiscal year.

An institution exercising authority granted under this section shall promptly make available to the Department, upon request, copies of its procurement records, receipts, and transactions in regard to procurement from small, women-owned, and minority-owned businesses in order for the Department to ensure institution compliance with its approved reporting and certification criteria.

2013, c. 482.