New York - The New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) today hosted the Sixth Annual Citywide Procurement Fair, designed to help local minority and women-owned companies increase the amount of business they do with the City. The event, which was held at the Bank of New York Mellon, brought more than 600 certified Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) together to network with purchasers from more than 70 City and State agencies and public authorities, as well as several private-sector companies. This year, firms were also introduced to Compete to Win, new capacity building programs available to help more M/WBE firms compete for and win larger contracts. Bond Readiness, the final of the five initiatives to be available through the program, launched during a special information session at the fair.
The City's Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) program was created in December 2005 when Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg signed Local Law 129, which established utilization goals in prime and subcontracts by sectors and by gender/ethnicity categories. The program helps minority and women-owned businesses access government contracting opportunities and also provides capacity-building services. Since 2006, the number of M/WBEs certified to do business with the City has grown from 700 to more than 3,400, with firms receiving more than 40,000 City contracts valued at $2.7 billion.
"The annual Procurement Fair is the largest City-sponsored event to share information about how to do business with the City and the tools that are available for MWBEs to build capacity and successfully compete for City contracts," said Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway. "When more firms compete, the City gets better prices and a better product; that's good for taxpayers and the businesses that successfully compete for City work."
"The City Council is proud to continue our work with the Department of Small Businesses Services to build out the capacity of M/WBE‚Äôs throughout the City,‚ÄĚ said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. ‚ÄúCapacity-building programs help prepare these firms to compete for public and private contracts and today‚Äôs Annual Procurement Fair provides a great opportunity to connect them with critical business opportunities. I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor Holloway, Commissioner Walsh, and Small Business Chair Diana Reyna for their work on this very important issue."
"The Procurement Fair brings together all City agencies, along with private corporations and capacity building services, in one room at one time to help M/WBEs network for available opportunities and learn about services available to help them grow," said Rob Walsh, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. "This year we have gone even further, introducing five new capacity building services through the Compete to Win program. With the launch of Bonding Readiness at the fair, all five initiatives are now up and running and available to help small businesses."
For the first time at this year‚Äôs event, M/WBEs were able to learn about Compete to Win services, which were recently launched in February. Compete to Win is a new set of initiatives designed to help minority and women-owned firms do business with the City, not just by setting numerical goals, but also by helping build capacity. Compete to Win helps facilitate teaming opportunities, provide technical assistance, and also specifically assists construction firms by helping business owners find mentors, secure loans, and surety bonds. M/WBEs can also learn more about all Compete to Win initiatives and other free services available through the City at one of seven NYC Business Solutions Centers located in all five boroughs. NYC Business Solutions is a set of services provided by SBS to help businesses start, operate and expand. Services include business courses, accessing financing and incentives, and recruiting and training employees.
The opening session of today‚Äôs Procurement Fair featured remarks from Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway, Chair of the New York City Council Committee on Small Business, Diana Reyna, SBS Commissioner Robert W. Walsh, and La-Verna Fountain, Associate Vice President for Construction Business Services and Communications at Columbia University. During the session, six awards were presented. Four firms received the M/WBE of the Year Award, which honors top-performing firms: Binding Products, Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of binding equipment, supplies, printing services, and repairs; Garic, Inc., which leases and sells computers, communication and office equipment; Haks Engineers and Land Surveyors, P.C., a multi-disciplined construction management, engineering, architecture, land surveying and material testing firm; and Joanne Franklin, Inc., which buys and resells packaging and promotional products. The Department of Parks and Recreation and the NYC Human Resources Administration received the M/WBE Agency of the Year Award for going above and beyond expectations to create opportunities for M/WBE firms.
"I decided that I needed to diversify my client base and began to explore NYC as a customer. As a first step in competing for contracts I became certified as a WBE, made sales calls, and shortly after won my first bid at the Arsenal with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation. Over the years I have developed relationships with the City and have found doing business with the City very valuable," said Joanne Franklin, President of Joanne Franklin, Inc. "We are looking forward to focusing on new opportunities with the City and are excited to take advantage of the City‚Äôs Compete to Win initiatives to help us grow and compete on contracts."
To certify as an M/WBE, 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 show a significant tie to the City's business community. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/getcertified.
For more information on Compete to Win capacity building services, visit www.nyc.gov/competetowin or call 311.
About the Department of Small Business Services
The Department of Small Business Services (SBS) makes it easier for businesses in New York City to start, operate and expand by providing direct assistance to business owners, fostering neighborhood development in commercial districts, and linking employers to a skilled and qualified workforce. For more information on all of SBS’ services, go to www.nyc.gov/sbs.