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Source : Contractor News
December 1, 2023
Author : Patty Allen
Mayor Bruce Harrell signed a new Executive Order at the Reverse Vendor Trade Show 2023 that increases contracting equity and access for small businesses. This is especially useful for women- and minority-owned enterprises (W/MBEs), seeking opportunities to enter into contracts and procurement within the City of Seattle.
The City of Seattle spends an average of $900 million per year on procurement, which includes products and services, public works, and consultant services. The local administration has a responsibility and an opportunity to help enterprises that have historically been denied access to government employment and are deeply committed to ending institutional racism in the City government and achieving racial fairness throughout the community.
The W/MBE Program has quadrupled the percentage of W/MBE spending on goods and services and consultant contracting during the last ten years.
The Executive Order was joined by representatives from the Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS), W/MBE leaders, and community partners. The City Departments will carry out significant initiatives to promote contracting equality and assist women- and BIPOC-owned businesses (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) that are disproportionately underserved in public contracting opportunities through Mayor Harrell's recently published Executive Order.
The City's W/MBE initiatives aim to address the historically significant underutilization of W/MBE companies. Because of this, expenditure with W/MBE companies keeps rising annually. In 2022, the City spent approximately $228 million with W/MBEs for consultancy services and public works project contracts.
This Executive Order mainly focuses on six strategic priorities. It includes engaging and partnering with the W/MBE community and expanding contracting equity for BIPOC-owned enterprises, focusing mainly on black-owned businesses.
The Executive Order also provides resources and support required for W/MBEs, ensures equitable contracting, improves ongoing policies and practices in the City, and expands contracting equity for underrepresented communities like LGBTQ-, immigrant-, and veteran-owned firms and small businesses.
The Executive Order also resumes the mayor's W/MBE Advisory Committee, affirming the City's dedication to working with W/MBE and other local leaders who have better knowledge of the challenges businesses face in obtaining public works contracts.
“As a Seattle small business owner, I can’t overstate how important this kind of support is. This Executive Order does that by increasing equity, opportunity, and the strength of our local economy,” said Councilmember Sara Nelson, Chair of Council’s Economic Development Committee.