Updated October 5, 2017

Supporting small and diverse businesses in state contracting is a priority for Gov. Jay Inslee and the state of Washington.

In July 2015, Gov. Inslee chose 12 of his cabinet agencies including the Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs to form a Business Diversity Subcabinet. The subcabinet is tasked with increasing ways for small and diverse businesses to participate in Washington state contracting opportunities.

In October 2015, Gov. Inslee announced that the state of Washington will undertake a disparity study. Following a competitive proposal process, the contract for this study was awarded to Colette Holt & Associates (CHA), a nationally recognized expert team on disparity studies and D/M/WBE programs, in conjunction with local partners F. M. Burch & Associates and Blackstar Services, Inc. Work on the study began in early 2017 and will provide information about how Washington is doing when it comes to including minority- and women-owned businesses in state government contracts and purchasing. The disparity study will also provide a factual foundation that Washington can use to help ensure that all state agencies are using procurement policies and processes that result in fair and equitable outcomes.

Between summer 2015 and fall 2016, the subcabinet utilized a multi-agency Scrum team to conduct community listening sessions, diagnose problems and create a proposed roadmap for change. The second phase launched January 2017 and focused on the formation of technical teams to accelerate work on: Measurement framework, Diversity Culture and Framework (Community of Practice), Small Business Engagement, Technical Assistance, and Improved OMWBE Certification Process for minority-and woman-owned businesses.

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