Monday, July 30, 2018

Contact: Catherine Tenuta, SBS Press Associate -, 212-618-8768


Certified MWBEs Have Increased by 56% in Inwood and Washington Heights Neighborhoods, City Aims to Boost Certification Rates Even Higher

NEW YORK—  Today, SBS Commissioner Gregg Bishop and Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez hosted a certification event for minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) at the Washington Heights Academy in Inwood, to boost the number of firms certified to do business with the City. The City of New York spends over $17 billion on goods and services annually, and aims to expand and diversify the pool of qualified vendors to compete for contracts and help the small business community thrive. There are currently 50 certified MWBEs from New York’s Inwood and Washington Heights neighborhoods, a 56% increase since the beginning of the de Blasio administration.

M/WBE certification opens up opportunities to local contracting opportunities that help M/WBEs to compete and grow. Today’s certification event is part of Mayor de Blasio's larger commitment to increase the pipeline of M/WBEs, impact policy and improve performance. The Administration is taking aggressive steps to strengthen M/WBEs and ensure the City's procurement reflects the diversity of NYC businesses by:

  • Awarding $20 Billion to M/WBEs by end of FY 2025;
  • Certifying 9,000 M/WBEs by end of FY 2019; And
  • Awarding 30% of the value of all City contracts by end of FY 2021.

The City is continuing to certify available firms, and currently boasts nearly 6,000 certified M/WBEs in its program, a roughly 60% increase since the beginning of the Administration.

“At SBS, we aim to unlock economic potential and create economic security for all New Yorkers,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “Certification is a critical step toward ensuring that the City’s procurement reflects the diversity of our city, and that MWBEs have more opportunities to compete and grow.”

"Communities of color and women are the future economic engine of New York City. That's why Mayor de Blasio has set the ambitious goal of certifying 9,000 M/WBEs to diversify the City’s vendor pool and create more contracting opportunities in underrepresented communities, said J. Phillip Thompson, NYC Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives. "When we invest in communities of color, our city prospers."

"Our small businesses are the backbone of this city and we must empower them to be competitive in city bids," said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. "Small businesses have been a path to the middle class for immigrants throughout the history of this country. We must provide them with the tools and information necessary. I look forward to working with SBS to ensure more of our eligible MWBEs are certified."

“I would like to thank the City and Councilman Rodriguez on putting together this excellent initiative to certify more M/WBEs in Upper Manhattan," said State Senator Marisol Alcantara. "Our city government provides great opportunities to help certify M/WBEs grow, serving as an engine for social mobility."

"Small businesses are the economic force that make our communities vibrant and diverse. More inclusion for our minority and women business enterprises especially those in Northern Manhattan is pivotal for their growth and expansion," said Assemblywoman Carmen De La Rosa. "Diversity in our procurement practices will only lead to empowered and financially sound small businesses; in effect, these will bring more jobs and economic influx to our local economy. I commend NYC SBS and Councilmember Rodriguez for facilitating an array of opportunities for our small businesses."

Firms interested in starting the M/WBE certification process or participating in M/WBE programming can learn more by calling 311, visiting, or visiting one of the City's seven NYC Business Solutions Centers located in all five boroughs.

About the Department of Small Business Services (SBS)

SBS helps unlock economic potential and create economic security for all New Yorkers by connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building vibrant neighborhoods across the five boroughs. For more information, visit, call 311, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.