The New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) and Columbia
University Facilities today launched a mentorship program designed to help
minority and women-owned businesses build their capacities and access
contracting opportunities. The one-year pilot program will provide twenty-two
construction businesses certified with the City as minority or woman-owned with
a free series of six courses to learn about managing the full project
life-cycle, exclusive opportunities to bid among themselves for designated
contracts with the University, and guidance in bidding on projects and meeting
the requirements of awarded contracts.
"This innovative program marks the first time that the City has partnered
with a private university to give minority and women-owned businesses a complete
program of education, assistance, and access to help them realize their full
potentials," said Robert Walsh,Commissioner of the Department of Small Business
Services. "Each of the participating firms was selected because they have the
resources and performance history to do this type of work. With the right tools
and relationships, we believe they will succeed."
The classroom training offered in Fundamentals in Construction Management is
a series of free courses that SBS began offering to certified minority and
women-owned businesses at New York City College of Technology in February 2007.
Businesses can also receive free guidance in creating bids and estimating costs
through Breaking New Ground, another SBS program, which helps certified
companies through the bidding and initial contracting process. Columbia
University will sponsor and host the training in classrooms on its Morningside
Heights campus and designate knowledgeable staff to mentor participants who have
been awarded contracts, so they succeed in each project.
"This program's unique combination of classroom training, one-on-one
assistance, and contracting opportunities will help these businesses achieve
greater success in bidding and performing on larger, more complex projects,"
said Joe Ienuso, Executive Vice President of Columbia University Facilities.
"The University is excited to partner with SBS to enhance our commitment to the
growth of the City's minority, women-owned and locally-based businesses."
Columbia University has a 25 percent minority, women-owned and locally-based
(MWL) businesses goal on all construction contracts. From 2002 to 2005, more
than $112 million - about 36 percent - of Columbia's major construction
contracts went to MWL firms. In 2006, Columbia contracted for more than $65
million in small construction projects and repair and maintenance services with
MWL firms - more than one-third of the total spending for these purposes.
The Department of Small Business Services' Minority and Women-owned Business
Enterprise (M/WBE) Program helps certified businesses access City contracting
opportunities and build capacity. To certify with the Program, businesses must
be in operation for at least one year; be at least 51% owned, operated and
controlled by a woman or a member of a recognized minority group; and be located
or have a substantial business presence in the NYC metro area. For more
information, visit www.nyc.gov/getcertified.