Small Business Resource Guide

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Sound Transit’s Office of Small Business Development and Labor Compliance is committed to supporting small and disadvantaged business enterprises in the Puget Sound region. These resources are intended to provide general information and support services to help small businesses succeed. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of resources; however, we hope it will serve as a helpful starting point for small businesses. For general information on how to do business with Sound Transit, please see this brochure from our Procurement & Contracts Division. 

Certification Resources for Sound Transit

On projects with subcontracting opportunities, Sound Transit may set two kinds of numeric goals: Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) goals and Small Business goals. After thorough analysis, staff set the goals as a percentage of the total contract for projects. For example, a project may have a DBE goal of 4% and a small business goal of 8%. For projects with federal funds, where a DBE goal is set, Sound Transit requires federal DBE certification to be counted on projects. This certification is available through the Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises (OMWBE). Only firms who have been certified by OMWBE as DBEs can be counted towards the fulfillment of the goal. For small businesses to be counted towards our small business goal, they must meet the Small Business Administration’s small business size standards and be below $23.98 million in gross receipts over the last three years.

  1. Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises (OMWBE): Certifies at both the state and federal levels. The DBE certification is a federal certification. Details and applications are located on their website. Phone: 866-208-1064; www.omwbe.wa.gov
     
  2. Small Business Administration (SBA): Has the information on small business size standards.  Phone: 206-553-7310; www.sba.gov

Additional Certification Resources

  1. OMWBE: Also provides certification for a number of state certifications. These include Women’s Business Enterprises, Minority Business Enterprises, Minority Women Business Enterprise, Combination Business Enterprise, and Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Business Enterprise. Details and applications are located on their website. Phone: 866-208-1064; www.omwbe.wa.gov
     
  2. Small Contractor and Supplier (SCS): A King County certification program, this certification increases the competitiveness of certified firms for good & services, consulting, and construction contracts. The program also includes a training component. www.kingcounty.gov/exec/BusinessDev/contractingopps.aspx

Bonding Assistance

Bonding assistance that is available for small businesses to access higher levels of bonds to begin working on larger projects.

  1. Northwest Small Business Transportation Resource Center (SBTRC): Works to increase the ability of small businesses to compete for and enter into transportation-related contracts at local, state, and federal levels.  Provides business counseling, market research, certification, procurement and technical assistance. They also offer bonding and loan assistance. Phone: 425-248-4222; www.dot.gov/osdbu/nw-sbtrc
     
  2. Small Business Administration (SBA): Provides small businesses with a wide variety of services primarily through four programmatic functions: access to capital, entrepreneurial development, government contracting, and advocacy.  They also offer surety bonds to small businesses. Phone: 206-553-7310; www.sba.gov/surety-bonds

Financial Assistance/Loans

Loans and financial assistance targeted to small businesses to grow or provide seed money for new businesses.

  1. Seattle Community Capital Development: Offers training, coaching, and loans to new and growing small businesses. They have programs specifically for women, veterans and minorities. Phone: 206-324-4330; seattleccd.com
     
  2. Craft3: A nonprofit community development financial institution.  Provides loans to entrepreneurs, nonprofits, individuals, and others who don’t normally have access to financing. They also offer expertise, networks, and advocacy to clients. Focus on minority, women, and veteran owned businesses in high poverty areas. Phone: 888-231-2170; www.craft3.org
     
  3. Small Business Administration (SBA): Provides small business with a wide variety of services primarily through four programmatic functions: access to capital, entrepreneurial development, government contracting, and advocacy. Phone: 206-553-7310; www.sba.gov
     
  4. Evergreen Business Capital: Provides loans to small businesses that assist them in purchasing commercial real estate and equipment. They partner with lenders in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Northern Idaho. Phone: 206-622-3731; www.evergreen504.com

Training Resources

A wide range of training resources are available to small businesses to increase their technical expertise and capacity.

  1. Washington Small Business Development Center (WSBDC): Various centers located throughout the state including Everett, Seattle, and Tacoma. Client services include: starting a new business, helping grow your business, starting or expanding exporting, cutting cost and updating processes. They offer trainings and one-on-one counseling to small businesses including developing business plans.  www.wsbdc.org
    • Edmonds Community College: 425-640-1435
    • Seattle: 206-428-3022
    • South Seattle: 206-246-4445
    • Seattle Export Center (specializes in International Trade): 206-439-3785
       
  2. Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC): Provides no cost, one-on-one technical assistance in all aspects of selling to federal, state, and local governments. They advise businesses on bid reviews, marketing assistance, contract performance, and small business designations. They also host trainings and seminars.  www.washingtonptac.org
    • Snohomish: 425-248-4223
    • King: 253-520-6267
    • Pierce: 253-680-7054
       
