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Mayor de Blasio Announces Bold New Vision for the City's M/WBE Program

September 28, 2016

Creation of new Mayor’s Office of M/WBEs

30 percent of the dollar amount of City Contract awards to M/WBEs by 2021

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced a bold new vision for the City’s Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) program.

First, the Mayor announced that he has appointed Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery as the new Director of the City’s M/WBE program. He will be supported by the recently announced M/WBE Senior Advisor Jonnel Doris, and together they will shape policies and submit recommendations to increase contracting opportunities.

The Mayor also announced the creation of the Mayor’s Office of M/WBEs, which will be focused on fostering the success of minority- and women-owned businesses and coordinating the work of other City offices, including the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services and the Department of Small Business Services, that administer the City’s M/WBE programs. Through this office, the City will increase agency accountability and ensure access for businesses that want to contract with the City. The office will also serve as a one-stop-shop for M/WBEs to connect with various City agencies.

Central to these improvements, the Mayor has set an ambitious goal of awarding at least 30 percent of the dollar amount of City contracts to M/WBEs by 2021. These would include prime and subcontracts with Mayoral and certain non-Mayoral agencies. The City is adding resources to the Department of Small Business Services and the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services to execute plans to meet the 30 percent goal. This includes increased funding for capacity building programs, free services to help strengthen City-certified M/WBEs, including connections to bonding, teaming, mentorship and one-on-one technical assistance, and resources to help City agencies improve their M/WBE program.

In addition to increasing access to City services and opportunities, the Mayor is ensuring that M/WBEs have access to City capital by improving upon the City Contract Financing Loan program. The loan program will be a revolving fund capped at a 3 percent APR, the lowest of its kind in the entire state among government-funded programs. Eligible M/WBEs will be able to apply for loans of up to $500,000. The loan program will be available to companies that are certified M/WBEs or in the process of M/WBE certification, as well as small businesses that cannot access financing from traditional sources.

“As a city, we are committed to ensuring that all people – regardless of race, gender or ethnicity – have the means to succeed in our economy. It is a fact that when minority- and women-owned businesses have the opportunity to participate in our economy, communities across New York City and the City as whole thrive,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “With the new Office of M/WBEs and Deputy Mayor Buery’s leadership, we are in a stronger position to continue delivering results for the City’s M/WBEs.”

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, “Improving and expanding New York City’s M/WBE program will help us reach our goal of achieving true equality in economic opportunity so that all New Yorkers are able to thrive and contribute to the city’s economy. By offering women and minorities more supportive services, increased access to information about potential opportunities and low interest loans, we can open doors for them to do business with the City. I would like to thank Mayor de Blasio for his commitment to improving opportunities for women and minorities and his determination to make the program as successful as possible.”

"For far too long, woman- and minority-owned businesses have too often been shut out of City contracts making it harder for them to take advantage of opportunities to work with the City," said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. "This Council has made it a top priority to make government contracting more inclusive of underrepresented businesses and doing everything in our purview to bridge that gap and provide those opportunities for M/WBE's. Just recently, the Council passed a package of bills that will hold agencies accountable for meeting the goals of the M/WBE program and to promote efforts for greater collaboration. I want to thank my Council colleagues for their commitment to M/WBE's and the Administration for taking steps to help strengthen the M/WBE program."

“As the most diverse city in the world, it is critical that we support our small businesses owned by women and people of color,” said Public Advocate Letitia James. “This new commitment to M/WBEs will help propel our businesses, increase opportunities, and boost the middle class. I'm pleased to work with Mayor de Blasio on this critical issue and look forward to doing even more to support working families in our city."

“Minority- and women-owned businesses have long been a vital part of New York City’s rich and diverse economy. Today’s announcement deepens the City’s commitment to ensuring that they can flourish,” said Richard Buery, Deputy Mayor of Strategic Policy Initiatives. “By honing in on an aggressive goal to award 30 percent of the dollar value of City contracts to minority and women business owners over five years, we will create an economy that works for everyone.”

