Governor's Business Diversity Subcabinet
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 99 percent of state businesses are small. Washington small businesses also employ 1.3 million workers, which is about 51 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.
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.
The work the Subcabinet did during its first phase was not very visible – but the work was necessary to lay the foundation for meaningful change. Foundational work included:
- Employing a multi-agency Scrum team to conduct community listening sessions, diagnose problems and recommend actions to address issues (August through November 2015).
- Clarifying available data, data gaps, and challenges in data analysis.
- Designing and launching a disparity study, with the up-front assistance of an advisory group to define the study’s scope.
- Requesting an Attorney General’s opinion to gain a better understanding the state’s legal framework.
- Charting the course for change with a Phase 2 action plan.
⇒ We are here: Phase 2 (12 to 18 months, began January 2017)
- Conducting the Disparity study. The study will provide valuable information about how state government is doing when it comes to including minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses in contracts and purchasing.
- Creating easy-to-understand guides based on the Attorney General opinion.
- Technical Team work on:
- Improved measurement framework
- Diversity culture and framework (Community of Practice)
- Technical assistance
- Improved OMWBE certification process for minority-and woman-owned businesses
Learn more about progress on the Subcabinet’s action plan
Phase 3: Implementation (12 to 24 months, begins in 2018)
- Implementation of technical team work