Small Business Program
The Port's Century Agenda includes an objective to increase the percentage of funds spent on construction, consulting and goods and services with small businesses to 40 percent.
Our Small Business Program is designed to develop professional relationships with small businesses and to increase the number of minority, women, disadvantaged firms, and small businesses competing for Port procurement.
Under the port’s Small Business Program, we track three core programs:
- The Small Contractor and Suppliers (SCS) program
- The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program
- The Small Business Enterprise (SBE) program.
One such small business owner, Randi Sibonga, built relationships and grasped opportunity to become a successful business owner at Sea-Tac Airport.
Airport provides a unique venue to grow a business
When talking to business woman Randi Sibonga, you soon realize she is a proud advocate of small business development, and rightly so—she lives it.
In the mid-1980s, she and her business partners opened the first certified women-owned business at Sea-Tac Airport: an ice cream and candy shop and a small gift/news outlet.
By building relationships, seizing opportunities, staying committed and working hard over the decades that followed, she flourished. Today, she partners with others to operate more than two dozen businesses at Sea-Tac. She shared her inspirational story as a panelist at one of the recent Sea-Tac Airport Concessions Opportunities Summit, designed to inform small business owners about business opportunities with the Port and available assistance.
For her first several years, she and her female partners worked with HMSHost to build up their presence at Sea-Tac. They handled various remodeling and expansion efforts and financial and operational hurdles, and then were faced with their biggest challenge when 9/11 changed passenger flow and purchasing habits at airports. To address this, Sibonga worked with Port staff and HMSHost to form the first joint venture at Sea-Tac under the federal Airport Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) Program.
For the past dozen years, her company, MCSB, Inc., and another ACDBE company and joint venture partner, Ardie Warren of Warren’s Northwest News & Gift, have worked with prime operator Hudson Group. Together they operate 24 news, gift and specialty stores, including the new Mac Cosmetics and Coach stores at Sea-Tac. And if that wasn’t enough, Sibonga partners with Dufry North America to operate three of Sea-Tac’s duty free stores, making her one of only a few minority women in the nation who own airport duty-free outlets.
Looking back over this progression, Sibonga said: “It is incredible to think how far we have come—but it took over 30 years. Advocacy is what counts, and willingness by the Port and the prime contractors to take a risk was crucial,” she added.
She credits the ACDBE Program, HMSHost, Hudson and the Port for their willingness to accommodate small business, and the commitment at all levels to encourage small business success at the airport.
“Relationships underlie everything,” she said. “Operating at an airport is unique in retail, has certain limitations and there are no guarantees,” she said.
“Entrepreneurs interested in doing business at Sea-Tac need to do their homework and come in with their eyes wide open. It takes a lot of time and financing to build a business, but being at an airport is one of the most unique, exciting and energetic business environments I can imagine, and there is huge volume potential.” She said she and her partners built their business successes on being “the traveler’s best friend” when a customer comes into one of their Sea-Tac stores.
Still looking ahead, Sibonga said she is eager to see what is next for Sea-Tac with projects such as the North Satellite modernization and the new expanded International Arrivals Facility, plus the ongoing redevelopment of the Airport Dining and Retail program.
PortGen Small Business Accelerator
Mark Fitgerald is a Marine Maintenance utility worker pursuing his goal of becoming an apprentice electrician
PortGen, launched in 2016, is one example of the ways the Port of Seattle supports small businesses in the region.
Small businesses from the construction and architectural/engineering sector participate in a series of classes and coaching aimed at providing technical assistance to help improve their ability to do business with the Port of Seattle.
Because the Port of Seattle spends millions of dollars annually on goods and services—everything from light bulbs and software to janitorial services and escalator repair—.Port staff recently dedicated the second in the 2017 PortGen series to the topic of goods and services procurement.
At the March session, small business owners visited Port Marine Maintenance facilities for an overview of their goods and services needs. Mark Fitzgerald, pictured above changing a light bulb, is a Marine Maintenance utility worker pursuing his goal of becoming an apprentice electrician.
In the video to the left, two business owner participants discuss the benefits they experienced as a result of the PortGen program.
Small Contractors and Suppliers Program (SCS)
Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program (DBE)
Through a joint partnership with King County, a small business can fill out one application to be certified as an SCS firm for all government agencies utilizing the SCS program.
Registering as an SCS firm increases your competitiveness when bidding on port contracts. The incentives in each category may include:
GOODS & SERVICES
Earn a 5% pricing advantage during evaluations
Earn evaluation points for using SCS firms for Categories II and III
SCS participation requirements, on a case-by-case basis
All SCS Company Names and Profiles are placed in an online directory. Find a list of FAQs here.
During 2014 SCS businesses received:
- More than $31 million through port contract and sub contracting opportunities
- 8.8% of Port expenditures
If you are interested in doing business with the Port, and want to fully maximize your SCS certification please register on the port’s Procurement and Roster Management System (PRMS).
If you have any questions please contact us .
Small Business Enterprise Program (SBE)
The port’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Programs established in accordance with U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations. Federal program guidelines and procedures aid in ensuring that DBEs have equal opportunity to compete for contracts, subcontracts, and agreements in the award and administration of DOT-assisted contracts.
It is our policy to:
- Ensure nondiscrimination in the award of DOT assisted contracts;
- Create a level playing field on which DBEs can compete fairly for DOT assisted contracts;
- Ensure that a firm meets federal eligibility standards (49 CFR Part 26) prior to participation in the DBE Program;
- Assist in identifying and removing barriers to participation for DBEs in federally assisted contracts; and
- Assist in the development of Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, in order to increase their competitiveness in the market place.
The Port of Seattle has a three-year race-conscious goal of 4.76% DBE utilization on its federally assisted projects. Click here to view the port’s DBE Program.
If you have any questions regarding the port's DBE program please contact us.
How do I become certified as a DBE?
Firms seeking to be federally certified as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) should contact the Office of Minority and Women Business Enterprises (OMWBE) in Olympia, WA, for information on the eligibility criteria, instructions and certification materials online or by phone 1-866-208-1064.
Airport Concessions Disadvantage Business Enterprise Program
Small Business Report (Statistics for 2015)
The Port tracks Small Business Enterprises (SBE) participation for those firms that identify themselves as a small business. Please see the Small Business Administration (SBA) website which details the size standards for small businesses.