September 29, 2017
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Seventh Annual Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise MWBE Forum

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces Seventh Annual...

Meet One-on-One With Fortune 500 Companies and New York State Agency Procurement Officials

Panel Discussions On MWBE Opportunities in New York State's Top Projects

New Access to Capital Initiatives and Support

Carey Gabay Excellence and Innovation Awards to Honor Outstanding Businesses


Early Registration Available Through October 2


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced New York State's Seventh Annual MWBE Forum, to be held October 4 and 5, 2017 at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany. In its seventh year, the Forum encourages business owners, community leaders, and other interested parties to register for New York State's largest annual business event for minority-and women-owned business enterprises. This year's program, "Transformation 2017: ENGAGE, EMPOWER, ELEVATE" builds upon the vast investments New York State is continuously making in its infrastructure and economic development initiatives.  Attendees will learn about the State's efforts to support and inform MWBEs of the opportunities, strategies, and resources needed to access billions of dollars in State contracts.

"New York is leading the nation in expanding opportunities for women and minority owned businesses, which are an increasingly critical part of our economy," Governor Cuomo said. "MWBEs are critical to creating a strong and diverse workforce, and this forum helps build on that momentum, while continuing to overcome barriers and helping to create a stronger New York."

The Forum will introduce programs, workshops and panels to connect business owners with state contracting opportunities and learn about capacity-building. The Forum also features an Expo where small business owners and entrepreneurs can meet public and private sector decision makers from a variety of industries.

"Empire State Development is proud of our efforts to support and build capacity for New York's MWBEs" said ESD President, CEO, and Commissioner Howard Zemsky. "We know our economy is strongest when it is inclusive and diverse, and our robust MWBE program works to ensure entrepreneurs and small businesses have the tools and resources they need to succeed."

In 2014, Governor Cuomo set the nation's highest goal for MWBE procurement at 30 percent.  For fiscal year 2015-2016, MWBEs secured $1.9 billion in State contracts and under the Governor's leadership, more than 5,500 MWBEs have been certified since 2011 - with a 40 percent increase in applications processed.  Since Governor Cuomo took office in 2011, percentage of MWBE Utilization has increased by over 14 percent, resulting in a 71 percent increase in dollars paid to MWBEs. During his 2016 State of the State address, Governor Cuomo pledged to increase MWBE certification by an additional 2,000 businesses - the State is on track to meet that goal by 2018.

Key elements to the upcoming MWBE Forum include:

New York State's Top Projects

The 2018 Budget continues to deliver on the Governor's historic commitment to revitalize New York State's infrastructure, and in partnership with public authorities, and local and federal governments, the state is investing $100 billion in transformative projects across New York. These projects present significant, ongoing opportunities for MWBE participation. At the Forum, state leaders and industry experts will lead panel discussions, provide updates and highlight opportunities on many of these projects, including:

LaGuardia Airport Redevelopment Program

Managed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, LaGuardia Airport is undergoing an extensive, multiyear capital redevelopment resulting in billions of dollars in contracting opportunities for MWBEs. Upon completion, the airport will be transformed into a single, structurally unified terminal with expanded transportation access, significantly increased taxiway space, and best-in-class passenger amenities. To date, MWBEs have won over $390 million in contracts for work on the LaGuardia Redevelopment with many opportunities still available.

MTA Capital Plan

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority 2015-19 Capital Program is the largest investment ever in the subways, buses, railroads, bridges and tunnels that keep New York moving. The largest capital program in the MTA's history, the $32.5 billion MTA Capital Plan is in its second year and rolling out new contract opportunities for small businesses, especially for MWBEs. The Program also proposes investing in new technology, communications systems and railroad infrastructure to enhance the MTA and benefit customers throughout the region. Led by MTA's six Operating Agencies, the Department of Diversity and Civil Rights and the MTA Business Service Center, the session will explore new business opportunities with the MTA. Learn more about new contract opportunities and special mentor programs to build your transportation portfolio.

Jacob K. Javits Center

The $1.5 billion Jacob K. Javits Center expansion will include a four-level, on-site truck marshaling facility, including 27 new loading docks; new prime exhibit space, to be combined with the existing exhibit space, to create an approximately 500,000-square-foot exhibition hall; new state-of-the-art meeting room and ballroom space; a roof terrace and pavilion accommodating 1,500 people for outdoor events; new kitchen and food service areas; and back-of-house and administrative space. LendLease Turner was selected in 2017 as the design-build team that will coordinate and construct the project on Manhattan's West Side. 

Empire Station Complex/Moynihan Train Hall

The Moynihan Train Hall is part of the transformational Pennsylvania Station-Farley Complex announced by Governor Cuomo in January 2016 to dramatically modernize, upgrade and redesign Penn Station into a world-class transportation hub for the 21st century. The $1.6 billion redevelopment of the historic James A. Farley Post Office into the Moynihan Train Hall will create a new 255,000 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.

