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Mission: We promote equity and increase participation in public contracting and procurement for small businesses owned by minorities, women and disadvantaged persons through education and certification.

OMWBE Quarterly E-Newsletter

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Certified Firm Growth

Welcome from the Director

Welcome to the OMWBE's first quarterly e-newsletter. Our goal is to provide you relevant updates and links to information and activities. Whether you are new to OMWBE or have been a partner for years, we appreciate you and are committed to being a valuable resource.

Customer service is important to us. We continue to make progress with our online system to make the certification process clear and user friendly. Our processing times are down by 43% for state applications and 31% for federal over 2016 data. Additionally, our customer satisfaction is up to 97%. We are proud of our team here.

OMWBE also provides education and outreach to increase state agency and higher education institutions use of certified firms. Why is this important? Small businesses are the backbone of the state’s economy, employing over 1.3 million people—51 percent of the state’s private workforce. Successful small businesses owned by minorities and women help make our economy and our families more resilient – strengthening our communities and improving the quality of life for all Washingtonians. The state has responsibilities when spending public funds, including eliminating barriers to participation in public works and contracting by persons who have historically faced discrimination.

Finally, the 2017 Fiscal Year Annual Report is now available. It includes details about our work, data on certified firms and how much agencies and institutions are spending with certified firms.

It is a pleasure to serve you and remember, we are always available Monday through Friday 8-5 to be of assistance.

Warm regards,

Teresa Berntsen

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New Online System Homepage

What's New @ OMWBE?

Online Certification

OMWBE has moved the entire application and renewal system to an online format. Our new online certification system:
• Allows you to electronically sign and submit documents and save your work for later.
• Protects the security of your sensitive information by submitting documents through a secure online portal.


Along with the new online applications, our new website features enhanced navigation, allowing easier access to our directory of certified firms, certification information, and resources such as bids and contracts, networking events, and training throughout the state. OMWBE is always looking to keep the website up to date and easy to use.


OMWBE is working on four new short videos. One will be a brief how-to video on using the new online certification application system. The second video will be for agencies, primes and general contractors on how to use our directory of certified firms. The final two videos will feature currently certified firms and their experiences.

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OMWBE at a PortGen workshop.

Did You Know?

Help with Applications is Always Available

We are here to be of service. If you have any questions about OMWBE certification or our website, please use our contact page or call us directly at 360-664-9750 or 866-208-1064. We also offer free telephone interpretation services available in 240 languages and dialects--just let us know. If you are in Olympia and would like assistance in person, visit us!

Supplier Diversity

Each year state agencies and colleges report on the amount of money they spend with certified firms. State agencies also submit plans for how they will increase that amount of money in the next year. OMWBE Assistant Director of External Relations, Elisa Young, follows up with reporting agencies and colleges to help them increase the amount of public money spent with certified businesses.

Governor’s Business Diversity Subcabinet

Governor Inslee formed the Business Diversity Subcabinet to increase access to contracting and procurement opportunities for small minority-, woman- and veteran-owned businesses.

OMWBE is a member of the Subcabinet, whose work includes:
• The state’s first comprehensive statewide disparity study is on track for completion in January of 2019. The study will provide specific, statistically valid data on the availability of qualified minority and women owned firms versus utilization.
• A centralized online site for technical assistance for small minority-, woman- and veteran-owned businesses will be launched this summer.
• Also this summer the state will launch a centralized online site for state procurement professionals to access and share best practices to increase their use of small minority-, woman- and veteran-owned businesses.

Outreach & Education

We hope to see you at an event soon. OMWBE team members attend outreach events to assist:
• Business owners interested in certification.
• Prime and general contractors find certified businesses.
• Other organizations that support small minority and women-owned businesses.

If your organization has bids, contracts or events for posting online, please send the information in a Word document to omwbewebadmin@omwbe.wa.gov.


OMWBE Resources

Amal Elisa Kathryn- Alliance NW 3.14.18

OMWBE Team Members at Alliance NW

Wishing you the best,
Director Teresa Berntsen and OMWBE Team Members


OMWBE is committed to providing equal access to our services. If you need accommodation, please call 866-208-1064 or WA State Relay 711. We offer free telephone translation services.

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