  3. Native PTAC: Provides PTAC services (above) to Native owned businesses, Tribal governments, Alaska Native Corporations, Native Hawaiian Organizations, Tribal owned businesses, and ANC and NHO owned enterprises. Phone: 206-816-6596; www.nativePTAC.org
     
  4. Northwest Small Business Transportation Resource Center (SBTRC): Works to increase the ability of small businesses to compete for and enter into transportation-related contracts at local, state, and federal levels.  Provides business counseling, market research, certification, procurement and technical assistance. They also offer bonding and loan assistance. Phone: 425-248-4222; www.dot.gov/osdbu/nw-sbtrc
     
  5. Greater Seattle SCORE: Offers free mentoring, templates & tools, and low cost trainings and workshops. Offers programs for new businesses as well as established. Phone: 206-553-7320; seattle.score.orgSeattle Community Capital Development: Offers training, coaching, and loans to new and growing small businesses. They have programs specifically for women, veterans and minorities. Phone: 206-324-4330; seattleccd.com
     
  6. Small Business Administration (SBA): Provides small business with a wide variety of services primarily through four programmatic functions: access to capital, entrepreneurial development, government contracting, and advocacy. Phone: 206-553-7310; www.sba.gov
     
  7. Foster School of Business, Consulting and Business Development Center at the University of Washington: They offer the Minority Business Executive Program and Business Certification Program. They also place student interns with businesses on projects to help grow their capacity. Phone: 206-543-9327; foster.uw.edu/centers/consulting-and-business-development-center/business-programs

Counseling Services

Individualized counseling and mentoring services that are locally available to help small businesses with everything from developing business plans to understanding procurement guidelines.

  1. Washington Small Business Development Center (WSBDC): Various centers located throughout the state including Everett, Seattle, and Tacoma. Client services include: starting a new business, helping grow your business, starting or expanding exporting, cutting cost and updating processes. They offer trainings and one-on-one counseling to small businesses including developing business plans.  www.wsbdc.org
    •  Edmonds Community College: 425-640-1435
    • Seattle: 206-428-3022
    •  South Seattle: 206-246-4445
    • Seattle Export Center (specializes in International Trade): 206-439-3785
       
  2. Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC): Provides no cost, one-on-one technical assistance in all aspects of selling to federal, state, and local governments. They advise businesses on bid reviews, marketing assistance, contract performance, and small business designations. They also host trainings and seminars.  www.washingtonptac.org
    • Snohomish: 425-248-4223
    • King: 253-520-6267
    • Pierce: 253-680-7054
       
  3. Native PTAC: Provides PTAC services (above) to Native owned businesses, Tribal governments, Alaska Native Corporations, Native Hawaiian Organizations, Tribal owned businesses, and ANC and NHO owned enterprises. Phone: 206-816-6596;  www.nativePTAC.org
     
  4. Northwest Small Business Transportation Resource Center (SBTRC): Works to increase the ability of small businesses to compete for and enter into transportation-related contracts at local, state, and federal levels.  Provides business counseling, market research, certification, procurement and technical assistance. They also offer bonding and loan assistance. Phone: 425-248-4222; www.dot.gov/osdbu/nw-sbtrc
     
  5. Seattle Community Capital Development: Offers training, coaching, and loans to new and growing small businesses. They have programs specifically for women, veterans and minorities. Phone: 206-324-4330; seattleccd.com
     
  6. Small Business Administration (SBA): Provides small businesses with a wide variety of services primarily through four programmatic functions: access to capital, entrepreneurial development, government contracting, and advocacy. Phone: 206-553-7310; www.sba.gov

Veteran Specific Resources

  1. Seattle Community Capital Development: Offers training, coaching, and loans to new and growing small businesses. They have programs specifically for women, veterans and minorities. They also have a Veterans Business Outreach Center Client Portal. Phone: 206-324-4330; seattleccd.com
     
  2. Greater Seattle SCORE: Offers Veteran Fast Launch Initiative which includes free software and services combined with SCORE’s mentoring program with the goal of accelerating the success of veterans and their families to succeed in small businesses. Phone: 206-553-7320; seattle.score.org
     
  3. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization has numerous resources for veterans including how to start a business, financing, how to grow a business, and finding opportunities. Phone: 866-584-2344; www.va.gov/osdbu/entrepreneur
     
  4. Small Business Administration: Office of Veterans Business Development offers resources, training, and potential partners to veteran entrepreneurs, their dependents, and their survivors. Includes Boots to Business, Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Veterans with Disabilities, and Women Veterans Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship. Phone: 202-205-6773; www.sba.gov/offices/headquarters/ovbd
     