"Creating the Mayor's Office of Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprises and committing significant additional City resources to expanding those business’ opportunities for growth will benefit New York City as a whole," said Jonnel Doris, Senior Advisor for M/WBEs. "I am honored to implement the Mayor's plan to bring economic prosperity to these skilled entrepreneurs."

These announcements come on the heels of record-breaking dollar value of City contract awards to M/WBEs. In the first two years since the Mayor set his OneNYC goal of awarding $16 billion to M/WBEs in contracting opportunities, the City has awarded $3.54 billion dollars to M/WBEs.

In addition, the Department of Small Business Services has reached a historic number of M/WBE certifications. To date, SBS has certified over 4,500 M/WBE firms, a 23 percent increase since the beginning of this administration. With this in mind, the Mayor has set a new goal to double the number of certified and re-certified M/WBEs at the Department of Small Business Services from 4,500 to 9,000 by 2019. This will ensure more M/WBEs can compete for City contracts and increase their ability to sustain their businesses.

There are impediments in State law that deny the City some of the tools and flexibility it needs to maximize M/WBE participation. As part of today’s announcements, the Mayor renewed his call for the passage of a State law to give New York City the tools it needs to bring opportunities to more M/WBEs. Those changes will be critical to New York City’s ability to achieve its ambitious targets.

"Under the leadership of Mayor de Blasio, the Department of Small Business Services has certified an all-time-high number of minority- and women-owned businesses and enterprises to do business with the city,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services. “With additional funding being deployed for capacity building, our department is boldly aiming to double this historic number of business certifications by 2019. These efforts will help ensure that city contractors reflect the rich diversity of our city and our business community.”

“The Mayor’s Office of Contract Services is committed to encouraging an inclusive and competitive business environment – one that reflects the diversity of this City. In the past two years, we have made progress in leveling the playing field for minority- and women-owned businesses. We are excited to work with Deputy Mayor Buery, Jonnel Doris and the Office of M/WBEs as they lead the effort to further increase opportunities for M/WBEs,” said Michael Owh, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services.

“The New York City Department of Design and Construction greatly values the contributions of M/WBEs and in Fiscal Year 2015 awarded $242 million in contracts to them – over a third of the agency’s total contract amount for the year,” said DDC Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora. “DDC, through its Office of Diversity and Industry Relations, hosts a number of events and programs to introduce M/WBEs to upcoming projects and how to navigate the City procurement process. A centralized M/WBE office further demonstrates the Administration’s commitment to creating an equitable and competitive business environment that facilitates procurement opportunities for the City’s M/WBE community.”

“The creation of the City’s M/WBE Office headed by Deputy Mayor Buery is the next bold step the de Blasio Administration is taking to ensure that M/WBEs are getting their fair share of City contracts. I look forward to working with the office to increase contract awards to M/WBEs so that our vendors can reflect the great diversity of our City,” said Lisette Camilo, Commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services.

Lorraine Grillo, President and CEO of the School Construction Authority, said, “The SCA has historically provided a level playing field for all contractors and consultants wishing to do business with the Authority. As part of these ongoing efforts, we are honored to join with the City in expanding opportunities for M/WBE firms and will work closely with the city to achieve its goal.”

“Expanding and improving the way City government works to include M/WBEs is a key priority, and when something is important, you dedicate time and attention to getting it right,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “A central office focused on these issues that is accountable for delivering progress is a welcome development.”

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said, “For decades, our city’s M/WBE community has been kept too far a distance from the full scope of contracting opportunities that exist around municipal government. Righting this wrong has been and continues to be a concern of my administration, and there is reason to expect that City Hall’s new approach to M/WBEs will help close the historical gap. Access to capital, services and support are critical to ensuring that hard-working entrepreneurs will be able to better build their businesses and their communities.”

