Virginia Beach SWaM Business Forum to Focus on Supplier Diversity Procurement Opportunities

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

​The City of Virginia Beach will hold the 2015 Small, Women-owned and Minority-owned (SWaM) Business Forum on Sept. 30 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will be held at the Tidewater Community College Virginia Beach Student Center, 1700 College Crescent.

The forum is co-hosted by Councilmember Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond and the Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development. Secretary of the Commonwealth Levar Stoney is the featured speaker.

The SWaM Forum provides the local small-business community an opportunity to learn how several of the largest energy companies in the mid-Atlantic region have structured and operate their diversity programs. Information sessions with key energy providers offer insight on procurement opportunities, access to capital information, business certification information, strategic partnership opportunities and understanding the channels of supplier diversity. Speakers will include representatives from AGL/Virginia Natural Gas, Columbia Gas, Duke Energy and Washington Gas.

For additional information about the forum or small business resources, contact Jeff Smith, small business development manager with Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development, at (757) 385-6464. Registration information is available online at

“Small business is an essential element of our economic development growth, as Virginia Beach is home to 33 percent of all business startup activity in the region,” said Warren D. Harris, director of Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development. “Providing access to large business partners is vitally important and is a strategy that’s working. Two participants in last year’s forum landed significant business deals with large companies that presented at the event, and 25 percent of our business announcements last fiscal year were by SWaM companies. Since 2012, 34 SWaM companies have announced the creation of 534 new jobs and more than $17.4 million in new capital investment in our city.”

The SWaM Business Forum is one of several initiatives the Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development has launched to grow and support small businesses within the city. The other initiatives include special programs and workshops, a business mentoring program with higher education partners, networking, resource identification and connections, consultation with the regional office of Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity, Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) free business counseling, online support about how to start a business and online Defense Business Center resources for information about how to do business with the government.

The mission of the Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development is to attract and retain national and international businesses to stimulate capital investment and create jobs. Virginia Beach is the most populous city in Virginia with a population of 450,000 and it is the 37th largest in the United States. It is recognized as one of the Best Run Cities in America by 24/7 Wall St. The Department of Economic Development received re-accreditation through the International Economic Development Council in 2012 and is one of only 29 economic development organizations in the world to have this recognition. It is listed among the Top Five Overall Mid-Sized American Cities of the Future, Top 10 for Economic Potential and Top Five for Infrastructure by fDi magazine. ranked Virginia Beach as the Easiest Place to Start a Business and the 2nd Most Business-Friendly City in the country. For more information, visit

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