This data story was created for Open Data Day 2024 through a collaboration with the City of Norfolk's Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and Norfolk Open Data.
This story provides information about how the Office of DEI uses the new Business Licenses  dataset to support SWAM Businesses in Norfolk.

What is a SWAM business?

This is how the Virginia Department of Small Business & Supplier Diversity describes the SWAM program:
"Small, Women-owned, and Minority-owned Business (SWaM) certification program is a state program of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The purpose is to enhance procurement opportunities for SWaM businesses participating in state-funded projects."

What is the Business License dataset?

This dataset includes all new business licenses issued by the Commissioner of the Revenue and opened from January 1, 2019 to present. This does not include business licenses opened prior to 2019, business license renewals, or indicate if a business is no longer in operation. 

The City of Norfolk's Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Norfolk is the first city in Hampton Roads to launch a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative. The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) was created to advance equity in Norfolk through institutional strategies and external programming and services.

How does the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Office use data for SWAM business?

The Office of DEI uses the New Business License Database to cross-check and reference the status of business licenses for the people who they work with in the community. Staff also use the dataset to keep track of trends, general information about local businesses, and referrals.
The office has also exported the data to identify a sub-set of the business population to send physical advertisements and mail to. They also use the SCC business lookup feature in tandem with the SBSD database to verify businesses & SWAM firms.

Visualizing the Data

Use the dashboard below to see what businesses have been started in Census Tracts around Norfolk. You can also filter the Census Tracts based on demographics like income and race.

Why is this data significant?

New Business license data is a great way for entrepreneurs and business owners alike to see who their business 'neighbors' are, competition, and market saturation. Being transparent with our licensing data is essential to gaining the trust of our community and is helpful when it comes to identifying new areas of opportunity when it comes to connecting with SWAM firms.