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City Light’s Commitment to Women and Minority-Owned Businesses

Seattle City Light actively supports opportunities for women and minority-owned businesses. We provide networking opportunities, conduct outreach, facilitate technical assistance, and encourage businesses to register using the Online Business Directory so they are supported in consulting and purchasing contract opportunities with the City of Seattle.

The City’s women and minority-owned business (WMBE) program defines WMBE as state-certified or self-identified firms at least 51% owned by women and/or minorities. The WMBE program was created to break down long-standing historical barriers impacting women and minority businesses. In return, it strengthens our economy and our community, drives social change, and supports small businesses.

Seattle City Light welcomes the opportunity to work with all businesses that embrace our WMBE goals and strengthen the communities we serve, while also providing a benefit to the projects that light Seattle and our franchise Cities. City Light strives to build partnerships with businesses that reflect the diversity of the greater Seattle area. We actively support businesses that add value to our services, our customers, and our community.

Networking Opportunities

Networking among consultants and contractors is one of the most successful methods for securing work on Seattle City Light projects. City Light promotes relationship-building among our project managers, consultants, and contractors through attendance at contracting forums and trade shows, networking time at pre-submittal meetings, and meet-and-greet events that focus on consultant specialties.

Conduct Outreach

On behalf of businesses, the City and City Light conducts outreach by attending and hosting events, producing a list of upcoming project and contract opportunities, meeting with WMBEs, and facilitating meetings with City Light decision-makers.

Technical Assistance Opportunities

  • University of Washington – Foster School of Business – Seattle City Light partners with the University of Washington Foster School of Business to provide technical assistance and business development to WMBE firms.  To be considered for Seattle City Light sponsorship for the UW Technical Assistance Opportunities please contact City Light’s WMBE Manager, Kara Williams for consideration.
  • Ascend Seattle Program – Ascend Seattle is a business education program that accelerates business growth through management education, access to contracting and business development opportunities with large corporations and government agencies, and connections to lenders and investors.
  • University of Washington – Minority Business Executive Program (MBEP)- is a one week program that takes place each Fall.  Participants learn to utilize financial tools, make better business decisions, develop strategic plans for growth/sustainability, identify new technologies to scale operations, marketing strategies to access global markets, and develop their leadership acumen. For more information on MBEP check out their website.
  • University of Washington – Student Consulting Program – Through the Consulting & Business Development Center’s Foster Consulting Program, students are matched with business owners for six-week consulting projects to help with a specific business need. Past projects include: launching a new product line, developing a marketing plan, market research, pricing strategy, and improving operating efficiencies. The U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is the only federal agency solely dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of minority business enterprises.
  • Seattle City Light’s Mentor Protégé – Technical Assistance Program -With the support of our strategic partners, MBDA-Tacoma Business Center will provide technical, strategic, marketing and planning services, and business consulting to established minority-owned firms. In 2021, MBDA will manage the City Light Mentor/Protégé program.  This partnership will strategically recruit City Light prime contractors to participate in this program and will seek WMBE firms that are prepared to grow their participation with City Light.  For more information on MBDA, please check out this overview.

COVID-19 Business Resources

Many businesses are experiencing short and long-term impacts from COVID-19. Visit the Office of Economic Development resources page to find a list of initiatives supporting businesses impacted by COVID-19. 

King County’s Office of Equity and Social Justice has also developed a COVID-19 Resource Guide that includes information for small businesses.

Check out to receive a Safe Start Kit of masks and hand sanitizer for your small business. 

Register Your Business today using the single registration system.

If you have any additional questions and/or would like to schedule a meeting with the City Light WMBE Manager to discuss your business and potential Seattle City Light WMBE opportunities, please contact Kara Williams, WMBE Program Manager.