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Small Business Enterprise

Equity in Contracting Program 

As part of the City of Tacoma's ongoing work to advance broader strategic goals relating to equity and accessibility, as well as economic growth, it has expanded its efforts to achieve equity in contracting and support of minority and women-owned businesses. 

The Equity in Contracting Program offers access to contracting and procurement opportunities, as well as guidance and technical assistance, to historically underutilized businesses interested in providing supplies, services and public works support to the City of Tacoma.    

The first phase of the City's efforts, which took place in 2019, prepared the City to make meaningful change by implementing foundational improvements that include increased technical assistance, improved compliance tracking, an increase of its contractor and supplier pool, migration to state certification lists, and working more closely with labor organizations.


The City is currently transitioning its Small Business Enterprise (SBE) list to Washington State's Office of Minority & Women's Business Enterprise (OMWBE) list.

The next phase of the City's efforts, projected to take place from January 2020 – December 2020, will involve ongoing strategic planning with the City’s community partners and, ultimately, implementation of a range of programmatic improvements. From January 2021 – December 2023, the City anticipates analyzing its efforts to date and establishing baseline metrics for its programs, while also preparing for a new disparity study.  

Mission Statement

Equity in Contracting Program Mission Statement 

To create and sustain a competitive and fair business environment for contracting, procurement and consulting opportunities that include small businesses owned by minority, women, and socially and economically disadvantaged people. 

Background and Disparity Study


The City authorized an extensive, year-long disparity study completed in 2018 that analyzed procurement and contracting barriers for small, disadvantaged, minority and women-owned businesses in construction, architecture and engineering, services and goods. This study determined that there exists a statistically significant under-utilization by the City of minority and women-owned businesses in these contract categories.


Results of the last Disparity Study indicated that the City’s Small Business Enterprise Program had not effectively reduced barriers or increased opportunities for businesses owned by women or people of color. The City's Equity in Contracting program was developed to address these issues, with the aim of improving equity in contracting.  More information is available in this final report.

A construction industry stakeholder committee convened by the City in 2018 - comprised of labor union leaders, private contractors, minority and women-owned businesses and residents from economically distressed communities - analyzed the use of local workforce agreements in the context of the findings and recommendations of the disparity study. Through a consensus process, the stakeholder group voted against adoption of a formal community workforce agreement or priority hire ordinance, but recommended expansion of support services offered to minority and women-owned businesses.

Training and Business Management Assistance

Ongoing Training and Business Management Assistance is Available 

For certified businesses, SBE helps to level the playing field when it comes to having an opportunity to secure public works and goods and services contracts. 


Get more information about Training and Business Management.

Small Works Roster Program

Small Works Roster 
The City of Tacoma's Small Works Roster Program (SWR) allows pre-registered contractors the opportunity to bid on small public works and improvement projects with a budget of $200,000 or less.  

For smaller qualifying companies, the Small Works Roster may allow for expedited payment and waiver of the bid bond.  This program utilizes categories under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).  Except for the Small Works Roster, the City of Tacoma does not maintain an ongoing vendor or bidders list for any categories of work.  

Small Works Roster bids are sent to approved and pre-registered contractors.

Contact Us


Shakisha Ross

Community and Economic Development

Workforce Program and Investment Specialist

(253) 591-5075


Tacoma Municipal Building
747 Market Street
Room 900
Tacoma, WA 98402


Project Forecasting
Construction Projects Forecasting