A Program to Help Virginia’s Small Businesses Reach Their Full Potential

SPQA’s Ones to Watch initiative (OTW)  is an outgrowth of the 2011-12 SPQA “12 to Watch” program. The objective is to help small businesses  improve strategies and measure results focused on finances, internal operational processes, employees/stakeholders, and learning/growth. The “Ones to Watch” small businesses begin the program completing an organizational profile and Discovery self-assessment using the Baldrige Performance Excellence Framework – a nationally recognized business model for continuous quality improvement and performance excellence. The initiative also involves a SPQA independent evaluation and feedback report. A professional mentor guides the small business throughout the OTW process and helps identify resources to assist in the development and implementation of a personalized business performance improvement plan.

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
  • Virginia 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
  • YesVirginia


Ones to Watch Application 2019

Ones to Watch Discovery Guide 2019

2017 Ones to Watch Small Businesses:


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National Security and Door

It all began in 1981 when two cousins, Dick & Scott Childless, founded National Key & Lock Security; offering locksmithing services. As the years past, the company took on more product lines and slowly became the total opening solution it is today. In 2003, the company changed it name to National Security & Door to better reflect…

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J. R. Caskey, Inc

J. R. Caskey, Inc. is a woman-owned Commercial Site and Utility Contractor offering a vast menu of Construction Services for over 30 years operating in central Virginia.  We have the capability of producing diverse solutions and the Value-Engineering required for optimal environmental conservation and Design-Build projects. We take great pride in our reputation for mastering…

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Intellectual Point

Intellectual Point is a Global Information Technology, Training, Consulting and Software Development Company. Intellectual Point provides professional hands-on computer and IT training as well as certifications to prepare you with the marketable skills and knowledge needed for today’s competitive job market. Intellectual Point offers classes that are designed on the principle of “Learning-By-Doing” for many…

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Highground Services

Highground Services, Inc. is an engineering corporation that specializes in process control, system automation, and instrumentation projects in industrial and municipal markets.  Highground Services, Inc. was formed as a partnership of two established engineering businesses – Maximum Controls, Inc. and Industrial Systems Engineering, LLC. The founders of Highground Services, Inc. (John Warren, James Strozier, Rose Warren, and Lisa Strozier), have…

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