A Program to Help Virginia’s Small Businesses Reach Their Full Potential
The Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade is pleased to announce its 2017 “Ones to Watch” Initiative in partnership with the United States Senate Productivity and Quality Award (SPQA) Program for Virginia and the District of Columbia. Organizations in Virginia and DC which receive the SPQA Medallion are believed to be the best in their class when compared to the nation’s standard for excellence – the Baldrige Excellence Framework and its Criteria for Performance Excellence.

The “Ones to Watch” partnership provides small businesses an opportunity to learn ways to avoid the pitfalls of starting, maintaining and growing a business. The “Ones to Watch” project includes a small business Discovery assessment against the Malcolm Baldrige criteria (a nationally recognized business model for continuous quality improvement and performance excellence), a SPQA independent evaluation and feedback report, a professional mentor to guide and support the business in getting a community partner to assist in the development and implementation of a business improvement plan and press recognition for program participation.

What is “Ones to Watch”?
Virginia SPQA’s Ones to Watch initiative is based on the Baldrige Excellence Framework. The program helps Virginia businesses improve financial results, customer loyalty, job creation, operational effectiveness, improvement strategies, and workforce engagement.

Who should apply?
Small business owners committed to performance excellence and business growth in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Why should you participate?
Virginia SPQA’s Ones to Watch benefits you and your business. These benefits include:

Free training on how to conduct a Discovery (Baldrige based) self-evaluation of your business processes
Actionable feedback on the strengths and opportunities for improvement of your business
An experienced mentor who will work with you one-to-one to help you navigate and complete the program
Access to a network of professional service and resource providers
Press recognition for program participation
The Ones To Watch Program is sponsored by:
Virginia’s Secretary of Commerce and Trade and the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity
Virginia’s U.S. Senate Productivity and Quality Award organization
Representatives from Virginia State Agencies and Partner Organizations supporting Small Business in the Commonwealth of Virginia
Small Business Eligibility Requirements:
51% independently owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are U.S. citizens or legal resident aliens
Fewer than 250 employees and less than $10M gross receipts over previous 3 years
Control of management and daily operations by one or more individual owners
Business headquarters and principle operations primarily located in the Commonwealth of Virginia
Business has not filed for bankruptcy or foreclosure within the last 24 months while in operation/incorporated
Business or its owners are not subject of investigations and not named subject of any current criminal investigations or criminal proceedings
Business or its owners are not subject of investigations and not named subject of any current criminal investigations or criminal proceedings
Program is open to any business from any sector that’s not otherwise restricted from participating in business and economic development programs offered by the Commonwealth
Owners agree to training, self-assessment, mentor assignment, and one-year commitment to participation in the Ones to Watch program
Other Factors for Consideration:
Minority, woman, and/or veteran-owned small business
For more information, please contact SPQA at OnestoWatch@spqa-va.org. 

Supported by State Advisory Committee:
Virginia’s Advisor for Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Virginia Community College System
Virginia Economic Development Partnership
Viginia Small Business Development Network
Virginia Cooperative Extension
Virginia U.S. Senate Productivity and Quality Award Program (SPQA)
Virginia Small Business Financing Authority
Virginia Community Impact
Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development
Ones To Watch Discovery Guide (PDF)
Ones To Watch Application (MS Word)

Voices from Participants

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OTW Cohort Resources

The 2019 3rd OTW Cohort is using several resources to help drive their organizational excellence journey. It begins with a survey of leadership, which helps establish a baseline and begins to identify possible areas of improvement. This is followed by the SPQA Discovery process, which deepens understanding and provides assessment information necessary to develop improvement…

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