Several state agencies and organizations assist small businesses with training, grants and loans, networking, and staying up-to-date on current events:
Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs)
The Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises (OMWBE) certifies socially and economically disadvantaged businesses for work on federally-assisted projects. These firms must be 51 percent or more owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
As a requirement of receiving federal financial aid, WSDOT administers a DBE program, using goals and other methods, to ensure non-discrimination in the award and administration of USDOT highway, transit and airport financially-assisted projects. WSDOT’s Office of Equal Opportunity administers the DBE program within WSDOT. For more information on this program, please visit http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/equalopportunity/Plans/dmwbe.htm.
WSDOT’s DBE Support Services
DBE Support Services is a federally-funded program designed to help those DBEs wishing to work on WSDOT highway projects. Support services are available only to DBEs who are certified in the highway construction industry to include construction companies, consultants and regular dealers. WSDOT’s DBE Support Services program offers free technical assistance to firms in the following areas:
- Estimating and bidding
- Record keeping
- Business management
- Financial accounting
- Free WSDOT project plans and specifications
For more information on DBE Support Services, email DBESS@wsdot.wa.gov or call toll free (888) 259-9143.
Businesses Owned by Women and Minorities
OMWBE also certifies minority- and women-owned business enterprises. These firms must be 51 percent or more owned and controlled by one or more minorities or females. State agencies and educational institutions are encouraged to provide an equal opportunity for minority- and women-owned businesses in all contracting and purchasing activities. Firms certified by OMWBE as minority- and women-owned may also qualify for the Linked Deposit Program.
Businesses Owned by Veterans
The Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs offers veteran-owned business certification. For more information on how to qualify as a veteran-owned business, visit the Washington State Department of Veteran’s Affairs Business Registry . Firms registered as veteran-owned businesses may also qualify for the Linked Deposit Program .
Linked Deposit Program
OMWBE works with the Washington State Treasurers Office and the Department of Commerce to reduce the interest rate, up to 2 percent, on qualifying loans for businesses owned by minorities, women and veterans through the Linked Deposit Program .
The Linked Deposit Program "links" the state's surplus fund deposits to the commercial loans that financial institutions make to certified veteran-, minority-, and women-owned business enterprises.
Two percent of the interest that is earned on the state's Certificate of Deposit (CD) is used to reduce the interest rate that would otherwise be charged to a certified business for its loan or other financing. If the interest rate returns earned by the state on the CDs fall below 2 percent, banks are allowed to reduce the interest rate reduction passed onto the firms by an equivalent amount. For more information, please visit http://www.omwbe.wa.gov/financing/ldp/index.shtml
Contact WSDOT’s Office of Equal Opportunity Small Business Program at firstname.lastname@example.org.