UC Small Business First Program

Taking Care of Small Business First

The University of California (UC) is excited to launch the Small Business First program, which was initiated on September 1, 2020, and will be ready for your business on March 1, 2021.

Small Business First is a ‘set-aside’ program that 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 process makes the procurement process easier to encourage participation.

Faster, Easier, Empowering...

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 all 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 above $100,000 up to $250,000(Thsolicitation process is similar across the UC system but process details may vary slightly among campuses.)

How to participate in the Small Business First program:

Other ways to raise your profile with UC:

Stay tuned for more Small Business First webinars and resources coming in Spring 2021. 

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

The University of California wants to 'take care of business' with small, local and disadvantaged businesses by putting you first in our procurement process. 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