October 6, 2016
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Statewide MWBE Utilization Rate Increases to 25 Percent

Governor Cuomo Announces Statewide MWBE Utilization Rate Increases to 25 Percent

First-Ever Carey Gabay Excellence and Innovation Awards Presented

Launch of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises Mentor-Protégé Program

Actions Build on Governor’s Record of Achieving Equal Opportunity in State Contracting

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the utilization rate for Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises participating in State contracts increased to 25 percent for the 2015-16 Fiscal Year, with MWBEs securing approximately $2 billion in State contracts. The Governor also announced the first annual Carey Gabay Excellence and Innovation Awards for Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises, which recognizes a select number of MWBEs for their entrepreneurial spirit and achievement in State contracting. In addition, the Governor launched a statewide Mentor-Protégé Program to facilitate long-term relationships between MWBEs and prime contractors.

“New York leads the nation in growing opportunities for minority and women owned businesses, and this year’s Forum builds on this success,” Governor Cuomo said. “Carey Gabay represented the very best among us, and by naming these awards in his honor, we continue the advances and legacy Carey worked tirelessly to secure and celebrate the vast achievements of our strong and diverse small business community.”

“As I travel across the State, I convene small women- and minority-owned businesses to help identify their barriers to success,” Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. “I’m very proud that here in the State of New York, we have played a major role in helping businesses by setting a high bar and achieving $2 billion in state contract dollars annually.”

This year, a record-breaking 2,200 businesses, entrepreneurs, and government officials registered for the Forum – New York’s largest annual business event. The Forum’s theme, “Transformation 2016,” is designed to inform MWBEs of the strategies and resources necessary to win State contracts. This year's Forum also marks the unveiling of a first-of-its-kind, statewide Mentor-Protégé program and continues the tradition of providing opportunities for MWBEs to meet state agency and authority decision makers as they pursue billions of dollars in State contracts.

MWBE Utilization Rate

Key to the success of the MWBE program is increasing the utilization of MWBE firms in state contracting. Governor Cuomo has set the nation's highest goal for MWBE contracts at 30 percent. Under the Governor's leadership, the rate has increased nearly every year since 2011. For the most recent fiscal year, the 2015-2016 Fiscal Year, the rate of MWBEs participating in State contracts increased to 25 percent, totaling approximately $2 billion – nearly 50 percent of MWBE utilization resulted from construction projects and 30 percent from professional services.

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. Beginning this year, the awards will be known as the “Carey Gabay Excellence and Innovation Awards for Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises.” Carey Gabay was tragically killed as a victim of gun violence in September 2015 at the age of 43. 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.

2016 Awardees:

Award For Outstanding Service and Advocacy in Support of the New York State MWBE Program

  • William M. Clay

Award for Entrepreneurial Spirit and Achievement as a New York State-Certified MWBE

  • E. Smith Contractors, LLC
  • EJ Construction Group, Inc.
  • Electrical Construction Consulting, Inc.
  • Gilbert International Group
  • Knowledge Builders, Inc.
  • Metal Sales Company, Inc.
  • ProjectSpan

Mentor-Protégé Program

At this year's forum, the State formally launched a first-of-its-kind, statewide Mentor-Protégé program. Administered by Empire State Development’s Division of Minority and Women Business Development, the program will facilitate long-term relationships between MWBEs and prime contractors. Through the program, MWBE protégés will receive valuable technical training and experience that will position them to take on ever-expanding roles in areas of State contracting where MWBEs are historically underrepresented. This effort builds upon the Division’s “Supply & Demand” initiative, which aims to identify meaningful opportunities for MWBEs in areas of government contracting where they have low rates of participation.

Supply and Demand

The Supply and Demand initiative helped drive this year’s increase, with targeted outreach to notify MWBEs about meaningful opportunities in industries that have low utilization rates. Through this initiative, the State has identified millions of dollars in contracting opportunities in areas such as advertising and marketing, financing services, legal services, information technology services, general commodities, and medical supplies.

Capital and Technical Support Programs

During the MWBE Forum’s opening session, Alphonso B. David, Counsel to the Governor, highlighted state programs that encourage MWBEs to become certified and provide them with technical and financial support. These programs provide MWBEs with the tools necessary to win larger contracts, promote job creation, enter new markets and strengthen our economy.

Bridge to Success Loan Program:In March 2014, Governor Cuomo launched the “Bridge to Success” loan program to invest at least $20 million to expand access to short term bridge loans for New York State Certified MWBEs. The goal of the state’s investment was to provide the qualified MWBEs the short-term support they needed to access up to $100 million in state contracts. Two-and-a-half years later, we have already exceeded that goal, with 83 loans totaling just over $13 million supporting $100,611,000 in contracts for New York State MWBEs.

MWBE Investment Fund:In May 2015, Governor Cuomo launched the launched a $2 million MWBE Investment Fund to support innovation, job creation, and high growth entrepreneurship throughout the State. The fund will help make permanent the gains New York has made in supporting MWBEs and will continue to encourage diversity in the private sector.

To date, the MWBE Fund has invested in two companies, both based in Rochester.

In July 2016, the Fund invested $250,000 in Viggi Kids, matched by $410,000 in private capital. Viggi Kids is a new line of children’s products that inspire creative play and active exploration while learning. Viggi Kids’ products are made to help children learn and explore the world, by promoting healthy behaviors and celebrating the natural quirks that make each person an individual.

In February 2016, the Fund invested $400,000 in Splyce, Inc., matched by $515,000 in private capital. Splyce is a growing competitive online gaming platform that allows fans to watch, cheer, engage, and learn about professional e-sports teams.

New York State Surety Bond Assistance Program: In February 2012, Governor Cuomo launched the New York State Surety Bond Assistance Program, which provides technical and financial assistance to help MWBEs and small businesses secure surety bonding. Since the program launched, more than 445 MWBEs have graduated from bond readiness training and received more than $61 million in surety bonding authority as a result of New York State training, credit facilitation, and surety bond collateral support.

To learn more about becoming a State-certified MWBE, visit http://www.ny.gov/MWBECertification or call (212) 803-2414.


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