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NYC Small Business Services
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Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Compete to Win’s NYC Construction Mentorship and Bond Readiness Initiatives Help Connect Graduates to Bonding and Mentors for Increased Access to City Contracts

Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway and SBS Commissioner Robert W. Walsh graduated the first cohort of the City’s NYC Construction Mentorship and Bond Readiness programs, two initiatives of the Compete to Win program. Compete to Win is a set of five capacity building initiatives designed to help Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) compete for and win City contracts. NYC Construction Mentorship provides M/WBE certified construction firms greater access to participating City construction opportunities, management classes, and one-on-one mentor meetings. Bond Readiness helps firms secure surety bonds for NYC construction projects, as well as provides workshops on accounting and financial management, insurance requirements, and credit repair. The 39 M/WBE certified firms graduating NYC Construction Mentorship will receive a 3-year growth plan for their business. Of the Bond Readiness cohort, 19 firms are considered bond ready for an estimated aggregate amount of $11 million, and four are currently bonded at $8 million.

“Congratulations to the firms graduating from the NYC Construction Mentorship and Bond Readiness programs,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway. “Compete to Win is designed to give small businesses the tools they need to compete for and win City contracts, a win-win for the City and for growing Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises. When more firms compete, New Yorkers get higher-quality work at a better price, and winning firms develop the track record they need to grow and take on bigger jobs.”

“The City has helped increase contracting goals and opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses, and now we can also help firms deliver and succeed on those contracts by connecting them to mentors, bonding, and more,” said Rob Walsh, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “I congratulate the 63 entrepreneurs that completed the Bond Readiness and NYC Construction Mentorship programs, and encourage you to stay in touch and take advantage of all the services Compete to Win and NYC Business Solutions have to offer.”

“Today's graduates are just one more example of this Administration's commitment to M/WBEs,” said La-Verna Fountain, Co-Chair of the Construction Mentorship Advisory Panel and Vice President, Construction Business Services and Communications, Columbia University.  “The array of programs available to assist those who want to work with the City of New York especially in construction is unprecedented and I am proud to be a small part of today's success.”

“The Compete to Win program has proven to be an innovative program that provides access to procurement in New York City by both developing capacity and targeting opportunities for MWBE firms,” said Elizabeth Velez, Co-Chair of the NYC Construction Mentorship Advisory Panel, President of Velez Organization and Chair of the Latino Builders Council. “I am delighted to be serving on such a distinguished NYC Construction Mentorship Advisory Panel and congratulate the graduates for taking advantage of this program to expand their business opportunities.”

One firm highlighted during the ceremony was SAFECO Construction Co., located in Staten Island, which received a $1.6 million sidewalk contract with the Department of Design and Construction as a result of the bond line they received through the program.

“The quality and content of the classes as well as the one-on-one in-depth consultations were the most attractive services of Compete to Win for me,” said Dan Pretto, President of SAFECO.  “Since completing Bond Readiness I have also secured a bond line with Travelers and grasped a full working knowledge of construction accounting. Compete to Win provided an invaluable service that has helped me grow my business.”

Launched in February, 2012, Compete to Win includes five initiatives that help facilitate teaming opportunities, provide technical assistance, and also specifically assist construction firms by helping business owners find mentors, secure loans, and surety bonds. The City's M/WBE Program was created in December 2005 when Mayor Bloomberg signed Local Law 129, establishing utilization goals in prime and subcontracts by sector and by gender/ethnicity category. Since passing Local Law 129, the number of certified M/WBEs has increased from 700 to more than 3,700, winning more than $3 billion in City contracts. Beginning July 1, Local Law 1 will go into effect, 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.

For more information on Compete to Win capacity building programs, and to apply for the next class, visit

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

Merideth Weber (SBS),, 212-513-6318

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