Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that for the first time, utilization of minority and women owned businesses in state contracts reached a record 21.06 %. In all, $1.48 billion in contracts from a total of 97 public agencies and authorities were awarded to Minority- and Women Owned- Business Enterprises (MWBEs) in FY 2012-1013.
In 2011, Governor Cuomo established by executive order a statewide team to explore ways to eliminate barriers and expand the participation of Minority-and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) in state contracting. Two years later, a number of key initiatives pushed forth by the team, including an improved online reporting system, a streamlined certification process and increased outreach initiatives, have helped increase MWBE utilization beyond the 20 percent goal that the Governor set in his first State of the State address. (See fact sheet below).
Since day one, increasing the number of minority- and women-owned businesses across the state has been a priority of my administration, said Governor Cuomo. The success of thousands of minority- and women- owned firms seeking to compete and advance in the marketplace is critical to igniting economic growth and spurring prosperity in all of our communities statewide. I applaud the dedication of men and women from the public and private sectors who worked tirelessly as members of the MWBE Team to level the playing field for thousands of small businesses and open the door to greater economic activity and job growth. Achieving the goal of 20%, which is significant, is just the beginning. We remain committed to continuing MWBE growth in this State.
Governor Cuomos announcement came at the start of New York States Third Annual MWBE Forum at the Empire State Convention Center in Albany. The forum, which runs through October 4, provides emerging businesses with an opportunity to learn about the New York State procurement process, attend information sessions, and connect with decision makers from both the public and private sectors to grow their business and increase competitiveness. It also comes on the heels of news that the percentage of minority- and women-owned firms that would participate in the issuance of Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board bonds had increased to 35 percent.
The Governor's MWBE Team includes the following elected officials, business and academic leaders, and members of the Governor's cabinet and administration:
- William C. Thompson, Jr., Chair MWBE Team
- Mylan L. Denerstein, Counsel to the Governor
- Alphonso B. David, Deputy Secretary for Civil Rights
- Senator Martin Malav Dilan, District 18
- Senator Bill Perkins, District 30
- Senator Adriano Espaillat, District 31
- Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, District 36
- Senator Elizabeth Little, District 45
- Senator Patricia Ritchie, District 48
- Assembly member Earlene Hooper, District 18
- Assembly member N. Nick Perry, District 58
- Assembly member Robert Rodriguez, District 68
- Assembly member Keith Wright, District 70
- Assembly member Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes, District 141
- RoAnn M. Destito, Commissioner, Office of General Services
- Joan McDonald, Commissioner, Department of Transportation
- Robert L. Megna, Budget Director, Division of the Budget
- Peter M. Rivera, Commissioner, Department of Labor
- Darryl C. Towns, Commissioner and CEO, NYS Homes & Community Renewal
- Paul T. Williams, Jr., President and CEO, DASNY
- Nancy L. Zimpher, Chancellor of the State University of New York
- Walter Broadnax, Distinguished Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs, Maxwell School Syracuse University
- William Castle, Chief Diversity Officer, Xerox Corporation
- James E. Francis, Board Chair, Council of Urban Professionals (CUP)
- Michael J. Garner, Chief Diversity Officer, Metropolitan Transit Authority
- Sandra Wilkin, President Emeritus, Women Builders Council, Inc.
- Jacqueline Williams, Coordinator, MWBE Coalition
INITIATIVES THAT HAVE BEEN KEY TO MWBE SUCCESS IN NEW YORK STATE
Launched a State of the Art Web-based Contract System
The state launched a state-of-the-art web-based contract system in October 2012. The former system used by the state to track MWBE utilization was antiquated and had no capacity to track compliance or allow MWBE firms to apply for certification on-line. The new contract system is the largest active public sector MWBE system in the country and allows MWBE firms, prime contractors, and agencies to:
- Identify contract opportunities;
- Find prime contractors and subcontractors;
- Monitor contract performance; and
- Obtain certification on-line.
The system also allows the state, for the first time, to closely and effectively monitor how and whether state agencies are spending state dollars with minority- and women- owned businesses and utilizing their best efforts to achieve the Governor's goals.
Increased Pool of Certified MWBE Firms
New York State's ability to certify MWBE firms across local municipalities was subject to a slow and complex process that hindered business growth. To remove this barrier, the state improved the application process. A single application was created with the input of three agencies: Empire State Development (ESD), the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey and the Department of New York City Small Business Services.
By streamlining certification procedures, the Division of Minority and Womens Business Development increased the pool of certified MWBEs with 2,123 firms added since January 1, 2011 and eliminated an application backlog.
Created Network of Opportunities for MWBE Participation and Economic Growth
The state is facilitating MWBE economic growth by developing a consistent and comprehensive network of opportunities to exchange information, ideas and resources for business support. The Division of Minority and Women's Business Development provides information and resources to MWBEs. These resources include:
- Information on how to sell to New York State;
- Information on current New York State contracting opportunities;
- Tools for launching and expanding a business; and
- Information on business training, technical support, access to capital programs.
Since 2011, the Division has participated in nearly 500 workshops, lectures, fairs and other outreach initiatives specifically aimed at helping MWBE businesses succeed. Through this outreach network, the Division is building an institutionalized infrastructure for MWBEs to use as a proven resource for growing their businesses and identifying contract opportunities that match their respective core competencies and capacities. For example, the Division conducts Training Tuesday events a webinar series providing procurement training and business development resources for MWBE firms.
In 2012, the state held the largest statewide MWBE forum attracting over 1,700 attendees and showcasing $1 billion in state contract opportunities. The forum brought together MWBE firms, prime contractors, elected officials and members of the Governors cabinet to discuss state contracting opportunities. The state will continue to hold this preeminent event yearly as it provides firms with one-stop access to contract opportunities and access to the states key procurement stakeholders.
Established System to Ensure Accountability
Accountability and compliance among the executive agencies and authorities were paramount to the success of reaching the Governors MWBE goal.
State agencies and authorities were not meeting their obligation to submit Master Goal Plans, a document required by the law, in which agency and authority MWBE programs and MWBE utilization goals are outlined. After months of detailed engagement and monitoring, the State secured in December 2011 Master Goal Plans from 100 percent of state agencies and authorities. Agency commissioners and authority heads are now actively involved in the management of their MWBE programs and the Executive Chamber team provided the strategies to ensure accountability.
Created New York State Surety Bond Assistance Program
In 2012, the Governor announced the creation of the States first surety bond assistance program. The program was established based on the recommendation made in the 2010 Disparity Study. The study mentioned that obtaining credit is a barrier to MWBE growth in the construction industry. The program provides training and financial support to help small and minority- and women- owned businesses secure bonding for up to 30 percent of state contracts. Participating businesses have secured $40 million in surety bonding capacity to date.