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Small Business Enterprise

Equity in Contracting Program 

The City of Tacoma's Equity in Contracting Program offers contracting and procurement opportunities to qualified small businesses interested in doing work in the City. 


Based on the information that the City received from the Disparity Study, changes are being made to the contracting process. Please visit the Disparity Study - Final Report for more information. The goal of the Equity in Contracting program is to facilitate a substantial procurement, education, and small business assistance program designed to promote equitable participation by historically underutilized businesses in the provision of supplies, services, and public works to the City.  

For certified small businesses, the Equity in Contracting Program helps to level the playing field when it comes to having an opportunity to secure public work, architecture & engineering, and goods/services contracts. For bidders of public work projects, we offer assistance finding pre-approved certified contractors when  needed to meet specific Equity in Contracting Program contract goal requirements. 

Please Note —The City of Tacoma is transitioning their Small Business Enterprise (SBE) list to Washington State’s Office of Minority & Women’s Business Enterprise (OMWBE), which Certifies Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), Woman Business Enterprise (WBE), Minority Woman Enterprise (MWBE) and Small Business Enterprise (SBE) beginning January 1, 2020.   

Equity in Contracting staff members will be glad to assist you with any questions regarding the SBE program, transition to the State of Washington’s SBE program or available resources. 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Why are Changes Being Made?

Based on the information that the City received from the Disparity Study, the City’s Small Business Enterprise Program was shown to not have effectively reduced barriers or increased opportunities for businesses owned by women or people of color. As a result of the study, the City now has the requisite information and recommendations to administer a narrowly tailored program that aims to increase contracting equity. Please visit the Disparity Study- Final Report for more information.   

 

Do I Still Need to Certify with the City of Tacoma? 

No, you can be on the City of Tacoma SBE list or the State of Washington’s MBE, WBE, MWBE, or SBE list. The City of Tacoma is transitioning their Small Business Enterprise (SBE) list to Washington State’s Office of Minority & Women’s Business Enterprise (OMWBE) list beginning January 1, 2020. Though you do not have to be on the City of Tacoma SBE list starting in January 2020, we do not want you to have any lapse time in certification between being on our list and OMWBE’s list. To prevent that from happening, you can re-certify with us in January of 2020 while working on your application with the State. As your renewal date gets closer, a member of the Equity in Contracting staff will work with you as you prepare your documents for the State’s list. During this process, we are monitoring the amount of time it takes for a small business to get on the State of Washington’s SBE, MBE, WBE, and/or MWBE list(s). The City of Tacoma will continue to use our list during this transition and is preparing to shut down our list on December 31, 2020.  

 

Why Do I Need to Apply for State Certification? 

The State of Washington’s MWBE certifications provides more contractor options for the City of Tacoma, as well as more opportunities for the contractors. Currently, the City of Tacoma SBE list does not help contractors receive opportunities outside of Tacoma. By using the State of Washington certifications, we are reducing duplication for contractors while also helping them have more bidding opportunities. In the end, we do not want businesses taking the time to certify on two lists. We are hoping to streamline this process for businesses.   

Why Do I Need to Apply for State Certification?

The State of Washington’s MWBE list provides more contractor options for the City of Tacoma, as well as for the contractors. In the end, we do not want businesses taking the time to certify on two lists. We are hoping to streamline this process for businesses.  

What Type of State Certification Do I Need? 

There are four types of state certification through OMWBE: 

1. MBE- Minority Business Enterprise. 
2. WBE- Woman Business Enterprise  
3. MWBE- Minority Women Business Enterprise  
4. SBE- Small Business Enterprise  


OMWBE User Guide


The eligible owner(s) must:

  • Be a minority or a woman. Minority is defined as African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American, Pacific Islander, Native Hawaiian, Alaska Native, or Native American. Other individuals may be found to be socially and economically disadvantaged on a case-by-case basis 
  • Own at least 51% of the business and show contribution of capital and expertise. 
  • Control the managerial and day-to-day operations. 
  • Be economically disadvantaged. “Economically disadvantaged” is generally defined has having a personal net worth less than $1.32 million, not including a person's primary residence or an applicant business. 

What Does State Certification Cost?

State Program fees: MBE, MWBE, WBE

  • $50 for Sole Proprietor
  • $75 for a Partnership
  • $100 for an LLC
  • $100 for a Corporation
  • SBE no fee

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. 

How to Apply

City of Equity in Contracting Certification 

 

Any qualified business can easily get an application online or call the SBE Office request more information. The program requirements, application, affidavit, and instructions can be downloaded 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can email the SBE Office or call Monday through Friday 8 AM to 5 PM at (253) 591-5224. 

 

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. For prime public works contractors, SBE offers preapproved certified contractors who can help you meet the SBE goal for your project.

For both the SBE certified subcontractor and the prime contractor, SBE offers assistance in obtaining business management and administrative skills by partnering with experienced programs and individuals who in turn share their knowledge and expertise. Local business training and educational opportunities are available through the Washington Procurement and Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) as well as through the Office of Minority & Women's Business Enterprises (OMWBE).

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.
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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