Re: Small Business First Program
To: Faculty and staff
Dec. 16, 2021

Dear Campus Colleagues,

There are an estimated 30.2 million small businesses in the United States, including 4.1 million in California. All told, they employ nearly half of the nation’s workforce. A far-reaching program at UC Merced and the University of California will step up our support of these little giants of the U.S. economy.

The Small Business First program provides contracting and procurement opportunities for certified small businesses and disabled veteran business enterprises (DVBE), using an informal solicitation process rather than formal bidding. UC Merced’s Procurement team looks forward to working with campus partners in the first quarter of 2022 to implement Small Business First.

The program provides opportunity and access to businesses in California and beyond that are often overlooked by large-scale purchasers. The need is especially acute in our current climate, with many small businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Small Business First calls for all UC Merced contracts and procurements between $10,000 to $250,000 be awarded to a small business or DVBE when practicable. The program’s informal solicitation process requires only one quote for purchases between $10,000 and $99,999 and two quotes for those between $100,000 and $250,000. There are waivers and exemptions allowed in the process, which is designed to make the procurement process faster and easier while empowering small businesses.

The Supply Chain Center of Excellence website has more information about the Small Business First program, including a primer on the purchasing process.

Questions? Please reach out to Senior Contracts Manager Theresa Mason at


Meagan Torres
Interim Chief Procurement Officer
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