“Minority- and women-owned businesses are essential to the fabric of New York City’s economy. A fair and equitable procurement process is critical to the success of these businesses. I congratulate Mayor Bill de Blasio on this comprehensive plan to ensure M/WBEs get their fair share of City contracts. The Mayor is not just setting a goal, but adding critical resources and investments to ensure that it’s achievable and agencies are held accountable. This unprecedented action by Mayor Bill de Blasio is a strong message of commitment to the M/WBE community,” said State Senator James Sanders.

“Supporting minority and women-owned businesses is critical to leveling the playing field for those who face systemic barriers to success. The new Office of M/WBEs will play a vital role in providing that support. Under-capitalization in particular is one of the biggest challenges facing start-up M/WBE’s, and the low-cost loan program announced today is just the kind of leg-up these entrepreneurs need. I commend Mayor de Blasio and his administration for this ambitious plan – it's good news for equality, diversity, and economic growth throughout the five boroughs,” said State Senator Liz Krueger.

State Senator Brad Hoylman said, "Our city’s vibrant economy rests on our ability to bolster the talents of our women and minority entrepreneurs and business owners. The creation of the Mayor’s Office of M/WBEs marks an important step forward for our city, making it easier for women and minority business owners to access the resources and the financial support they need to succeed and flourish. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for prioritizing some of our city’s most hard-working, innovative, and capable entrepreneurs and congratulate Richard Buery in his new role as the Director of M/WBEs."

"I applaud Mayor de Blasio for his announcement of a Mayor’s Office dedicated solely to the success of our city’s M/WBEs. We have been working tirelessly to remove barriers, address inequalities and increase access for our M/WBE contractors at all levels of government. I look forward to this new office bringing the kind of specialized attention and resources that are needed to tackle this issue effectively and that our M/WBE contractors deserve,” said State Senator Velmanette Montgomery.

State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud said, “I applaud Mayor de Blasio on his bold new vision for the City’s M/WBE program. It is especially exciting that our mayor has tapped two ‘Brooklynites’ from my district. I am proud that Deputy Mayor Richard Buery who was born and raised in East New York to immigrant parents and Jonnel Doris, a Guyanese-American, whose family migrated to Brooklyn more than a quarter of a century ago will use their wealth of experiences to serve the City’s M/WBEs.”

"I applaud Mayor de Blasio for creating an office to support Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises across New York City.  M/WBE's have been struggling to secure contracting opportunities for too long now, and a dedicated office to help them navigate the City's contracting environment is a step in the right direction.  With both our City and State with the goal of 30 percent MWBE contract utilization, I am confident that we are really beginning to level the playing field for MWBEs, but there is still much more work to do," said State Senator Kevin Parker.

“I am deeply committed to insuring economic justice for all New Yorkers, and as such welcome the creation of the Mayor’s Office of M/WBEs. The creation of this office sends a strong message that our Mayor is seriously committed to moving the barometer of opportunity for M/WBEs in the right direction and opening more avenues of access for more financially meaningful participation in economic activity that’s generated through government spending. A 30 percent goal, we know is not too high and we look forward to robust efforts from this administration to ensure that this is more than aspirational, but that this will be achieved. I commend Mayor de Blasio for his vision, and look forward to working with him to reach these goals,” said Assembly Member Nick Perry, Chair of the New York State Black, Latino and Asian Legislative Caucus.

"I applaud the efforts of Mayor de Blasio for prioritizing M/WBEs and providing additional resources and services toward their overall growth and participation," said Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte, Chair of the Subcommittee on the Oversight of Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises. "A devoted Office of M/WBEs in the administration will have a ripple effect because funds loaned at a lower interest rate will make borrowing less of a burden, a deliberate outreach effort with resources behind it means more people will be informed, and this will result in a win-win outcome that will not only help double the number of City-certified M/WBEs, but will have a significant impact on New York City's economy."

