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PR- 210-12
June 12, 2012


The following are Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s remarks as prepared for delivery Tuesday June 12 at 8:00 AM at NYU’s Kimmel Center:

“Good morning, everyone. I want to thank City and State for hosting such an important forum. I was going to start by reading the City and State birthday announcements. But I know everyone here has already seen them on the ‘First Read.’

“And thank you, Reverend DeGraff, for that kind introduction. Expanding economic opportunity is central to the mission of One Hundred Black Men, and Reverend DeGraff has been a great partner with our Administration. Together, we’re working to ensure that when it comes to doing work for the City of New York – whether it’s building a school, providing social services, or meeting dozens of other needs that New Yorkers have – The opportunity to get that work is available to the largest, most diverse group of firms possible.

“I also want to thank the co-chair of today’s event, Sandra Wilkin, President Emeritus of the Women Builders Council. She’s also president of Bradford Construction, a certified, women-owned firm that works on 75 to 100 public schools in an average year for our School Construction Authority. She certainly understands firsthand the challenges of running a company – and of working on public projects.

“The topic of today’s forum is not new – creating opportunities for small, and minority- and women-owned businesses in the public and private sector. But New York City is bringing renewed energy and focus to this area. Our Administration believes that economic growth should benefit all communities. That’s what our Five Borough economic development strategy is all about. And the foundation of that strategy is investing in the City’s future, in every neighborhood.

“Through good times and bad, we’ve continued to invest in the things that attract families and businesses to New York – infrastructure, housing, education and sustainability. And that strategy has paid big dividends. In fact, New York has gained back more than 190 percent of private sector jobs lost during the recession, while the nation as a whole has gained back only about 40 percent.

“But there are still far too many New Yorkers out of work – and far too many people who are struggling. So we can’t afford to back away from our strategy – and we aren’t.

“Last month, we put forward a budget that includes nearly $40 billion in capital investments over the next five years. That includes more than $15 billion in infrastructure investments and nearly $11 billion of investments in education. We’re determined to ensure every community in New York has the opportunity to take part in that work, as well as other opportunities to do business with the city.

“This commitment isn’t new. Over the past six years, we’ve made significant strides in removing barriers to City contracting opportunities for minority- and women-owned firms. Since December 2005, when we passed Local Law 129 expanding contracting opportunities for businesses owned by minorities and women, the number of MWBE firms that are certified to do business with the City has grown from 700 to more than 3,400 today. And those firms have received more than $2.7 billion in City contracts. In 2011 alone, nearly $563 million in City contracts were awarded to firms owned by minorities or women.

“That includes firms like Recon Construction Corporation, which is owned by Gloria Kemper. Recon has worked with the City’s Departments of Environmental Protection, Sanitation and Parks on a number of subcontracts valued at over $30 million.

“Some firms have won small contracts, like American Fire Control – a fire extinguisher maintenance company that won a $25,000 contract with the NYPD one week after attending the third annual Citywide Procurement Fair.

“And some firms have won large contracts, like Padilla Construction, which recently won a $13 million contract with the Parks Department. Padilla has completed a number of projects for the City at various agencies and they’ve also hired MWBE subcontractors on many of them.

“This is real progress that benefits our entire city. Because as more businesses are able to open, operate, and expand, the stronger New York City’s economy becomes, and the better prices taxpayers get for public works and services.

“That’s why we’re so determined to continue to support our city’s MWBE firms. That includes taking a fresh look at Local Law 129 and the ways it can be strengthened. 

“But support is more than making opportunities available and setting goals. Small businesses are the backbone of the city’s economy and we want them to succeed. And that means addressing some of the chronic problems that cause small businesses – including minority- and women-owned businesses – to fail.

“Small businesses often need cash to get jobs started, and many have trouble getting the bonding they need to win a bid. Other firms never apply for City work in the first place – because they are concerned about the requirements, or what they think the requirements are.

“So we’ve launched a bold new set of initiatives to help address these challenges. It’s called ‘Compete to Win,’ and it’s one of the centerpieces of our Administration’s effort to continue moving our city’s economy forward.

“It was developed with the input of leaders from the MWBE community. Leaders like Sandra Wilkin, Timothy Marshall of the Jamaica Business Resource Center, and Rick Miranda of the Brooklyn Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Compete to Win includes five initiatives; and I’ll very briefly touch on each.

“First, through a partnership with the New York Business Development Corporation and Bock Capital, we’re offering construction loans of up to $150,000 to help firms get jobs started. No taxpayer dollars will be used in these loans – but there will be a big upside for the public by helping companies grow and employ more New Yorkers.

“Second, we recognize that many MWBE firms often pay a higher cost for bonds, which affects their ability to remain competitive and take advantage of contracting opportunities. So we have launched a Bonding Readiness Program, which will be a renewed effort to help MWBE firms obtain the insurance needed to bid on large City construction projects.

“Third, we’re providing Technical Assistance to help MWBE firms and small businesses develop competitive bids and proposals.

“Fourth, we are expanding the construction mentorship program that has already been successful at the School Construction Authority to other projects – at the City departments of Housing Preservation and Development, Parks and Environmental Protection. It will give MWBE vendors, or vendors who partner with MWBE firms, exclusive access to contracting opportunities, as well as access to business management courses and hands-on training. To support and grow this mentoring effort, we’re forming a Construction Mentorship Panel – that Jacques and Sandra, among others, will be involved with – to ensure that contractors who enter the program not only succeed, but continue to grow and get public and private work.

“Finally, we’ve created a program with American Express OPEN called ‘NYC Teaming’ that will help MWBE firms both build partnerships necessary to submit joint bids and partner with larger, more experienced firms. The best way to get experience is to get to work, and teaming is a great way to do that.

“We’re also working with corporate partners like Goldman Sachs and BNY Mellon to better equip MWBE firms to develop the relationships and skills that will allow them to win private sector contracts.

“In support of Compete to Win, we’ve also hosted job and informational fairs in all five boroughs, so that entrepreneurs and other business leaders know about upcoming opportunities. Compete to Win is a multi-agency effort being led by Deputy Mayors Cas Holloway and Bob Steel, and Commissioner of Small Business Services Rob Walsh. And Senior Policy Advisor Greg Mayers on Deputy Mayor Holloway’s team is City Hall’s chief liaison with stakeholders who represent MWBE firms and programs.

“All this work is in line with our Administration’s commitment to help every New York business overcome the obstacles they face, whether they’re starting up or trying to expand. That’s why we’ve created a joint certification form with the State – because if a business is certified with us, it should be certified with the State, as well.

“The progress we’ve made in New York is the product of a strong partnership with elected, civic, and corporate leaders. And we’re going to continue working together to ensure that business opportunities are available to everyone. New York is a very competitive city. You have to really work hard here to succeed. But if you’re prepared to work hard, we’re prepared to help you.

“Thank you and have a great forum.”


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