Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced New York State's Eighth Annual Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Forum will be held October 3-4, 2018 at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany. The MWBE Forum has continued to grow since its inception in 2011, becoming the largest state MWBE conference in the country. Over 2,000 people convened at 2017 Forum, including small businesses, prime contractors, lenders, elected officials and members of the Governor's cabinet to discuss state contracting opportunities.
"New York's minority and women-owned businesses are the backbone of our economy and we are committed to continuing to increase equity and opportunity for these hard-working entrepreneurs," Governor Cuomo said. "This year's MWBE Forum will build on the powerful momentum that's been growing across the state and provide the resources and support these businesses need to thrive."
"As a woman who helped start a family women-owned small business, I know firsthand the barriers faced by aspiring entrepreneurs," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "We must do everything in our power to provide opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses. We've expanded New York's MWBE program to help break down barriers and help entrepreneurs take their business to the next level. New York is proud to host the largest MWBE conference in the country to encourage and promote our minority and women-owned businesses and expand contract opportunities across the state."
This year's theme - "Grow with New York State: Gather industry intelligence. Gain new relationships. Generate new business." - builds upon investments New York State continues to make in its MWBE community; shares information on statewide infrastructure and economic development initiatives; and, underscores new and continuing opportunities for MWBE firms to engage in New York State contracting.
The Forum will build upon the state's successes in increasing MWBE participation and examine critical areas of procurement in all represented industries - from transportation, construction and information technology, as well as financial and professional services. Participants will be provided the tools for successfully doing business with the state and receive information on the opportunities, strategies, technical assistance, and resources needed to access billions of dollars in state contracts and continue to develop and increase their competitiveness.
Empire State Development President, CEO, and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "New York's economy is strongest when it is diverse, accessible, and inclusive. The Eighth Annual MWBE Forum is an invaluable resource for entrepreneurs and small businesses to build crucial networks and ensure they have the tools and resources to participate successfully in the marketplace."
New York State's Top Projects
In June of this year, Governor Cuomo announced that New York State will continue its landmark infrastructure program by investing and additional $150 billion over the next five years. This historic investment in New York builds on the Governor's already thriving $100 billion infrastructure initiative. Beginning in FY 2020, these additional capital projects will rebuild transportation and mass transit systems, construct safe and secure affordable housing, drive economic and community development, build new and better schools, create new environmental and park facilities, and support our sustainable energy future. Each project presents significant, ongoing opportunities for MWBE participation. At the Forum, state leaders and industry experts will lead panel discussions on many of these projects, including:
LaGuardia and JFK Airport Redevelopment Program
- The Port Authority of New York/New Jersey has embarked on an ambitious Public-Private Partnership with LaGuardia Gateway Partners to replace the Central Terminal Building at LaGuardia Airport. There is also a $2 billion project to construct a new AirTran that will directly connect LaGuardia to the New York City Subway and Long Island Rail Road at Mets-Willets Point Station.
- The transformation at JFK is also in the process of beginning with the goal of transforming JFK into a unified, interconnected, world-class airport; improving road access to the airport; and expanding rail mass transit to meet projected passenger growth.
MTA Capital Plan
- The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board's 2015-19 Capital Program is the largest investment ever in the subways, buses, railroads, bridges, and tunnels that keeps New York moving; and there's more funding projected as the MTA embarks on its historic capital program through 2019 and beyond. MTA's Capital Program is in its third year and continues rolling out new contract opportunities for small businesses, especially for MWBEs in the area of new technology, communications systems, and railroad infrastructure to enhance the MTA and benefit customers throughout the region.
- The MTA's $1.2 Billion Long Island Rail Road Expansion Program which will optimize system connectivity, enhance the overall passenger experience, expand 16 Long Island Rail Road stations, develop a direct LIRR connection to MacArthur Airport and build a stop on the LIRR Ronkonkoma Branch at the center of Long Island's innovation corridor at Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Jacob K. Javits Center
- The $1.5 billion Jacob K. Javits Center expansion includes additional exhibition and meeting room space, the largest ballroom in the Northeast, an outdoor rooftop terrace and an on-site truck marshaling facility that will relocate 20,000 trucks off local streets each year. This expansion will enable the Javits Center to attract new events, improve its operational efficiency, create 6,000 full-time and part-time jobs and generate nearly $400 million in additional annual economic activity once the project is completed in 2021.
