Benefits of Attending SWaMFest

UMW’s procurement department is a big supporter of small businesses and encourages those small businesses that want to sell to state agencies to get SWaM-certified and attend SWaMFest. In this post, we will share how attending SWaMFest helped one small business grow.

Brent Elliott is the owner of Positive Presssure, a small business operating in Marshall, Virginia. Brent’s company provides a wide range of services to keep commercial buildings clean. He started the business in 2018. Brent says, “We’re known for being a versatile and comprehensive support services provider, often referred to by our customers as the “Swiss Army Knife” of support services. Positive Pressure offers a wide range of services, including building and facility pressure washing, stadium cleaning, facilities and housekeeping support. Additionally, the Company plays a pivotal role in the completion of capital projects by contributing expertise in rough carpentry, doors and hardware, general labor, and general services management.

Early in his business ownership journey, Brent connected with Christine Kriz and Chris Ley at the Laurel Ridge SBDC. He says that connection “marked a turning point for Positive Pressure. Their expertise and resources were a true asset, helping us streamline our operations and discover opportunities like the SWAM program. The SBDC has been an essential partner, showing us how their support can make a significant difference for businesses like ours.”

Brent has attended SWaMFest twice, in 2019 and 2022. He says attending SWaMFest helped his business “quickly connect with potential buyers. Instead of spending a long time reaching out to different agencies or universities, the event allowed us to “speed date” with procurement representatives and purchasers all at once. This way, we could learn about their needs and see if our services matched their requirements, all while introducing ourselves and our offerings. It was a fast and effective way to generate business opportunities for our company. “

As a result of attending SWaMFest, Brent was able to get a VASCUPP contract. Being awarded a VASCUPP contract allowed his firm to do work for many state universities through this contract. It has allowed Positive Pressure to do work for the University of Mary Washington, James Madison University, Virginia Military Institute, and Virginia Tech.

Brett encourages other small, SWaM-certified business to attend SWaMFest. “Attending SWaMFest has consistently fueled our business growth by providing new insights and opportunities every time. It’s a unique opportunity with multiple representatives gathered in one place, all eager to connect. I highly recommend SWaMFest to fellow vendors looking to engage with the Commonwealth.”

To learn more about SWaMFest 2023, go to This year’s theme is Amplify. SWaMFest will be held in Richmond on November 1 and 2. You can purchase tickets to attend one or both days.

If you are a small business that has not registered in eVA or applied for SWaM-certification, your local SBDC center can assist you. Go to and click Advising to be connected to your local center. For business in the Fredericksburg area, the Middle Peninsula, and the Northern Neck, the UMW SBDC is here to serve you.