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Small, Local and Emerging Businesses

Learn the benefits of becoming a certified small and local or emerging and local business.

Alameda County’s Small, Local & Emerging Business (SLEB) program makes our economy strong by providing equal opportunities for our local small and emerging vendors in contracts with the County.

Apply now for SLEB certification, or keep reading for more details.

SLEB Benefits for Small or Emerging Businesses

Small or emerging businesses that are certified as SLEBs get big advantages when it comes to bidding on County projects:

Bid preference: Certified SLEBs are eligible to receive up to 10% bid preference: 5% bid preference for being a local business, and another 5% if you are a certified small or emerging business. This levels the playing field when you’re competing against larger vendors.

Subcontracting opportunities: Did you know that for contracts over $25,000, the County requires that 20% of the total contract award must go to certified SLEBs? Get certified so contractors can contact you for potential opportunities.

Preferred vendor status: The county has a designated database for certified SLEBs and local businesses. These are the businesses that County departments turn to when we need goods and services under $100k, and construction projects under $25k.

SLEB vendors may be contacted by the County directly to submit bids.

The SLEB program is race- and gender-neutral and is designed to foster inclusiveness and diversity in County contracts.

How to Get the Most from SLEB

To make the most of your SLEB status:

  • Apply for SLEB certification.
    By getting certified as a SLEB, you become part of the database that County departments and prime vendors turn to for goods and services.
  • Attend Pre-bid events (Construction) or Bidders Conferences (Goods & Services).
    This is your opportunity to ask more questions about projects and meet prime vendors who are looking for subcontractors. A list of attendees is typically posted two days after a conference for easy follow-up.
  • Search the Calendar of Upcoming Events.
    Find information about supplier informational meetings, training and outreach events.
  • Explore current Contracting Opportunities.
    Posted opportunities available to SLEBs include:


    • Goods & Services contracts
    • Architecture and Engineering contracts
    • Construction opportunities
    • Professional services
  • Subscribe to eGov newsletters.

Receive information via email about upcoming contract opportunities and outreach/training events.

SLEB Participation Mandates

To ensure that small, local and emerging businesses get their fair share, the County mandates that:

  • Departmental discretionary spending for goods and services up to $25,000 is targeted to small and emerging local businesses
  • Businesses that don’t meet SLEB requirements are required to subcontract a minimum of 20% of the contract award to a certified small or emerging local business

That’s a big commitment to local business!

Learn more about SLEB participation mandates for prime vendors.

SLEB Forms & Documents

The following helpful forms and documents can be found on the Auditor Controller’s site:

Get Help

For more information about the SLEB program, contact:

SLEB Certification Unit, Auditor Controller’s Office
Phone: (510) 891-5500
Please contact us by using this form

Small Local Emerging Business: A local business that is certified either small or emerging and which, when contracting directly with the County, may be eligible for a maximum 10% bid preference (5% for being small or emerging, plus 5% for being local).

Small Business: A business which has been certified by the County, is local and meets the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards for its classification.

Emerging Business: A business which has been certified by the County, is local and meets less than one half the U.S. SBA size standards for its classification and has been in business less than 5 years.

Local Business: A business having a fixed office with a street address in Alameda County, and having a valid business license issued by the County or a City within Alameda County for at least 6 months.

5% Local Business Preference: Any local business located within the County — at least 6 months prior to date upon which a request for sealed bids or proposals is issued — may be eligible for a 5% local bid preference.

Does your business meet the definition of a SLEB?

Visit the Program Overview to learn more about requirements.

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