“As an elected official whose Bronx district is home to a large number of minority and ethnic residents, I salute Mayor de Blasio and his administration for establishing this centralized office to help these New Yorkers in their quest to achieve their American Dream,” said Assembly Member Luis Sepulveda.

"Successful small businesses are the key to our city and state's economic growth" said Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman. "When I meet with small businesses owners in my district, their biggest obstacle is cutting through the bureaucratic red tape. M/WBEs are integral to our success and this new Mayor's Office of M/WBEs will streamline the process. I look forward to working with Deputy Mayor Buery to ensure entrepreneurs in the 29th Assembly District have access to resources needed to succeed."

"I congratulate Mayor de Blasio on this bold initiative. If we are serious about addressing income inequality, it is essential that we also address head on the systemic barriers and lack of opportunity faced by women and people of color in the City’s contracting processes. Setting aggressive goals, committing to tracking progress, and educating the public about these efforts will make a real difference in closing this yawning gap," said Assembly Member Jo Ann Simon.

“I applaud Mayor de Blasio for creating an Office of M/WBEs,” said Assembly Member Pamela Harris. “New York City is a diverse community and we must promote equal economic opportunities for minority and women owned businesses and eliminate barriers to their participation in city contracts."

Assembly Member Robert J. Rodriguez said, “Despite great progress, discriminatory barriers still keep too many of our minority- and women-owned businesses from fully participating in our economy. Today, Mayor de Blasio has taken a bold step towards evening the playing field to overcome those barriers. The Mayor’s Office of M/WBEs will provide the leadership and accountability to ensure our M/WBE’s can continue to innovate, contribute and succeed.”

Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr., Chair of the Committee on Small Business, said, “The creation of the Mayor’s Office of Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprises solidifies the Administration’s commitment to ensuring that these small businesses have dedicated resources and a real seat at the table. As Chair of the City Council’s Small Business Committee, I am acutely aware of the challenges and frustrations that many experience trying to access capital and build capacity in their businesses. Today, Mayor de Blasio has taken a bold step toward addressing these concerns, and I am proud to stand with him and his team to help support and focus resources on M/WBE’s in our City.”

"The business owners who receive City contracts should reflect the diversity of our City. Today's announcement is an investment in our minority and women business owners, and I thank Mayor Bill de Blasio for his commitment to expand M/WBE procurement," said Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Chair of the Contracts Committee.

Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Chair of the Committee on Finance, said, “Women- and minority-owned businesses are vital for the economic growth and sustainability of our communities. Mayor de Blasio’s initiatives have greatly increased the number of contracts awarded to M/WBEs, and I am thrilled that the City will be capitalizing on this success with a dedicated team. This multi-faceted approach will support small businesses, and I look forward to working with the City’s agencies and Mayor’s Office of M/WBEs to ensure it succeeds.”

“For too long in our country’s history, economic opportunity has been skewed, leaving women and minorities out of the conversation,” said Council Member Rafael L Espinal, Jr., Chair of the Committee on Consumer Affairs. “The appointment of Deputy Mayor Buery as Director of M/WBEs is a wise choice and indicative of Mayor de Blasio’s strong commitment to ensuring diversity in the economic fabric of our city. As a Latino member of the City Council and representative of the diverse neighborhoods of North Brooklyn, I look forward to the opportunities this will afford my constituents, and the vibrancy this will contribute to our city on the whole.”

Council Member Inez Dickens said, “For far too long, the City of New York has failed to close the gap between M/WBE’s and other businesses as it pertained to contracting with municipal agencies. Today, I would like to express my appreciation to Mayor Bill de Blasio for creating an office that addresses this issue, which is vital to the argument of a Tale of Two Cities. By raising the bar to 30 percent by City contracts being M/WBEs, hopefully, there will be teeth in strength to ensure that all contracts have repercussions if agencies do not fulfill the goal. Our communities are too intertwined to leave anyone behind.

