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
  • YesVirginia


Ones To Watch Discovery Guide (PDF)
Ones To Watch Application (MS Word)

2017 Ones to Watch Small Businesses:


RMGS is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB). We provide quality services based on decades of collective experience mitigating risk, without the overhead burden of larger, less flexible companies. WHY CHOOSE RMGS Cost – We provide clients high quality dedicated service at “best value” rates, consistent with our competitive overhead costs. Organization – We operate with minimal…

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National Security and Door

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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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