A new initiative proposed by King County Executive Dow Constantine would expand opportunities for small businesses and grow the local economy.
A new initiative proposed by King County Executive Dow Constantine would expand opportunities for small businesses and grow the local economy. The goal of the Small Business Accelerator proposal, sent to the Metropolitan King County Council Monday, is to permit similar-sized certified Small Contractor and Supplier (SCS) firms to compete among themselves for the opportunity to be a prime contractor for the county.
"The Small Business Accelerator initiative is another way we are changing how King County does business," said Executive Constantine. "We are providing new opportunities for small firms to win county business, and through competition we aim to drive down the cost of procurement and save taxpayers money."
In September 2010, the Metropolitan King County Council requested a study to determine if the county could create a small business set-aside program. The study found that set-asides are allowed by county code without conflicting with state law for goods acquired for the former Metro agencies of Transit and Wastewater and for technical services for any county department.
"This initiative will enhance opportunities for small businesses to compete for county business and create jobs," said Councilmember Larry Phillips, sponsor of legislation requesting that King County consider small business set-asides. "Increasing opportunities for small businesses strengthens our economy and benefits King County by increasing contracting and procurement options."
Examples of goods that could be acquired under the new initiative include cleaning supplies for Metro buses or plumbing supplies for in-house repairs by Wastewater. Examples of technical services for any county department that qualify under the accelerator process include conducting a customer service survey, contracting for management consultants, and small equipment repairs.
"Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy," said Council Vice Chair Jane Hague. "It's important that King County do what it can to stimulate growth during these difficult times when families are struggling. I'm also pleased to see that there's opportunity here to save taxpayer money through healthy competition."
In selecting contracts for the Small Business Accelerator, county agencies will identify opportunities for small firms on a case-by-case basis. The county estimates that one-third of technical services contracts worth $25,000 or more will be awarded under the Small Business Accelerator in 2012. For tangible goods, the county estimates that about five percent will go through the new accelerator process.
"This initiative is the culmination of more than six months of work by a broad spectrum of people, including King County leadership, our employees, our partners, and local business owners," Executive Constantine added. "Adoption of the Small Business Accelerator would be another step forward in our overall procurement reform effort."