Governor Business Diversity Initiative

Supporting small and minority, women’s and veteran-owned businesses in state contracting is a priority for Gov. Jay Inslee and the state of Washington. Small businesses are the backbone of the state economy – about 95 percent of state businesses are small. Washington small businesses also employ 1.1 million workers, which is about 40 percent of Washington’s total workforce. Many of these businesses are women-, minority- and veteran-owned.

Ensuring these businesses have contracting opportunities gives Washington state government access to a wider array of business solutions, helps drive innovation and strengthens our economic growth. Successful small businesses led by minorities, women and veterans help make our economy and our families more resilient – strengthening our communities and improving the quality of life for all Washingtonians.

“As governor, one of my top priorities is to foster a strong economy that works for everyone. That means more opportunity, greater prosperity and a better quality of life for all.”-Gov. Jay Inslee

Subcabinet Formed

Washington’s diversity is one of its greatest economic and cultural strengths, yet for good and services contracts and public works projects only 2.8 percent of the $5.7 billion that the state spends with the private sector is with small businesses owned by women, minorities or veterans. Diversity in state contracting is good business and good for the state. We need to do better. That’s why Gov. Inslee formed the state’s Business Diversity Subcabinet.

Subcabinet Work Phases

The Subcabinet has reached Phase 2 of its work. The Subcabinet’s emphasis during Phase 2 is on speed in delivering results.

Phase 1 – Foundation (July 2015 to November 2016)

The Subcabinet did necessary work to establish a true foundation for change, including:

  • Employing a multi-agency Scrum team to conduct community listening sessions, diagnose problems and create a proposed roadmap for change (August through November 2015).
  • Scoping, designing and selecting a contractor to conduct a pioneering statewide disparity study for goods and services and public works contracting and purchasing. The subcabinet convened an advisory group to assist in scoping this unique enterprise-wide study (October 2015 to November 2016).
  • Laying the foundation for a better understanding the state’s legal framework.
  • Clarifying available data, data gaps, and challenges in data analysis.
  • Developing the Phase 2 action plan.

⇒ We are here:  Phase 2 – Velocity (12 to 18 months, began January 2017)

Phase 2 includes:

  • Disparity study.
  • Establish Phase 2 project roadmap to keep work on track and provide better transparency.
  • Formation of Technical Teams to accelerate work on:
    • Measurement framework
    • Diversity Culture and Framework (Community of Practice)
    • Small Business Engagement
    • Technical Assistance
    • Improved OMWBE Certification Process for minority-and woman-owned businesses

The need for on-going community feedback will accelerate during Phase 2.

  • It is very important for people to participate in the disparity study.
  • The subcabinet work group will be seeking feedback on work the technical teams do.

Phase 3: Implementation (12 to 24 months, begins in 2018)

Phase 3 will include:

  • Implementation & Adaptation
  • Reporting
  • Advanced Problem-Solving