The New York City Department of Small Business Services yesterday evening presented the "Celebrating Successful M/WBEs" Awards to businesses, individuals and City agencies who are helping to increase the number of contracts that M/WBEs hold with the City of New York. The annual event, which was attended by more than 400 small business owners and City agency representatives, also recognizes the work of the M/WBE Advisory Board which helps to guide the policies and programs of the City's M/WBE Program.
"Since Mayor Bloomberg signed Local Law 129 in 2005, directing City agencies to increase contracting opportunities for certified minority and women-owned businesses, we have built a landmark program that holds City agencies accountable for their efforts to meet goals and helps certified companies to build their capacities, bid and perform on City contracts, and achieve growth," said Robert Walsh, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services. "This evening's honorees are a testament to the results we can achieve when government works in tandem with minority and women-owned businesses to meet our goals."
At the awards ceremony, the Rising Star Award was presented to K.R.B. Security System Integrators, Inc., a Hispanic-owned security system business based in Astoria, Queens. This award honors an emerging business that is achieving early success in City contracting, actively pursuing contracts and business development services, and taking advantage of the services of the City's M/WBE Program. K.R.B. Security System Integrators certified as an M/WBE in 2006 and was recently awarded its first contract with the City of New York, providing security and locksmith services for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
"We wanted the best for our company, and we knew that certifying with the City would bring our business to a different level," said company president Boris Soriano. "Already it has made a one hundred percent difference in helping us win contracts."
The M/WBE of the Year Award was presented to Royal Cleaning Service, Inc., headquartered in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. This award honors a certified company that has significantly contributed to the City by providing valuable products or services over time, thus creating employment opportunities and contributing to the local economy. Royal Cleaning Service, Inc. was founded by Joseph Crowder, an African-American, as a one-person business in 1991, and has since grown to 85 employees. The company began by cleaning houses and windows, and now provides services to major corporations such as Marriott Hotels. The company was awarded $600,000 in contracts with the City of New York in fiscal year 2007.
"I couldn't be more pleased," said Joseph Crowder. "SBS is truly there when you need them to help win contracts. I only wish I had certified years ago."
M/WBE Advocate of the Year Awards were presented to the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, New York City Department of Design and Construction, and Martha Mann Alfaro and Howard Friedman of the New York City Law Department. These awards honor individuals or agencies whose leadership, involvement and support of minority and women business owners helps to strengthen and create opportunities for New York City's small business community.
The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) awarded nearly $14 million in over 500 contracts with M/WBEs in fiscal year 2007. In addition, HPD has partnered with the M/WBE Program to offer small business courses, participate in local events and provide contractor training – free for certified M/WBEs – on lead abatement and safe work practices. HPD continually encourages City-certified firms to apply for pre-qualification for maintenance contract bids. By making educational outreach a continuing priority and in marketing contracting opportunities for M/WBEs, HPD is strengthening the New York City small business community and creating opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses.
Awarding more than $54 million in M/WBE contracts in fiscal year 2007, the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) is a leader in supporting certified M/WBEs. The agency increased the value of contracts held by M/WBEs by more than $20 million in fiscal year 2007. DDC has also created a cohesive and efficient website which encourages eligible vendors to bid by providing free access to a list of open contracts and specific bid requirements, as well as information about recently awarded bids. The DDC team continues to show its commitment to the M/WBE Program by participating in specialized procurement training workshops, conducting prime contractor trainings and teaching at this past June's Procurement Fair.
Martha Mann Alfaro and Howard Friedman of the New York City Law Department worked closely with the City Council in drafting Local Law 129 of 2005, which requires City agencies to make efforts to reach specific goals in contracting with certified minority and women-owned businesses. In doing so, they ensured a strong legal foundation from which a program could be built. In addition, Martha Mann Alfaro serves as the M/WBE Officer of the Law Department, which has been proactive in identifying companies for certification and notifying community and professional organizations about the M/WBE Program.