Virginia SPQA's "12 to Watch" Small Business Initiative Application Deadline is Set for May 31

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Eligible Virginia Small Businesses selected to participate have a real opportunity to learn how to move their business forward and be publicly recognized along the way.

“12 to Watch” is an initiative of the United States Senate Productivity and Quality Award Program for Virginia (Virginia SPQA) to promote the participation of twelve selected small businesses in the Virginia SPQA Discovery Program and provide related performance excellence technical mentoring at no cost. Small businesses selected to be one of the twelve are considered to be those poised for positive and sustainable job growth in the Commonwealth and will be recognized at the 30th annual Virginia Forum for Excellence on September 11, 2012 in Richmond.

Offered in partnership with the Virginia Department of Business Assistance, the United States Small Business Administration, the National Federation of Independent Business, Virginia Small Business Development Centers and the Office of the Virginia Lieutenant Governor in its role as Virginia’s Chief Jobs Officer, small businesses apply to become one of the “12 to Watch” based on eligibility and selection criteria.

In his role as Chief Jobs Officer, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling noted that “We must do everything we can to ensure that Virginia is the best place in America to open and run a small business. That’s why we are encouraging small businesses across the Commonwealth to participate in Virginia SPQA’s “12 to Watch” program again this year. This small business development initiative helps improve the efficiency and performance of Virginia’s small businesses and ensures that they are reaching their full potential. Initiatives like this one help get Virginia’s economy growing again and create jobs.”

According to Jo Rohr, Chairperson of the Virginia SPQA Board of Directors, “selection criteria considers among other factors, a small businesses’ position relative to high level requirements of the National Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence.” Rohr went on to say “we are looking for those small businesses committed to improvement because they are able to look at themselves through a broader performance lens.” The twelve selected organizations will develop and provide a Virginia SPQA Discovery Program self-assessment submission for evaluation and receive written feedback from Virginia SPQA Examiners. Additionally, representatives of the twelve organizations will be trained in conducting the assessment and throughout the process will receive the services of a Mentor.

Rohr added, “being one of the twelve in and of itself is a level of recognition with positive benefits, but the process has additional benefits as well.”

Small businesses interested in this program can go to Virginia SPQA's Discovery Program website and download 12 to Watch information. Applications for one of the “12 to Watch” must be submitted by May 31, 2012.

Founded in 1983, Virginia SPQA is a 501-c3 non-profit all volunteer organization charged with administering Virginia’s version of the nation’s Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award.

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Bob Bowles
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