New WSDOT site aims to boost opportunities for small-business owners

Small-business owners have a new tool to help position their company to work on state contracts and projects.

To encourage and support small businesses, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) recently launched a new Web site — Small Business Opportunities.

The site offers how-to help specifically for small businesses seeking work as contractors, subcontractors, consultants and vendors. It’s just the first step in a new program, to be fully implemented by spring 2013, that encourages prime contractors to award 10 percent of their transportation project to small businesses.

“We support equal opportunities in the transportation job market and this will hopefully help small businesses’ efforts to get their foot in the door,” said Director Brenda Nnambi, WSDOT Office of Equal Opportunity. “They’re an important part of our communities and help contribute to our state’s economic recovery. We want to see them succeed.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently approved WSDOT’s Small Business Enterprise Program plan. The plan sets a voluntary goal for prime contractors to use qualified small businesses and allows WSDOT to establish a roster of pre-qualified small businesses for contracts of up to $35,000.

To implement the plan, WSDOT will be working with the Legislature and small businesses over the next few months to ensure the program meets the needs of those desiring to work on state transportation projects.