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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 16, 2005


COMMISSIONER WALSH ANNOUCES CITY/STATE AGREEMENT TO INCREASE OPPORTUNITIES FOR MINORITY- AND WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING WILL MAKE IT EASIER FOR FIRMS TO CERTIFY WITH BOTH CITY AND STATE

New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Robert Walsh today announced that the City and the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will increase the certification of minority- and women-owned businesses.  Under the agreement, businesses certified by either the City or the State as a minority- or women-owned business enterprise (MWBE) will receive expedited approval of their certification applications with the other entity.  The partnership eases and simplifies the application process for firms looking to be jointly certified by both and will increase the pool of certified firms that the City and State draw upon for contracting opportunities.  Commissioner Walsh made the announcement at the 25th Anniversary Awards Luncheon of the National Minority Business Council.   

"Mayor Bloomberg made a strong commitment to increasing opportunities for minority- and women-owned business when he signed Executive Order 36 in June 2003, and this agreement is yet another step toward that goal," said Commissioner Walsh.  "With the City and State working together, we make it easier for eligible businesses to certify and access a wide-variety of benefits.  I thank the State for its partnership in our objective to make New York City a place where all minority- and women-owned businesses can thrive."

"Our agreement is tremendous news not only for New York’s minority and women-owned business community, but for the local and statewide economy as well," said ESDC Chairman Charles Gargano.  "Minority- and women-owned businesses play an important role in our business community and our economy, generating tens of millions of dollars annually and employing nearly 300,000 workers.  Governor Pataki feels strongly that business partnerships between the public sector and minority- and women-owned businesses are vital to our communities."

The MOU is a formal agreement between SBS and ESDC’s Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development to increase and promote the utilization of MWBEs by City and State agencies.  In June 2003, Mayor Bloomberg signed Executive Order 36 to stimulate the City’s assistance program for minority- and women-owned businesses to create greater access to contracting opportunities, better prepare firms to compete for City contracts, and help them navigate the procurement process.  SBS simplified certification, developed an easy to use online directory of M/WBE firms that helps both City agencies and private entities identify qualified firms to compete for contracts, and added more M/WBE companies to the City’s list through cooperative working relationships with additional City/State agencies, private entities and additional outreach efforts. The M/WBE Online Directory is located at www.nyc.gov/sbs.

The Department of Small Business Services makes it easier for companies in New York City to form, do business and grow by providing direct assistance to business owners, fostering neighborhood development in commercial districts, promoting financial and economic opportunity among minority- and women-owned businesses, preparing New Yorkers for jobs and linking employers with a skilled and qualified workforce.



  Benjamin Branham (SBS) (212) 513-6318 / (917) 941-1289
Chapin Fay (ESDC) (212) 803-3740