Business Diversity Advisory Group

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Related Topics

Location Information

1500 Jefferson

Advisory Group Staff:

Background

Ensuring small and minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses have equal access to State procurement markets is a key priority for Enterprise Services and for Washington State.

Successful small businesses led by minorities, women and veterans help make our economy and families more resilient —creating jobs in our communities, reinvesting locally, and engaging local businesses in how we meet the needs of Washingtonians. Utilization of small and diverse businesses also is important to help drive innovation that benefits all Washingtonians.

Enterprise Services oversees state purchasing policy for goods and services, and manages statewide master contracts used by state agencies and local governments.

Enterprise Services has a major role in how the state moves forward to include small and diverse businesses in procurement processes. State agencies, higher education and local governmental entities (political subdivisions) all have procurement staff who rely on Enterprise Services for contracting services, guidance, consistent processes, leadership, and support.

Advisory Group

As Enterprise Services works on many changes to improve utilization of small and diverse businesses, we want such businesses to be part of the processes and let us know what is most important to them. The Enterprise Services Business Diversity Advisory Group (BDAG) is made up of small, minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses as well as non-profits for the blind that serve in an advisory capacity to the agency's contracts and procurement division.

The group:

  • Shares ideas with Enterprise Services on how we can better include small and diverse businesses.
  • Provides advice to key decision makers on how we might encourage more small and diverse businesses to participate in state contracting and procurement opportunities.
  • Learns about how Enterprise Services is utilizing suggestions to further small and diverse business inclusion.
  • Provides important guidance to help improve small and diverse business inclusion for master contracts, totaling over $1.7 billion in spending annually.

Business Diversity Advisory Group (BDAG) Member Requirements:

  • Be a Washington small business registered in Washington's Electronic Business Solution (WEBS), a non-profit for the blind and based in Washington, or a non-profit organization that supports these entities.
  • Provide goods or services that are purchased by Enterprise Services or under a master contract.
  • Actively trying to do business with Enterprise Services or currently doing business with the agency.
  • Have not been de-certified for reasons other than non-renewal/response or graduation.
  • Have not been debarred or suspended, have no labor violations, and have no ethics violations.
  • Provide community and work references.

Selection Process

Candidates serve one- to three-year terms and are selected using a transparent process overseen by the Enterprise Services Contracts Division. Each year, member applications are due no later than Nov. 30.

Enterprise Services seeks a balanced representation of geographic areas, race/ethnicity, gender, veteran status, experience in doing business with the state, small business size, sector and industry and other factors.

For more information, contact Erin Lopez at (360) 407-8010 or Erin.Lopez@des.wa.gov.

Meeting Information

2019 Meeting Schedule

Third Tuesday of every month from 10 a.m. – noon
October meeting will be held in Spokane. There will not be a December meeting.

Location:
1500 Jefferson Street SE, Room 2320
Olympia, WA 98504

Agendas

  • May 21, 2019

2018 – 2019 Year in Summary

BDAG was formed May 2018.

2018 BDAG Top Member Recommendations to DES

  1. Improved access to contracts.
  2. DES should clearly define current laws/ policies related to procurement and small, diverse, minority, women, veteran, local, non-profit for the blind, large business and cooperatives (anything tied to preference, practice).
  3. Equal access for both small and large businesses to decision makers, influencers, contractor and subcontractor opportunities, and the right person at the right time.
  4. Data Transparency and availability.

DES Implemented BDAG Recommendations

Area: IT Professional Services

Recommendation: BDAG members provided feedback about the plan to revamp the IT Professional Services Program.

Outcome:

  • Based on concerns and questions from BDAG DES decided to push the RFI date out and have a pre-RFI event on Friday, July 27, 2018.
  • The pre-RFI event had good attendance with almost 100 people (both over the phone and in person). There was positive feedback about the event.

Status: On-going. We continue to work on the IT Professional Services program.

Area: Procurement strategies

Recommendation:

  • Breaking out scopes.
  • Expanding preference to consider industry and points for small, mini, micro, and veteran-owned businesses.

Outcome:

DES Legal Services Manager presented:

  • DES can provide assistance for small businesses that is race and gender neutral.
  • RCW 39.26.160 defines best value criteria, which is race and gender neutral.
  • Specific potential examples include:
    • Direct Buy limit increases for Washington Small Businesses.
    • Unbundling contracts (i.e. breaking contracts up into smaller scopes).
    • Small business preference.
  • DES provided small business preference on the IT cabling solicitation November 2018. DES has developed solicitation language for small and veteran business preference.
  • DES includes best value and unbundling in our Contracts Division procurement manual.
  • Proposed updates to the Direct Buy policy include a higher threshold for small businesses. DES began seeking stakeholder input on the proposal May 16.

Status: On-going. We continue to measure and enhance our program.

Area: Master Contract User Agreement (MCUA) enhancement

Recommendation: Member shared that they spent time each month reconciling MCUA list (entities that sign on to use DES master contract) to identify new potential customers.

Outcome: Based on member feedback, the MCUA page now lists new members added in the last 3 months to the top of the page and distinguished them with a different color font.

Status: Complete.

May 2019 – coming soon