  5. Veteranscorp.org: Works to structure and make connections between nonprofit and for profit small businesses and veteran/service disabled veteran owned small businesses. They offer resources, training links, and act a ‘clearinghouse of ideas.’ No phone number listed; www.veteranscorp.org

Permitting and Licensing Resources

  1. Washington State Department of Labor & Industries: Has a Help for Small Business website that includes information on business requirements, registration requirements, and training and counseling resources. Phone: 800-987-0145; www.lni.wa.gov/main/smallbusiness
     
  2. Access Washington: A Washington State website that has information on Doing Business in Washington State. This includes licenses, permits, tax information, and additional resources. No phone number listed;  www.business.wa.gov

Networking/Membership Organizations

Organizations where membership is required to access many of the services offered.

  1. American Council of Engineering Companies Washington (ACEC):  Professional association for the design industry. Works to advocate for improved business conditions for its members, provides business education, and a variety of events and trainings. Phone: 425-453-6655;  www.acec-wa.org
     
  2. Associated General Contractors of Washington (AGC): Professional association of contractors that provide services, benefits, and advocacy for its members. Benefits include education, labor relations, networking, product discounts, legal assistance, health insurance, and retirement programs. Phone: 206-284-0061;  www.agcwa.com
     
  3. ASTRA Women’s Alliance: Membership organization to advance women owned businesses. Offers support, trainings, advocacy and networking opportunities for its members. Phone: 503-941-9724; www.astrawba.org
     
  4. BNI Northwest: A networking organization that is built around the idea of referrals within their networks. Could be helpful to newer businesses looking to build a customer base. Phone: 425-391-6830;  bninw.com
     
  5. Entrepreneurial Institute of Washington (EIW): Offers its members professional and leadership development, business support services, and technical assistance. In the future, hopes to have an incubator space. Phone: 800-270-0724; www.eiwashington.org
     
  6. National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC): Provides education, training, advocacy, and networking to address needs and concerns of minority contractors. Membership meetings are monthly. Phone: 425-444-2706;  namcwa.com
     
  7. National Association of Women in Construction: Puget Sound Chapter #60 is a professional association comprised of women working in construction and related industries. No phone number listed; www.nawicpugetsound.org
     
  8. Northwest Mountain Minority Supplier Development Council (NWMSDC): Membership based organization that links minority owned businesses to public and private agencies. They offer formal and information networking opportunities as well as advocacy and support. Phone: 253-243-6959;  www.nwmtnmsdc.org
     
  9. Tabor 100: A membership based group for business owners and entrepreneurs. They are committed to economic power, educational excellence and social equity for African-Americans and the community at large. Phone: 206-368-4042;  www.tabor100.org
     
  10. Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS): An organization that works to build the future of transportation through the advancement of women. Offers professional activities, networking, mentoring, and access to industry and government leaders. Phone: 206-931-0875;  www.wtsinternational.org/pugetsound

Online Resources

  1. Seattle Chamber of Commerce: Has a small business tools page that offers a number of resources and guides to small business owners. http://seattle.toolsforbusiness.info/success-in-washington
     
  2. Governor’s Office for Regulatory Innovation and Assistance: Provides a small business guide online that can assist in helping plan, run, grow, or close small businesses in Washington State. General website:  www.oria.wa.gov. Link directly to the PDF version of the guide: www.oria.wa.gov/Portals/_oria/VersionedDocuments/Business_Publications/small_business_guide.pdf
     
  3. Federal Transit Administration: Has a website with online presentations and videos to assist in training on civil rights related topics. Include DBE, Title IV, and EEO. www.fta.dot.gov/civilrights/12885.html
     
  4. Braddock’s Procurement Opportunity Guide: The guide is free to clients that work with PTAC and is designed to to help small business owners and decision makers understand the government procurement and private sector procurement spaces. www.aptac-us.org/braddocks-procurement-opportunities-guide
  5. Small Business Administration (SBA): Provides small businesses with a wide variety of services primarily through four programmatic functions: access to capital, entrepreneurial development, government contracting, and advocacy. www.sba.gov
     
  6. NAICS Association: Resource to help firms identify their self-assigned NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) Codes. Identifying these codes is a necessary step in the certification process. www.naics.com

Accelerators and Incubators

Support for new and emerging businesses including co-locating with other entrepreneurs. 

Accelerators: Short term programs that invest in externally generated programs in return for capital and mentorship.

  1. 9Mile Labs- a high tech accelerator that focuses on B2B software and cloud technologies.
     
