The NYC Dept. of SBS hosted the Seventh Annual Citywide Procurement Fair, designed to help minority and women-owned companies increase the amount of business they do with the City. The event, 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. Since passing Local Law 129 in 2005, the number of certified M/WBEs has increased from 700 to 3,500, winning more than $3 billion in City contracts. This year also marks the passage of Local Law 1, which builds on the achievements of Local Law 129 by removing the program’s $1 million cap on contracts, and increasing the overall value of program-eligible contracts from $400 million to $2.2 billion. The new legislation allows M/WBEs to compete more effectively for higher-valued contracts, and also increases accountability for City agencies to meet their contracting participation goals.
“Assisting small businesses – and particularly minority- and women-owned businesses – to compete, grow and thrive has been a top priority of the Bloomberg administration,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway. “Through programs like Compete to Win and the comprehensive overhaul of Local Law 129 that Mayor Bloomberg signed this year we have dramatically increased the City work that MWBE firms will be able to bid on and win – and that means better work for them and higher quality and lower prices for City taxpayers.”
“The Annual Citywide Procurement Fair is a great resource for M/WBEs interested in pursuing contracting opportunities with the City,” said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “With the recently enacted Local Law 1, the Council expanded the City’s M/WBE program to provide M/WBEs with significantly increased access to City contracts. The workshops and services offered during today’s fair further advance the goal of leveling the playing field for minorities and women."
“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. “With the recent passage of Local Law 1, the City continues to work hard to improve City contracting opportunities for M/WBEs.”
The Procurement Fair featured remarks from Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway, Rob Walsh, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services, Anne Rascon, Deputy Commissioner for the Division of Economic & Financial Opportunity, and Rosanna Rosado, Publisher & CEO of El Diario. In addition to networking opportunities, M/WBEs were able to attend presentations and workshops on topics including “Selling to New York,” “How to Respond to an RFP,” “How to Market Your Business,” and “Know Your Rights and Responsibilities as an NYC Vendor.”
In addition to the annual Procurement Fair, the City offers a variety of capacity building services through the Compete to Win program. Launched 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.
- Strategic Steps for Growth: A nine-month executive education program designed for M/WBEs, offered by the New York City Department of Small Business Services and the NYU Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Participants gain access to a professional network of business experts, university professors, and other business owners, and learn the strategic skills needed to run a growing company, and create a custom, three-year growth plan.
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.
Under the law, 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 on certification or capacity building programs, visit www.nyc.gov/nycbusiness 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.