Moynihan Station Redevelopment
- This $1.6 billion redevelopment of the Moynihan Train Hall will transform the historic James A. Farley Post Office into a world-class transportation hub for the 21st century. The Farley Building redevelopment into the Moynihan Train Hall will create a new 250,000 square foot Train Hall for Long Island Railroad and Amtrak passengers and increase Penn Station's total concourse floor space by more than 50 percent. The Farley Building will also house 700,000 square feet of new commercial, retail and dining space within the mixed-use facility and create an iconic civic space for Manhattan's West Side—like Grand Central Terminal, a vibrant destination in its own right and a vital amenity for the neighborhood.
Belmont Park Redevelopment
- The Belmont Park Redevelopment plan proposes a $1 billion transformation of Belmont Park into an internationally recognized mixed-use destination for sports, entertainment, retail and hospitality. The project features an 18,000-seat arena for the New York Islanders, a new 435,000-square-foot retail and entertainment complex, a new hotel, and other community amenities.
This year's Forum will feature several new informational and networking opportunities designed to respond to, and support the needs of, the MWBE community. These unlimited and unique sessions and workshops include:
New Financing and Technical Support Center
Attendees will have an opportunity to stop by the NYS Small Business Financing Information Center and the Technical Assistance Hub throughout the conference. These centers will provide information on technical and financial support available to small businesses. MWBEs will learn of the state's financing programs including loans, bonding, and capital investments that can provide MWBEs with the tools necessary to win larger contracts, promote job creation, enter new markets, and strengthen the economy.
There will also be an "Access to Capital" Lunch and Learn session that will highlight the process, strategies, and roadblocks of obtaining loans. A panel of small business owners will discuss how they were able to successfully finance their respective companies.
New this year, MWBE attendees will be able to sign up for a one on one session with a Lender to discuss loan and financing opportunities to support their business and projects.
New MWBE Teaming Experience
One of the many new experiences offered at this year's Forum will include an informal teaming and strategic alliance meet-up. This event will encourage MWBEs who are seeking to build their capacity to meet with other likeminded companies to explore forming joint ventures to bid on larger projects. To access this session, attendees must register early and select the teaming experience as one of their options.
New Grow with NYS Workshops
Specially designed workshops will be offered to help businesses learn how to build their capacity to handle larger contracts. Sessions will include information on forming strategic alliances, how to generate effective RFP responses and information on design build projects which are expanding in NYS contracting opportunities.
One-on-One 'At the Table' Sessions
Each session will give MWBEs a chance to meet and discuss potential contract opportunities with decision makers and private sector corporations across a wide range of industries. New York State Agencies and Authorities One-on-One sessions are also available on a first-come-first-served basis for MWBEs that pre-register.
MWBE Journey to Success
Discussion on best practices, lessons learned, and strategic moves will be a part of this conversation that can help MWBEs learn first-hand about building successful relationships and profitable projects in the public sector.
NYS Business Builder Boot Camp
New York State offers free business resources designed to help MWBEs navigate the government procurement system. The Business Builder Boot Camp at the Forum is a one-stop experience to help MWBEs gain valuable information about certification, recertification, navigating the New York State Contract Reporter (NYSCR), Access to Capital, government procurement best practices, and more. Attendees can even schedule a one-on-one certification assistance session with one of the MWBE analysts.
All MWBEs and small businesses are encouraged to register and attend the Forum to learn more about the state's top projects and the billions of dollars of potential contracting opportunities associated with each initiative.
Come join other MWBE firms and learn how you can develop and grow your business with New York State. To register for the Forum, visit www.nysmwbeforum.org.