King County reports growth for small businesses

Opportunities for productive relationships between King County and small business has improved over the past couple of years, thanks to a series of reforms.

The reforms focused on increasing contract opportunities with the county for small business, and King County Executive Dow Constantine said the program has been a boon.

"These results show that our reforms are making it easier for small firms to do business with the county, creating more jobs in the private sector and strengthening local communities," Constantine said, referencing a recent annual report that monitors such data.

According to the data compiled in the Contracting Opportunities Program Report, there's been:

• An 89 percent increase in the number of construction awards to small contractor and supplier (SCS) firms, with 102 awards in 2011, compared to 54 in 2010

• A 42 percent increase in the value of contracts awarded to SCS firms; $33.2 million in 2011, compared to $23.3 million in 2010

• A 35 percent increase in the number of contracts awarded to SCS firms for goods and services, consulting and construction services; 182 in 2011 compared to 135 in 2010

• An 8 percent increase in the number of SCS-certified firms; 1,202 total firms in 2011, to 1,115 in 2010

The county indicates that the Contracting Opportunities Program was part of Constantine's "Procurement Reform Initiative" (PRI), which is a two-year program aimed at increasing efficiency and equity for small businesses when it comes to doing work for the county. Also in the PRI was a Small Business Accelerator, which allows SCS firms to compete among themselves for county contracts.

To sign up for the SCS registry, a business must be at or below 50 percent of the United States Small Business Administration standards for size, and the personal net worth of each owner cannot exceed $750,000. In addition, businesses who apply are required to participate in a 15-hour training session within the first year of program certification. For more information on the program, visit www.kingcounty.goc/SCSDirectory.


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