The city has increased its bottom line for award contracts to minority and women-owned businesses (M/WBEs) from $16 to $20 billion.
“Communities of color and women are the future economic engine of New York City. That’s why Mayor de Blasio is investing in them more than the city ever has before,” said Deputy Mayor Phil Thompson during last week’s the 12th Annual M/WBE Procurement Fair.
“Since 2015, the City has awarded approximately $7.8 billion to minority and women-owned business, nearly $2 billion dollars more than initial projections. Now, we’re doubling down, awarding $20 billion to minority and women businesses by 2025 and making it easier to access loans for expansion. When we invest in communities of color, our city prospers.”
The 1 M/WBE Procurement Fair was attended by more than 600 City-certified minority- and women-owned businesses and nearly 90 City and State agencies, public authorities, and private-sector companies – making this a record breaking year for both MWBE and agency attendees.
“The Annual M/WBE Procurement Fair helps minority and women entrepreneurs access City resources and build long-lasting networks that will grow these businesses for years to come,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“These events are key to creating a fairer city where every business owner – regardless of race, gender, or ethnicity – has the chance to participate and succeed in our economy.”
The Annual M/WBE Procurement Fair helps put in practice the results of the Mayor’s commitment to using the City’s purchasing power to support M/WBEs.
In May, the City increased the loan cap on the City’s Contract Financing Loan Fund, a program that allows M/WBEs and small businesses to access affordable loans.
Currently, M/WBEs and small businesses have access to loans totaling $500,000. Beginning this summer, they will be able to access loans totaling up to $1 million per year at a low three-percent interest rate.
“The procurement fair, with its unprecedented turnout, represents the City’s focus on improving access to real opportunities for its M/WBE’s. From the opening discussion with lenders on how M/WBEs and small businesses can access low-interest loans funds totaling $70 million, to the many workshops designed for M/WBEs to engage with agencies, the event was the most successful yet,” said Jonnel Doris, Senior Advisor and Director of the Mayor’s Office of M/WBEs.
“The City’s annual Procurement Fair directly connects City agency procurement needs with the diversity of local businesses, forging strong connections and opportunities to grow these businesses and put them in a stronger position,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services.
The Procurement Fair offered networking opportunities with purchasing staff as well as access to an Opportunity Room where participants learned about available or upcoming contracting opportunities. The Procurement Fair also featured a panel on accessing capital.
The City is continuing to certify available firms, to meet the Mayor’s goal of City-certifying 9,000 M/WBEs by end of FY 2019. Currently, the City has nearly 6,000 certified M/WBEs in its program, a roughly 60-percent increase since the beginning of the Administration.
“As chair of the Committee on Women, it is clear to me that supporting our M/WBE and small city contractors are critical to the economic empowerment of women and minorities,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal (Manhattan, District 6).
Free services are available to help strengthen certified M/WBEs, including access to technical assistance, bonding, financing, teaming and mentorship.
M/WBEs are also eligible to participate in the City’s Corporate Alliance Program, which trains and connects City-certified firms with private sector contracting opportunities, as well as Strategic Steps for Growth, a nine-month business management course for M/WBEs offered by the City in partnership with New York University.
Firms interested in starting the M/WBE certification process or participating in M/WBE programming can learn more by calling 311, visiting nyc.gov/getcertified or meeting with a client manager at one of the City’s seven NYC Business Solutions Centers located in all five boroughs.