Utilization Rate is Highest in the Nation, Approaching Goal of 30 Percent
Eighth Annual MWBE Forum Promotes Networking and State Contracting Opportunities
Third Annual Carey Gabay Excellence and Innovation Awards Honor Outstanding MWBE Businesses
Governor Cuomo announced that the utilization rate for Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises participating in State contracts increased to 28.62 percent for the 2017-18 Fiscal Year - the highest in the nation - with MWBEs winning more than $2.5 billion in State contracts. The announcement was made in conjunction with New York State's eighth annual MWBE Forum at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany.
"New York is building a stronger tomorrow by ensuring that our minority-and women-owned businesses have the opportunity to grow and thrive," Governor Cuomo said. "Our nation-leading utilization rate is a testament to our unparalleled network of MWBEs that continues to grow in size and scope, reflecting the State's rich diversity."
"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 are leading the nation in our MWBE utilization, increasing the rate to nearly 29 percent. We must do everything in our power to provide opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses, and we're continuing to expand the state's program to help break down barriers and help entrepreneurs take their business to the next level."
MWBE Utilization Rate
Governor Cuomo has set the nation's highest goal for the utilization of MWBEs in New York State contracts at 30 percent. The utilization rate, which was less than 10 percent when the Governor first took office in 2011, has increased nearly every year and is now nearly 29 percent. New York is leading the economic empowerment of MWBEs at every level and is well on its way to meeting the 30 percent goal.
The key to the success of the New York State's MWBE program is the development of a strong and sustainable effort that monitors and promotes engagement of MWBE businesses in every arena of State contracting. New York State's utilization rate reflects the highest percentage of State contracts awarded to MWBEs in the nation, but also the largest dollar value of contracts awarded. More than $14 billion in State contracts have been awarded to MWBEs since 2011.
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "New York State's diversity is its strength and we are committed to providing inclusive economic development opportunities and resources to small business entrepreneurs and to supporting the growth among of MWBEs."
New York State Eighth Annual MWBE Forum
More than 2,200 businesses, entrepreneurs, and government officials participated in New York's largest annual convening of statewide MWBE public and private professionals in the nation. This year's theme - "Grow with New York State: Gather industry intelligence. Gain new relationships. Generate new business." - built upon investments New York State continues to make in its MWBE community; shared information on statewide infrastructure and economic development initiatives; and underscored new and continuing opportunities for MWBE firms to engage in New York State contracting. The Forum showcased the State's success in increasing MWBE participation and examined critical areas of procurement in all represented industries including transportation, construction, information technology, and financial and professional services. Participants received tools for successfully contracting with the state, and information on the opportunities, strategies, technical assistance and resources needed to access billions of dollars in state contracts.
Access to Capital Initiatives and Support
At this year's Forum, New York State highlighted programs that provide financing for MWBEs and offered an opportunity for MWBE firms seeking financing to directly meet with lenders offering financial products sponsored by the State and specifically designed for the MWBE community. These programs provide MWBEs with the capital necessary to win larger contracts, promote job creation, enter new markets, and strengthen our economy.
Bridge to Success Loan Program: Launched in March 2014, the "Bridge to Success" loan program invested at least $20 million to expand access to short term bridge loans for New York State Certified MWBEs, providing the qualified businesses with the short-term support they needed to access up to $100 million in State contracts. Four years later, the State has already exceeded that goal, with 153 loans totaling just over $24 million supporting more than $201 million in contracts for New York State MWBEs.
New York State Surety Bond Assistance Program: The New York State Surety Bond Assistance Program was established in February 2012 and provides technical and financial assistance to help MWBEs and small businesses secure surety bonding. Since the program launched, hundreds of MWBEs and small businesses have graduated from bond readiness training, credit facilitation, and surety bond collateral support, representing $37.85 million in MWBE bonding support.
Growing with New York State: Ensuring the Future of the MWBE Program
During the MWBE Forum's opening session, Alphonso B. David, Counsel to the Governor, outlined the progress the State has made in the expansion of the MWBE program and the State's vision for the program's future. With only $1 billion awarded in State contracting to MWBEs in 2012, the program has made great strides to promote greater access for MWBE State contracting opportunities, financing and technical assistance programs; resulting in the current $2.5 billion in State contracts that was awarded this past year.
New contract language is being developed that will be inclusive of MWBEs in the growth of design-build projects. These many initiatives will allow for early MWBE utilization, ensuring the inclusion of certified firms in the financing, equity, and design phases of major construction projects throughout New York State.
Going forward, proposed legislative enhancements to the program include: a new workforce diversity program; greater flexibility on personal net worth requirements; increases in discretionary spending; and applying MWBE goals to local municipalities that receive State funding.
The Carey Gabay Excellence and Innovation Awards
The "Carey Gabay Excellence and Innovation Awards for Minority-and Women-Owned Business Enterprises" recognize select MWBEs for their entrepreneurial spirit and achievement in New York State contracting. This award is named in honor of Carey Gabay, who served as an Assistant Counsel to Governor Cuomo and as First Deputy Counsel for Empire State Development before he was tragically killed as a victim of gun violence in September 2015. During his tenure with New York State, Carey worked tirelessly to ensure that the Governor's MWBE program was a success and his work helped lay the foundation for the program as it stands today. This is the third year of honoring MWBEs that have built successful businesses due to their commitment to innovation and strengthening their communities; two principles that Carey Gabay lived by during his service to New York State.
The 2018 Awardees are:
- Genesys Consulting Services, Inc. (Albany);
- Greg Beeche Logistics, LLC (Waterford, Saratoga County); and,
- US Ceiling Corp. (Webster, Monroe County)
To learn more about becoming a State-certified MWBE, visit http://www.ny.gov/MWBECertification or call (212) 803-2414.
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