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Glossary of Terms

This glossary is intended to define Supplier Diversity terminology used by contracting and procurement professionals. Definitions will be updated periodically, to match the Washington State efforts towards contracting equity.


Relevant Links


Businesses eligible to be certified


Refer to Washington Administrative Code (WAC) Chapters 326-02 and 326-20  for a list of criteria for OMWBE certification and Revised Code of Washington 43.60A.010 for a list of criteria for DVA certification.

Certified Firms

OMWBE Directory of Certified Firms

DVA Directory of Certified Firms

Businesses that are certified by OMWBE or DVA.



The primary business the state signs a contract with for a procurement.

Delegated Procurement Authority

DES Delegated Authority Policy

Department of Enterprise Services (DES) has the primary authority to procure goods and services for state government. It may delegate this authority to agencies and allow them to procure good and services in certain contexts, so long as they follow the rules set by DES.

Direct Buy

DES Direct Buy Policy

A purchasing method that allows agencies to purchase from a business directly for small purchases that do not exceed a specific cost threshold.

Disparity Study


Disparity Study

A disparity study is an in-depth analysis of what types of businesses an entity spends money with to determine if any groups are underrepresented. The State of Washington completed a disparity study in 2019 that analyzed state spending along racial and gender lines. The 2019 Washington State Disparity Study is one of the several steps that informs the State’s work to improve diversity and inclusion in government contracts. The results of the study provide a better understanding of where to focus efforts to benefit our state for generations to come.

Diverse Business


Minority and Women Business Enterprises (M/WBEs):

RCW 39.26.010

RCW 39.19

WAC 326-20


Veteran-owned businesses

RCW 43.60A.010


A business that has the potential to obtain Washington State certification with the or OMWBE and/or DVA.



Diverse Businesses Subcontracting List

OMWBE Directory of Certified Firms

DVA Directory of Certified Firms

This is a list of the Diverse Businesses a bidder intends to use as part of the contract. It is typically submitted along with an inclusion plan to show commitment to diversity.

Diversity Expert


An individual at a business who has   the authority and responsibility to implement, monitor and report on the business’ inclusion plan.

Equity Commissions

Commission on African American Affairs

Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs

Commission on Hispanic Affairs

LGBTQ Commission

Women’s Commission

State government organizations set up to promote the equity specifically for certain groups. Includes the Commission on African American Affairs, Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs, Commission on Hispanic Affairs, LGBTQ Commission, and Women’s Commission.




The process of identifying the industry categories where the most spending occurs to develop a strategy to expand diverse businesses for government contracts.




Goods and Services


A category of state procurement that includes products or assistance that the state purchases from a business. This category is distinct from Public Works.

Inclusion Plan



A detailed plan showing the actions a business will make toward meeting small and diverse business goals on a specific procurement.


Inclusive Spending


Spending of state funds in a manner that provides equal opportunity and access for all groups of qualified businesses.

Job Order Contracting (JOC)


A type of contract where one larger contract is used to cover many smaller tasks, rather than contracting for each task individually.



A term that is used to refer to certified women and minority owned businesses. MBE stands for Minority Business Enterprise, and WBE stands for Women Business Enterprise. In Washington, these businesses are certified by the Office of Minority & Women’s Business Enterprises (OMWBE).

Master Contract

DES Master Contracts FAQ

RCW 39.26.010(15)

A master contract is a mandatory-use contract with exceptions.



The act of communicating, sharing information, and building relationships.

Prime Contractor


A contractor that signs a contract with the state, but also subcontracts a portion of the work to other businesses and manages the performance of subcontracted work.

Procurement Schedule


Calendar of critical dates associated with agency purchasing.


Professional Services


Services that the state procures that require a specific skillset, such as design, marketing, or legal drafting.

Public Works


A category of state procurements that includes construction projects the state engages in. This category is distinct from Goods and Services.

Small Business

Small Business

RCW 39.26.010


Businesses self-registered as a small business in WEBS or businesses that have the potential to obtain Washington State certification with OMWBE.



“Subcontractor” means one not in the employment of the Contractor (or “prime” or “primary contractor”), who is performing all or part of those services under a Contract through a separate contract with the Contractor.

Supplier Diversity



The practice of ensuring that a public agency spends its money with a wide variety of different types of businesses to build a diverse vendor base that reflects the availability of those types of businesses in the marketplace.



The process of breaking up larger contracts into smaller parts to increase competition and make it easier for small and diverse companies to participate.



Stands for Veteran Owned Business, it means certified veteran owned businesses. In Washington, these businesses are certified by the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA).

Washington’s Electronic Business Solution (WEBS)

Registration & Search Tips

WEBS is an electronic system for state government purchases managed by DES. Vendors seeking state contracting opportunities are encouraged to register their businesses and subscribe for industry-specific email notifications.