  2. Accelerator Corp.- a biotechnology investment and management company that identifies, finances, and manages the development of emerging biotechnology opportunities.
     
  3. Entrepreneurs’ Organization- A Global business network of 11,000 individuals, in 150 chapters in 48 countries that focuses on business growth, personal development, and community engagement.
     
  4. Fledge- Operates three programs for entrepreneurs with a focus on making a measurable impact in the world. They are interested in investing in programs that improve lives, the environment, health, communities, and making the world more sustainable.
     
  5. Founder Institute- Offers a four month, part time program to help entrepreneurs launch technology companies through structured training courses, practical business building assignments, and feedback.
     
  6. Ivy Softworks- A stealth innovation studio that brings together early-stage innovators to work on multiple start-up projects together.
     
  7. Madrona Venture Labs- Develops new companies from the ground up focusing on transformational products and staffed by hackers and designers.
     
  8. McKinstry Innovation Center- Brings together new and emerging companies a place where they work together in the same space. Offers mentorship, shared expertise, and professional amenities in four cluster areas: clean tech, education, high tech, and life sciences.
     
  9. Microsoft Ventures-Works with startups globally at all stages to help them scale their business, bring innovative services to market, and reach new customers using mentors and accelerator program.
     
  10. Reactor- An initiative that is a part of the Washington Interactive Network that works to develop the next generation of talent for interactive media, including games and technology.
     
  11. Startup Next- A program geared to help businesses get ready for accelerators or investors. Offers a five week mentoring and training program to prepare new start-ups for the next step.
     
  12. TechBA- A project of the US-Mexico Foundation for Science, focuses on developing Mexican technology-based companies to prepare them to enter the global market.
     
  13. Techstars- Provides seed money, support, and mentorship for technology oriented companies that can have national or worldwide reach.
     
  14. Village88 Tech Lab- A stealth accelerator that works with companies at all levels of development providing them with various resources and support including engineering resources.

Incubators: Develops ideas internally and manages those ideas with a management team. They are longer term than accelerators.

  1. CoMotion (UW)- Provides dedicated space and facilities to support UW-affiliated start-up companies through their early stages of company and product development.
     
  2. Eastside Incubator- A co-working space available exclusively to early stage software startups (from 2-8 people).
     
  3. Kick Incubator- Offers a six week course to help new businesses from idea to start-up for non-profits and for-profits.
     
  4. Seattle Fashion Incubator- Offers independent fashion brands an environment to develop and grow their business including design space, goods and equipment, professional coaching, and presentation space.
     
  5. SURF Incubator- Supports all stages of startup entrepreneurs as well as large companies needing a satellite location including mentors, interns, co-working space, collaborative learning, and networking.
     
  6. William Factory (Tacoma)-  Created to help business in East Tacoma improve living and working conditions. They house more than 40 companies in specialty trade construction, applied technologies, and business services.

Apprenticeship Resources

Washington State Department of Labor & Industries:

  1. Apprenticeship Programs: Apprentices must go through approved programs and the Department of Labor & Industries regulates and approves those programs. All information regarding how to become an apprentice, what programs are currently accepting applications, and where to go for more information is located on their website. Phone: 360-902-5320; www.lni.wa.gov/TradesLicensing/Apprenticeship
     
  2. Pre-Apprenticeship Programs: Labor & Industries also certifies pre-apprenticeship programs for those that are not quite ready to enter the trades as an apprentice. Their website has a list with links of those that are formally recognized as well as those not yet recognized. Phone: 360-902-5320; http://www.lni.wa.gov/TradesLicensing/Apprenticeship/About/IntroProg/default.asp

Sound Transit Resources and Information

  1. For general information on the Diversity Programs Office please visit our website, www.soundtransit.org/diversity, or give us a call at 206-689-4914.
     
  2. Title VI Program: Works to ensure no person will be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subject to discrimination for any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance because of race, color, or national origin. It also covers limited English proficiency populations and environmental justice applications. For more information please see this document or call 206-903-7246.
     
  3. Project Labor Agreement: A collective bargaining agreement between building trade unions and contractors. The PLA sets workforce diversity goals, defines rules and regulations regarding payment of workers, and promotes fairness in employment for union and non-union workers. For more information please visit www.soundtransit.org/About-Sound-Transit/Doing-business-with-us/Project-Labor-Agreement or call 206-689-4992.
     
  4. Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Fraud: Fraud is a deliberate deception to secure an unfair gain. DBE fraud can include bid rigging, bribery, kickbacks, misrepresentation of who is doing the work or who owns the company. For more information on fraud and how to report it please visit this webpage. You can also call our DBE Fraud Hotline and leave a message about suspected fraud: 1-877-480-6617.