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Alameda County, CA,
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About Us > Program > Overview

The Small, Local and Emerging Business (SLEB) program is a race and gender neutral program designed to enhance contracting and procurement opportunities for small, local and emerging businesses within Alameda County. The SLEB program was developed to promote and foster inclusiveness, diversity and economic development; as well as on-going evaluation to ensure all businesses including SLEBs are provided equal opportunities in County contracting and procurement activities.

Mission Statement

It is the intent of Alameda County to develop and promote economic growth for the community in which it serves. The County desires to foster the growth of small, local and emerging businesses (SLEB). The County will provide the community information about its procurement and contracting process to ensure the participation of SLEBs in the competitive processes of public procurement and will provide training and development opportunities to support their growth. Additionally, the County will provide accurate and accessible information on available supplier/contract opportunities. The County will ensure that the process is inclusive for all residents regardless of race, color, gender, age, religion, national origin, disability or any other factor that is prohibited when making business decisions.


The Small Local and Emerging Business (SLEB) program is a race and gender neutral program designed to ensure that all local businesses are given an opportunity to contract with the County and promote the economic growth of the community. The SLEB program was developed within the parameters of all applicable local and state laws including Proposition 209. The program is comprehensive, Countywide and applies to the procurement of over one hundred million dollars County goods and services annually. The County's program(s) for construction contracts is governed by Public Contract Code 2000 - 2002.

Small Local Emerging Business (SLEB) Provision for Informal and Formal Sealed Bids over $25,000

A small business is defined by the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) as having no more than the number of employees or average annual gross receipts over the last 3 years required per SBA standards based on the small business's appropriate North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code.

An emerging business is defined by the County as having either annual gross receipts of less than one-half (1/2) that of a small business OR having less than one-half (1/2) the number of employees AND that has been in business less than five (5) years.

Small and emerging businesses must also satisfy the locality requirements (below) and be certified by the County as a Small or Emerging, local business. A certification application package is available at

The County is vitally interested in promoting the growth of small and emerging local businesses by means of increasing the participation of these businesses in the County's purchase of goods and services. As a result of the County's commitment to advance the economic opportunities of these businesses the following provisions shall apply to informal and formal (sealed bid) bidders for County procurements of goods and services:

  1. If Bidder is certified by the County as either a small and local or an emerging and local business, the County will provide a five percent (5%) bid preference for procurements over $25,000, in addition to a 5% local bid preference for sealed bids (see below) for a total bid preference of ten percent (10%). A bid preference cannot override a State law, which requires the granting of an award to the lowest responsible bidder.
    • SLEB subcontractors must be independently owned and operated from the prime contractor with no employees of either entity working for the other.
    • Informal and formal sealed bids over $25,000 are eligible for a 5% SLEB bid preference.
    • Only sealed bids are eligible for a 5% local preference.
    • The 5% or 10% total bid preference is applied to bidder's cost when lowest price is required to award or to evaluation criteria points for qualifications-based awards.
  2. Bidders not meeting the definition of a small or emerging local business do not qualify for a bid preference and must subcontract with one or more County certified small and/or emerging local businesses for at least twenty percent (20%) of the total bid amount in order to be considered for contract award.
    • Bidders must submit written documentation evidencing a firm contractual commitment to meeting the minimum SLEB participation requirement.
    • SLEB participation must be maintained for the contract term.
    • Evidence of SLEB participation shall be provided immediately upon request at any time during the contract term.
  3. The County reserves the right to waive the small/emerging local business participation requirements on contracts over $25,000 if the additional estimated cost to the County, which may result from inclusion of the requirements, exceeds five percent (5%) of the total estimated contract amount or Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000), whichever is less.
    • Certified SLEB's cost must be greater than 10% or $3,000 than a non-SLEB for waiver requests on procurements between $10,001 and $25,000.
  4. The following entities are exempt from the Small and Emerging Local Business (SLEB) requirements as described above and are not required to subcontract with a SLEB:
    • non-profit community based organizations (CBO) that are providing services on behalf of the County directly to County clients/residents;
    • non-profit churches or non-profit religious organizations (NPO);
    • public schools; and universities; and
    • government agencies.
  5. The maximum bid evaluation preference points available for being certified is 10% (5% local & 5% certified).

  6. Compliance with the SLEB program is required for goods, services and professional services contracts, including but not limited to architectural, landscape architectural, engineering, environmental, land surveying, and construction project management services.

Local Business Provision for Sealed Bid Procurements Only

Five percent (5%) preference points shall be granted to Alameda County products or Alameda County suppliers on all sealed bids except with respect to those contracts which state law requires be granted to the lowest responsible bidder.

An Alameda County supplier is a firm or dealer with fixed offices and having a street address within the County for at least six (6) months prior to the issue date of any RFP/Q being responded to; and which holds a valid business license issued by the County or a city within the County.

Alameda County products are those which are grown, mined, fabricated, manufactured, processed or produced within the County.

Locality must be maintained for the term of the contract. Evidence of locality shall be provided immediately upon request and at any time during the term of any contract that may be awarded to Contractor.

A small business will be considered for SLEB certification upon meeting the local business requirement.