Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today released an end of the year progress report on New York States commitment to connecting minority and women-owned businesses (MWBEs) showing the state had surpassed its goal of providing 20 percent of state contracts MWBEs.
"This year, New York State is proud to have not only met but exceeded our goal to increase participation by minority and women-owned enterprises in state contracting by 20 percent," Governor Cuomo said. "The diversity in this state is one of our greatest assets, and we remain committed to growing opportunities and providing support for businesses in all communities. When these businesses prosper, they create jobs and generate economic activity, benefiting the state as a whole."
The Governor announced in October that the utilization of MWBEs in state contracts had reached a record 21.06 %. In all, $1,488 billion in contracts from a total of 97 public agencies and authorities were awarded to MWBEs in FY 2012-1013. While overall government spending is down from 2011, the amount earned by MWBEs is up from 1.1 billion in 2010-11 and from 486 million in 2006-7.
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.
2013 Achievements & Beyond
October's announcement was the highlight of a year that has seen a number of achievements in the effort to engage a more diverse group of firms that do business with the state
In September, transportation officials reported that the percentage of MWBE firms that would participate in the issuance of Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board bonds had increased to 35 percent.
October saw thousands of New Yorkers for the third year in a row participate in the state's annual MWBE, which 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. This year's forum featured a keynote address by entrepreneur R. Donahue Peebles, the owner of The Peebles Corporation, the country's largest African American real estate development company, as well as a Specialty EXPO Track that provided information about new technologies and product innovations in growing markets such as infrastructure, high-speed rail, public-private partnerships and more. New networking opportunities also allowed businesses to meet New York States leading private and public decision makers.
In November, Governor Cuomo announced that the creation of the Bridge to Success loan program which would provide qualified MWBEs with the short-term resources they need to participate in the up to $1 billion in contracting opportunities with New York State. The state also released the Opportunities Start Here! Resource Guide, which provides valuable information for businesses, including compiled snapshots of more than 100 government agencies and authorities, staff contact information, and instructions on how businesses can get certified in New York State.
"Achieving the goal of 20%, which is significant, is just the beginning," added Cuomo. We remain committed to leveling the playing field for thousands of small businesses and opening the door to greater economic activity and job growth. 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."
In 2011, Governor Cuomo established by executive order a statewide team to explore ways to eliminate barriers and expand the participation MWBEs in state contracting. The measure was a swift response to a 2010 disparity study that concluded that state MWBEs were "suffered business-related discrimination in larger numbers and with statistically significantly greater frequency than non MWBEs."