$1.7 Billion Upstate Revitalization Program

In January of 2015, Governor Cuomo along with other community and business leaders announced the URI program and the partnership between the Regional Economic Development Councils. The New York Upstate Revitalization Initiative is part of an overall program aimed at systematically revitalizing the economy of Upstate New York. The URI is an opportunity for the communities of upstate New York to address the economic challenges of their regions and work together in bringing jobs back upstate.

New NY Broadband Program

The New NY Broadband Program provides grant funding to internet service providers to make broadband internet available to homes and businesses across the state. The Broadband Program Office recently announced approximately $344 million in public/private investment to connect areas throughout the state. These projects will create a variety of opportunities for MWBEs to provide services and supply technology products in support of the expansion of broadband infrastructure. In order to maximize MWBE participation, the state is working to identify MWBEs that are able to provide goods and services to support the broadband projects and will refer the MWBEs it identifies to participating internet service providers.

The Forum will provide important information about additional, ongoing opportunities for MWBE participation in these projects and how to effectively access these contracts.

Access to Capital Initiatives and Support

A new component this year's Forum will be the Access to Capital Information Center providing information on technical and financial support. MWBEs will learn more about the State's financing programs- such as loans, bonding and capital investment - that provide MWBEs with the tools necessary to win larger contracts, promote job creation, enter new markets and strengthen the economy.   These programs include the Bridge to Success Loan Program, NY Surety Bond Assistance Program, Small Business Revolving Loan Fund, and the Linked Deposit Program.

The Forum will also offer two workshops on Access to Capital.  The Here's the Money! Workshop will educate MWBEs on available state financing programs, and the Access to Capital Town Hall invites MWBEs to join a conversation about growing a business. A special roundtable facilitated by Empire State Development leadership will answer more questions on New York State's financing programs.

The Carey Gabay Excellence and Innovation Awards

Since the 2013 MWBE Forum, the State has recognized a select number of MWBEs for their entrepreneurial spirit and achievement in New York State contracting. Last year, the "Carey Gabay Excellence and Innovation Awards for Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises" was established with awards issued to eight accomplished business in honor of Carey Gabay. These businesses are acknowledged for Outstanding Service and Advocacy in Support of the New York State MWBE Program and for Entrepreneurial Spirit and Achievement as a New York State-Certified MWBE 

Carey Gabay was tragically killed as a victim of gun violence in September 2015. Before his death, Carey served as an Assistant Counsel to Governor Cuomo and as First Deputy Counsel for Empire State Development. During his tenure with New York State, Carey worked tirelessly to ensure that the Governor's MWBE program was a success.

One-on-One 'At the Table' Sessions

Last year's Forum included the  unique opportunity for MWBEs to meet New York State private sector corporations in a wide range of industries and New York State agencies and authorities in one-on-one sessions. 'At the table' sessions were held with both MWBEs and Prime contractors expressing new or renewed partnerships in the pursuit of state contracts. As a result of that success, the 2017 Forum will again provide the opportunity for MWBEs to introduce their company and learn more about potential contract opportunities in one-on-one, 10-minute sessions with key State agencies, authorities, and Prime contractors. One-on-One sessions will only available on a first-come-first-served basis for MWBEs that pre-register.

Two New MWBE Programs to Expand Capacity-Building Opportunities 

First announced during the Governor's 2017 State of the State address, the MWBE Business Growth Accelerator and Certification Assistance programs will be formally launched during the 2017 MWBE Forum.  Both programs provide technical assistance to MWBEs to increase capacity and ensure MWBE participation in State contracting. The BGA will focus on providing intensive technical assistance and business development training for NYS MWBEs for two years. The CAP will allow firms to work with an expert to identify any deficiencies in their MWBE certification application that may affect the timeliness and ultimate certification decision by DMWBD. The new initiatives will support the growth and momentum of MWBEs across the state through direct program investments.

MWBE Journey to Success       

Hear MWBE prime contractor and State Agency or Authority teams share their "Journey to Success" during a session designed to share New York State's MWBE business success stories in the public sector. Discussions 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.

New York State Disparity Study

The New York State 2016 MWBE Disparity Study has been completed and was released in June of 2017.  The Forum will provide an opportunity to hear about key findings and program recommendations which will guide the MWBE program in the years ahead.

NYS Business Builder Boot Camp

NYS has free business resources designed to help MWBEs navigate the government procurement system.  The Boot Camp is a one stop site experience to help MWBEs gain valuable information about certification, recertification, navigating the New York State Contract Reporter (NYSCR), upcoming state contracting opportunities, workers compensation laws, government procurement best practices and more.

To register for the Forum, visit Early registration is available through October 2.

About the MWBE Forum:
The MWBE Forum is the premiere event for MWBEs, small businesses, prime contractors, elected officials, and members of the Governor's cabinet to discuss State contracting opportunities. Over 2,000 people attended the 2016 Forum, which showcased billions in State contracting opportunities. The goal of the Forum is to make the process of doing business with the State easier, and to serve as a one-stop shop that features contract and business expansion opportunities for MWBEs and small businesses. 

Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office