“Equality means everyone, regardless of race or gender, is provided the opportunity to economic success,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “Though the economic climate has been improving, many communities continue to lag behind in earnings and employment. I expect leadership on this issue will spur renewed commitments to women and minority businesses from the private sector. The Mayor’s announcement today shows a clear commitment to be part of the solution.”

“The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce is pleased to applaud Mayor de Blasio's formation of a M/WBE centralized office which will, by its charge, be focused solely on stimulating, creating and fostering much needed success for the many underserved M/WBEs in New York City. It's been long overdue and our Chamber has been advocating for its creation for years. Therefore, we congratulate Mayor de Blasio and his team for taking much needed action to support our city's M/WBEs. We appreciate his efforts and leadership,” said Lloyd Williams, President and CEO of Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce.

Cheryl McKissack, President and CEO of McKissack & McKissack, said, “The new policies will be extremely effective, and send the right message to the industry.”

Bonnie Wong, President of Asian Women in Business, said, “The Mayor is really taking concrete steps to achieve the goals of New York City’s Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprises. His commitment to M/WBEs is a testament to not only the importance of our enterprises in the business community, but also to all New York City communities.”

“Our focus on opportunities for M/WBEs is a critical element of how we achieve our mission to translate the economic activity at the Yard into economic opportunity for our local community. We are extraordinarily proud that over our last three construction projects, we have awarded more than $55 million in M/WBE contracts, exceeding 35% of the total contract amount. To truly move the needle, bold steps are needed – the de Blasio Administration’s strong leadership and ambitious vision will ensure that more and more companies and New Yorkers can share in the opportunities, not just of the Navy Yard, but across the city,” said David Ehrenberg, President and CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Colleen Molter, President of QED National, said, “Access to affordable capital and City contracts for women- and minority-owned firms has historically been a problem in our city and across our nation. Mayor de Blasio continues to press forward setting City spend goals and certification goals, in addition to releasing creative finance programs for these businesses. The changes made by this Administration afford our businesses the opportunity to grow so they can hire more people in their communities to deliver their goods and services to the public sector as well as the private sector. I applaud Mayor de Blasio, and I am proud to be a long standing supporter of the minority and woman business enterprise program.”

Sandra Wilkin, President of Branford Construction, said, "We lead the nation in the number of women entrepreneurs, and we’re also in the middle of an unprecedented building boom. The creation of a centralized M/WBE office will help more entrepreneurs access opportunities to participate in the boom. Most businesses in New York City are small businesses. The stronger we are, the stronger we all are."

Elizabeth Velez, President of the Velez Organization, said, “We are thrilled at this unheralded, new and progressive direction by the City of New York to support the inclusion of a very important sector of the city’s economy – minority- and women-owned businesses. By increasing M/WBE participation goals, and expanding leadership, resources and accountability on the highest levels, the City recognizes the invaluable role that M/WBE firms play in empowering our economy in all of our communities.”

“The new M/WBE goals established by Mayor Bill de Blasio is an ambitious and achievable. We are pleased that the administration is being proactive by increasing opportunities for our businesses,” said Jackson Rockingster, President and CEO of the Haitian American Business Network Chamber of Commerce.

“As president of the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (CACCI), whose organization has worked with M/WBE’s applauds this new approach, I commend Mayor Bill de Blasio for recognizing the need to create an office that will consolidate the services and increase contract opportunities and available capital for M/WBE’s in the City of New York,” said Roy A. Hastick, Sr., President and CEO of the Caribbean American Chamber Of Commerce and Industry, Inc.

“Many diverse communities are excited about the Mayor's M/WBE focus to achieve 30 percent of the total City's business. This marks a promising new day for the direction of this Administration. We welcome the promising 30 percent goal for the socioeconomic parity of all New York businesses,” said Reverend Dr. Demetrius Carolina of the First Central Baptist Church and Senior Pastor and Executive Director of the Central Family Life Center.

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