Women- and Minority-Owned Businesses

The City actively supports utilization of WMBE (women- and minority-owned businesses) on City contracts as both primes and subcontractors, and each City department establishes plans and annual voluntary goals for WMBE inclusion in consulting and purchasing contracts.

The City of Seattle defines WMBE firms as state-certified or self-identified firms at least 51% owned by women and/or minorities.

COVID-19 business resources

Many businesses are experiencing short and long-term impacts from COVID-19. Visit the Office of Economic Development resources page to find a list of initiatives supporting businesses impacted by COVID-19. 

King County's Office of Equity and Social Justice has also developed a COVID-19 Resource Guide that includes information for small businesses.

Check out www.SafeStartKingCounty.com to receive a Safe Start Kit of masks and hand sanitizer for your small business. 

Disparity study 

The City of Seattle will be conducting a disparity study on the availability and utilization of WMBEs. The study will evaluate if WMBEs have equitable access to City contracting opportunities. We are currently in the evaluation stage of the procurement process with the intent to select a consultant by October. The anticipated timeline for the procurement and study period is listed in this table.  

The scope of the study will include an evaluation of the City's current procurement policies, procedures, spend analysis, and engagement with the contractors, vendors, and consultants. The City also added a scope element to address the impacts of COVID-19 and other market disequilibria. To read more about the scope of work of the study, please see the request for proposals. If you have any questions regarding the process or would like copies of supporting materials, please contact Steven Larson at 206-684-4529 or by email at steven.larson@seattle.gov

2019 Annual WMBE Report

The 2019 Annual WMBE Report is developed by FAS in collaboration with other City departments. The report details the work the City performs to ensure WMBEs have equitable opportunities to pursue City contracts. 

Doing business with the City

Does your firm want to do business with the City, but you aren't sure where to start? The City has contracted with Northwest Mountain Minority Supplier Development Council to provide technical assistance to firms on how to work with the City. The Council will support all businesses with a special focus on women- and minority-owned firms. Visit their website, call (253) 243-6964 or e-mail TAS@nwmmsdc.org to get started. You can also contact Miguel Beltran at miguel.beltran@seattle.gov with questions.

Get recognized as a WMBE

There are two ways to be recognized as a WMBE by the City.

OMWBE certifies small businesses owned and controlled by a minority, woman or a socially and economically disadvantaged (DBE) person for the state and federal level. Most City projects with federal funds require a DBE or state WMBE certification to count toward the corresponding DBE or WMBE requirements. If you are a business owner who fits these criteria, we encourage you to visit OMWBE's site to learn about certification and its benefits.

Learn more

I need a subcontract team. How can I connect with WMBE firms?
When seeking subcontract teams including women or minority-owned firms, search the City's Online Business Directory.

Search the Office of Minority Women Business Enterprises Directory, the online list of certified W/M/DBE firms, or call OMWBE at 866-208-1064.

I self-identified as a WMBE in the City's Online Business Directory. What's next?
Vendors for goods and services: Contact City Purchasing to learn of blanket contracts, bidding opportunities and networking events with City departments.

Consultants: Apply for the City Consultant Roster. The City uses this roster to select firms for many projects under $305,000. This roster has a small business criteria for certain categories of work.

Certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprises firm: Apply for federal DBE certification. The City uses this certification list for federally funded projects.

For information about City opportunities contact:

Other information:

The City requires WMBE inclusion plans for most projects. The following forms must be completed by the prime bidder as a condition of responsiveness: