Capacity Building Mentorship Program

What is the Capacity Building Mentorship Program? 
The Washington State Department of Transportation’s Capacity Building Mentorship Program was created in response to the Governor’s diverse business participation Results Washington Goals, as follows:

  • Minority Business Enterprise 10%
  • Small Businesses 5%
  • Veteran-owned Businesses 5%
  • Women’s Business Enterprise 6%

The Capacity Building Mentorship Program pairs successful prime contractor and consultants with diverse businesses wanting to do business with Washington state in an effort to increase their capacity and participation on WSDOT projects.

How can I be part of the Capacity Building Mentorship Program?
Firms certified by the Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises, or registered as a small or veteran’s businesses in Washington’s Electronic Business Solution (WEBS) are eligible to participate in this program as Protégés.

To participate as a Mentor, you must have been a prime contractor or consultant with WSDOT in the recent past. If you are interested in participating, you can still apply. For more information regarding the WSDOT Mentor Protégé Program, please visit or call 253-591-5239.

How will WSDOT determine the success of the Capacity Building Mentorship Program?
Working with the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Advisory Group, WSDOT established the following program goals and metrics for the program:

  • 100 Minority, Small, Veteran and Women’s Business Enterprise (MSVWBE) noted interest in participating.
  • 30 - 50 MSVWBE enrolled in the program to participate as protégés.
  • 30 - 50 prime contractors and prime consultants enrolled in the program to participate as mentors.
  • Following are targets by which the program’s success will be evaluated. Overachievement in one area could compensate for shortfalls in another:
    • 80 – 100 percent protégés have executed written development plans with their mentors.
    • 30 - 50 percent of construction industry protégés have expanded their North American Industrial Classification System Codes.
    • 30 - 50 percent of protégés are on track to increase their annual income. This can be based on winning the contract, not actual dollars paid. This could include non-WSDOT owners as well.
    • 30 - 50 percent of protégés are participating in their first contract or subcontract with WSDOT or new private sector contracts.
    • 10 - 25 percent of construction protégés have increased their bonding capacity through the mentoring process.
    • 10 - 25 percent of consulting protégés have gone from Safe Harbor to an approved Indirect Cost Rate.

WSDOT will be evaluating the performance of the program in July 2019.

As of August 2018, there are:

  • 86 companies enrolled in the program.
  • 30 mentors matched with 43 protégés.*
  • 6 mentors waiting to be matched.
  • 9 protégés waiting to be matched.

The following is a breakdown of the race, ethnicity and gender of the firms in the program:

OEO Mentor Program participation by race


Benchmark numbers
To determine the successfulness of the Capacity Building Mentorship Program, WSDOT has evaluated the construction and consulting contracts awarded during state fiscal year 2018 (July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018*) and determined Minority, Small, Veteran, and Women’s Business Enterprises received the following. WSDOT awarded amounts to set benchmarks to determine whether progress is being made towards the governor’s goals as shown below:

Type of Firm Spend Amount % of spend % of WSDOT Spend Goal
MBEs $56,809,920.99 6.10% 10%
WBEs $39,968,450.71 4.29% 6%
VOBs $1,922.029.56 0.21% 5%
SBEs $87,249,543.60 9.36% 5%


*These amounts only include construction and consultant services and does not include spending from non-transportation related procurements (e.g. office supplies, travel, master contract purchases, etc.) and therefore differs from other spend reports, specifically those available at: Additionally, the MSVWBE participation figures include utilization from the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program if the firm is also state certified.

Capacity Building Mentorship Updates/Events

For more information contact:

Diane Gard
DBE Support Services Coordinator
WSDOT Office of Equal Opportunity
360-705-7127 -