Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg signed into law today Intro 911, which helps strengthen the Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) program by building on the achievements of Local Law 129, passed in 2005. Local Law 129 helped increase the number of M/WBE firms certified to participate in the City’s program from 700 to more than 3,500, with certified firms winning more than $3 billion in City contracts. By removing the program’s $1 million cap on contracts, this new legislation increases the overall value of program-eligible contracts from $400 million to $2.2 billion, allowing M/WBEs to compete more effectively for higher-valued contracts. The new legislation also increases accountability for City agencies to meet their contracting participation goals, as outlined in Local Law 129.
“Introductory Number 911-A improves the Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise Program by eliminating the $1 million cap on contracts that are covered by goals for increasing participation in City contracting by businesses owned by minorities and women and enhancing oversight and reporting requirements to ensure that the City is meeting its M/WBE Program goals,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Introductory Number 911-A authorizes agencies to set goals for utilization of M/WBEs on contracts above the $1 million threshold established by the old law. This will more than triple the number of contracts covered by the City’s MWBE Program. MWBEs have won more than $3 billion in City procurement awards and will now be able to compete more effectively for higher-valued contracts.”
“Our administration is committed to providing the essential tools that small businesses and MWBEs need to compete for and win City work,” said Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway. “By expanding contracting opportunities for MWBE firms and focusing on accountability and results, this legislation will both improve business opportunity for MWBEs and ensure that City taxpayers get high quality work at the best price.”
“For too long, minorities and women have been effectively shut out of City contracts,” said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “With today’s bill, we level the playing field to give these businesses the access that they deserve. This legislation is important not only because it provides fairness and equal opportunity to MWBEs, but because it will help grow businesses that will provide jobs, spur economic growth, and diversify our economy, and because it will increase competition for city contracts, which will translate into lower costs and increased quality. I thank the broad coalition of advocates who helped shape this bill, and Mayor Bloomberg for signing it today.”
“The Mayor passed monumental legislation in 2005 to help increase opportunities for minority and women-owned small businesses. Today's legislation goes even further to strengthen the program and expand opportunity,” said Rob Walsh, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “We encourage minority and women-owned firms to certify with the City, and learn more about free City services that can help M/WBEs compete and grow.”
“Local Law 129 was enacted to address the underrepresentation of women and minorities in the City’s procurement market. However, after several years of discussion with industry leaders, community advocates, and local business people my colleagues and I realized that the program was not functioning as efficiently or productively as it could,” said Council Member Diana Reyna. “Intro 911 addresses some of the most serious problems of the M/WBE program: holding agencies accountable to their M/WBE goals, eliminating the cap on program-eligible contracts, and strengthening the directory of certified M/WBEs. With these amendments, the City has vastly improved upon its most significant resource in correcting historical economic injustices.”
“More powerful than all the armies, is the power of an idea whose time has come,” said the Reverend Jacques Andre DeGraff, First Vice President of the One Hundred Black Men. “Today’s action marks the culmination of years of effort. We are pleased that new doors of opportunity have been opened to us. Things will never be the same.”
“For minority business enterprises, especially in the construction and professional services arena, success is directly tied to the ability to have access to opportunities – to survive, to thrive, to gain capacity – to hire from within our communities,” said Elizabeth Velez, president of the Velez Organization and Chairperson of the Latino Builders Council. “For far too many years, NYC procurement was unbalanced and not reflective of the ability and diversity of our companies. Intro 911 takes a major forward milestone step in correcting historic underrepresentation of MWBE firms. The changes are transformative under Intro 911 – significantly- the removal of the $1M procurement cap, the increase of accountability, the enlarging of the universe to which goals will apply, and the support of joint ventures.”
In addition to the new legislation, the Bloomberg administration has also helped strengthen the City’s M/WBEs through capacity building programs, launching Compete to Win in February, 2012. Compete to Win includes five initiatives that help facilitate teaming opportunities, provide technical assistance, and also specifically assists construction firms by helping business owners find mentors, secure loans, and surety bonds.
- Technical Assistance: provides free workshops and one-on-one assistance to prepare firms to compete for and perform on City contracts. Workshops provide an in-depth understanding of specific industry requirements and standards for the submission of City bids and proposals, and one-on-one personalized assistance provides firms with guidance on submitting offers for City contracts.
- NYC Teaming: helps firms create partnerships that allow them to bid on larger contracts or pursue new contracting opportunities. The program includes a Business Matching Event and a series of workshops leading up to that event to educate firms on the teaming process and how to market to buyers and other firms. According to a survey of active small business contractors by American Express OPEN, small business owners who engage in teaming win 50 percent more contracts than active contractors overall.
- Upfront Capital Loan and Bond Readiness: help construction firms access capital and surety bonds through loan application assistance, workshops on accounting and financial management, insurance requirements, safety management, credit repair, and one-on-one financing assistance. Due to the success of the pilot program, the NYC Construction Loan program expanded to become Upfront Capital, and is now available to all M/WBE certified firms and small businesses regardless of industry.
- NYC Construction Mentorship: provides participating City-certified construction firms with greater access to City construction opportunities, a customized growth plan, management classes, and on-the-job training services for contract winners.
Formed in July 2012, the NYC Construction Mentorship Advisory Panel is comprised of private developers, minority and women-owned businesses, advocates, and government officials, and is designed to ensure that Compete to Win’s NYC Construction Mentorship program effectively addresses the needs of M/WBE construction companies who are participating in City procurement, and to help recruit more M/WBEs into the program. City Hall has also designated a chief liaison to serve stakeholders who represent M/WBE firms and programs.
To help raise awareness among prime contractors of M/WBEs looking for contracts, the City is improving and promoting the online directory of M/WBEs available. Liquidated damages have been added to standard contracts, which will be applied when prime contractors don’t make a good faith effort to meet their M/WBE contracting requirements.
The City has also made it simpler to certify as an M/WBE. Firms can submit a single application and financial documents to certify with the City, the State, and the School Construction Authority and Port Authority. Firms interested in certifying can also get one-on-one assistance with the application process at one of the City’s seven NYC Business Solutions Centers, located in every borough. For more information on certification or capacity building programs, visit www.nyc.gov/nycbusiness or call 311.