Seattle has long been committed to increasing equity city contracting, and in 2016 SDOT exceeded our goals to support Woman and Minority-Owned Business Enterprises (WMBE).
“A healthy and diverse business sector is essential to Seattle’s economic vitality,” Mayor Murray declared in his 2014 Executive Order, and at SDOT we’ve worked to promote opportunities for women and minority business owners, foster a support network for WMBEs in our community, and increase outreach to startup, small, WMBE, and immigrant firms. As a result, not only did we meet our 2016 consulting and purchasing goals, we exceeded them. Through the implementation of City of Seattle Inclusion Plan, SDOT also monitored $7.2 million in payments to WMBE subconsultant firms.
2016 wasn’t just about paying more money to WMBE firms though, it was also about improving our invoice system as part of the Mayor’s prompt payment policy. Of the 1,393 invoices we received in 2016, 97% were processed in 30 days or less. This is particularly important for startup, small, WMBE, and immigrant firms who often don’t have significant savings and need payments quickly to cover their operating costs. In 2017 we’ll continue working towards our goal of 100% processed in 30 days or less.
Finally, as part of our outreach efforts we launched a number of workshops to help connect Immigrant, Refugee, Emerging, and Micro businesses with SDOT. These include Spanish language sessions to introduce contractors and communities to what SDOT does, as well as targeted sessions on specific projects like the voter-approved Levy to Move Seattle or our Connecting the DoTs effort to bring together local transportation agencies including King County and Sound Transit.