May 29, 2016

Mayor de Blasio, Department of Small Business Services Host 10th Annual Procurement Fair to Connect Minority and Women-Owned Businesses to Contracting Opportunities and Resources

NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Department of Small Business Services (SBS) recently hosted the 10th Annual Procurement Fair at the Bank of New York Mellon, to help connect New York City minority and women-owned businesses to public and private contracting opportunities and other resources. More than 700 certified Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) attended the fair with purchasers from more than 70 City and State agencies and public authorities, as well as several private-sector companies.
Video available at: http://youtu.be/VzjyB8Td7nM
“This procurement fair allows us to better connect with M/WBEs and offer them the chance to learn about the many contracting opportunities we offer. The fair is yet another useful tool we use to level the playing field for M/WBEs,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We are an inclusive City, and the way we do business should be as diverse as the people we serve.”
“Leveling the playing field for Minority and Women-Owned Businesses (M/WBEs) to compete for City contracts is a priority at SBS, and our annual Procurement Fair is a powerful way to connect City agency procurement needs with the diversity of local businesses,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services. “In the past two years, we’ve awarded $1.8 billion to City-certified M/WBEs, and with the many tools that we offer City firms to become certified, grow and become more competitive – from free workshops and financing support to capacity building – we are on track to meet Mayor de Blasio’s goal of awarding $16 billion to M/WBE firms over 10 years.”
“The success of New York City’s women and minority-owned businesses is a central focus of this administration. The 10th Annual Procurement Fair is a wonderful opportunity to connect M/WBEs to meaningful and valuable contracting opportunities. We are excited about this event, and we are working to ensure that all of our City agencies are using every tool at their disposal to increase partnerships with our M/WBE vendors,” said Michael Owh, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services.
"When M/WBEs work, so does the City. That's why this administration has committed to $16 billion in contract awards to MWBEs under OneNYC. We have already awarded close to $3 billion to New York City Certified M/WBEs, and today's Small Business Services' 10th Annual Procurement Fair is our chance to further tackle inequality by opening more doors for our City's diverse firms," said Maya Wiley, Counsel to the Mayor.
The Procurement Fair offered networking opportunities with purchasing staff as well as access to 11 Opportunity Rooms where participants learned about available or upcoming contracting opportunities. The Procurement Fair also provided an informational session on the NYC Disparity Study, a report that examined the City’s procurement process; subcontracting practices of prime contractors and vendors who do business with the City; anecdotal evidence collected from a broad cross section of minority-, women-, and non-minority-owned firms; and Minority and women-owned business participation in the private sector.
The Procurement Fair is part of Mayor de Blasio’s larger commitment to increase the pipeline of M/WBEs, improve performance and impact policy, the administration is taking aggressive steps to strengthen M/WBEs and ensure the City’s procurement reflects the diversity of NYC businesses by:
  • Increasing total City awards to M/WBEs to $16 billion over the next 10 years. The City has already awarded over $1.6 billion to M/WBEs during FY 2015, and is on track to reach the $16 billion goal.
  • Reaching a record 4,454 were certified M/WBEs, a 21 percent increase since the start of Mayor de Blasio’s administration.
  • Pursuing amendments to State laws to strengthen the City’s M/WBE program to give the City parity with State, which includes raising the threshold for discretionary spending from $20,000 to $200,000.
  • Conducting a new disparity study to explore potential changes to the City’s M/WBE program. A series of community meetings was held in each borough to engage business participation.
  • Working to increase the loan limits of the Contract Financing program for M/WBEs that need capital to successfully perform on City contracts.
  • Launching a new bond fund that will assist M/WBEs with securing bonding or increasing bond capacity.
  • Expanding the Fast Track certification process to allow New York State-certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) that are minority and women-owned to obtain City’s M/WBE certification.
  • Launching the new NYC Goods & Services Mentorship Program for M/WBEs to help them compete by providing education, training, technical assistance and mentoring. This new program complements the NYC Construction Mentorship and Bond Readiness programs that help build the capacity of M/WBEs. Applications are now being accepted for all three programs that will begin in fall 2016.
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 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.
“According to MWBEs, a common obstacle is the mere connection between prime contractors, government agencies, and MWBE sub-contractors,” said Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte, Chair of the Subcommittee on the Oversight of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises. “These types of match-making opportunities that the 10th Annual Procurement Fair provided are critical to the success of these businesses, and for the most part what they are looking for. The Opportunity Rooms where live contracting opportunities were provided will work toward results that will be mutually beneficial."
"As we all know small business is the back bone of America and in NewYork  city it can be said that small businesses/MWBE are the fiber and strength of the world greatest city. On Staten Island we are witnessing an economic boom especially in its NorthShore considering the construction of empire outlets and NewYork wheel just to name a few. As a small business owner and president of the NorthShore business alliance I applaud the 21 percent Increment in MWBEs since the mayor took office. My hopes is that we can work on shrinking paper work and bureaucracy in terms of pay outs to MWBE who win contract this is a common complaints by most," said Bobby Digi, Founder and Executive Director of IslandVoice Inc.

"I am thankful that the Mayor and SBS is caring about the small business owner. This Procurement Fair is just what small businesses need to thrive and have longevity," said Cynthia Simpson, Captain of Marcy Green Committee.
About the Department of Small Business Services
The Department of Small Business Services (SBS) makes it easier for businesses in New York City to start, operate and expand by providing direct assistance to business owners, fostering neighborhood development in commercial districts and linking employers to a skilled and qualified workforce. For more information on all of SBS’ services, go to www.nyc.gov/sbs.

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