Small Business First Program

Taking Care of Small Business First

The University of California is 'taking care of business' with small, local and disadvantaged businesses by putting small businesses first in our procurement process.

small business first video graphic (Click image to watch Small Business First video)

Faster, Easier, Empowering...

Small Business First increases contracting and procurement opportunities for certified Small Businesses (SB) and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprises (DVBE) by using a streamlined quotation process. The direct quotation-to-award approach makes the procurement process faster and easier.

Small Business First calls for all non-construction UC contracts and procurements between $10,000 and $250,000* to be awarded to a SB or DVBE, wherever applicable. (*See exempted categories below)

To make an award, only one quote is required for purchases below $100,000, and only two quotes are required for procurements between $100,000 – $250,000.(Program and process details may vary slightly among campuses.)

How to participate in the Small Business First program:

Learn more about doing business with UC:

Webinar Recording Webinar Slide Deck Date
How to Do Business with UC How to Do Business with UC (pdf) 3.30.21

Other ways to raise your profile with UC:

State of California Resources to tap into:

  • Reciprocity Partners listing: Cities, counties, agencies, or special districts that honor the state of California’s SB and/or DVBE certification as acceptance into their individual business enterprise programs.
  • SB/DVBE Advocates listing: Advocates help SBs and DVBEs pursue contract opportunities by working closely with buyers in their department to include SBs and DVBEs in state procurement.

For a general program overview, see UC's Small Business First public announcement: UC Targets Purchasing Power.

Working together, we can help each other thrive.


*Exempted purchase/contract categories:

  • Purchases that are sole source, unique professional services, or emergency in nature
  • Purchases through existing strategically-sourced agreements
  • Federally funded purchases
  • Design and construction (governed by UC Facilities Manual and associated policies)
  • Interagency agreements
  • Federal/local government agreements
  • Research sub-awards
  • Higher education institution agreements
  • Concessions
  • Revenue/reimbursement contracts
  • Medical and patient care contracts
  • Statutorily-exempt, policy-exempt, emergency, proprietary, and/or local assistance/subvention procurements