Tuesday, October 11, 2022

ICYMI: New York City Celebrates Groundbreaking Reforms to Expand Opportunities for M/WBEs

State Law Doubles Size of Discretionary Contract Awards from $500,000 to $1,000,000 for Eligible M/WBEs

New York — Mayor Eric Adams and senior Administration officials applaud Governor Kathy Hochul's signature of legislation (A.10459/S.9351 co-sponsored by State Senator James Sanders Jr., and Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, increasing opportunities for minority and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBEs) to contract with the City. By increasing the threshold limit of City contracts that can utilize the City's M/WBE non-competitive procurement method from $500,000 to $1,000,000, M/WBEs will now be able to more effectively compete for larger contracts, expanding their work with the City.

The new State law, signed Thursday, October 6, 2022, comes just weeks after Mayor Adams announced New York City surpassed its 10-year OneNYC goal to award $25 billion in contracts to minority- and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBE) by Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 — three years ahead of schedule.

"Today is a significant win for Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses in New York City, as well as Black and Brown communities across the state. By raising the discretionary threshold on City contracts for M/WBEs to $1 million, we are leveling the playing field for New Yorkers from diverse backgrounds — allowing us to build towards a more just and equitable future. Our M/WBEs have suffered through the pandemic from slow rates of business formation and employment growth, in addition to a severe uptick in business closures. Today, we are showing our M/WBEs that we have their back. I want to thank Governor Hochul for her commitment to M/WBEs and our partners in the Legislature who helped us take this significant step to help drive our economic recovery, while addressing a generational challenge rooted in historic inequities," said New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

"Every dollar City government spends with minority and women-owned businesses is an investment in a more equitable future," said Maria Torres-Springer, Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development. "The City fiercely advocated for this huge step for our M/WBE community because we know that by lifting the discretionary threshold for City contracting, we are lifting up a generation of M/WBEs with greater opportunities to participate in our city's economic recovery."

"By raising the cap on discretionary contracts, the State has opened the door for many more M/WBEs to take a leading role in our City's recovery – and M/WBEs across the city are ready for the task," said Kevin D. Kim, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. "SBS is laser-focused on building the pipeline for M/WBEs to do business with the city- from recruitment, to certification, to technical assistance. We encourage all City agencies and M/WBEs to take advantage of the new rules."

"M/WBEs are the backbone of this City's recovery. At MOCS we are focused on using every tool at our disposal, including policy, process, and technology changes, to reduce barriers to competition and further enable M/WBEs to have a greater place in the City's procurement ecosystem," said Lisa M. Flores, Director of the Mayor's Office of Contract Services and City Chief Procurement Officer. "This increase to the threshold for M/WBE Noncompetitive Small Purchases gives us one more tool to turn this vision into a reality, and I want to thank the Governor, Mayor Adams, the State legislature, and the M/WBE community for making this happen."

"As the Chief Sponsor in the Senate, this legislation will increase opportunities for Minority-and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs). The New York City economy will greatly benefit by growing M/WBEs contributing to job creation and economic development," said Senator James Sanders Jr.

"Doubling the discretionary threshold on New York City contracts for M/WBEs to $1 million is a significant step towards ensuring economic equality and is a win for all New Yorkers with a mutli-billion-dollar economic impact. I am honored to have sponsored this groundbreaking legislation and thank Mayor Adams, Governor Hochul, and the State Legislature for passing the law and providing M/WBEs with the opportunities for economic success and equality they deserve as we rebuild the City's recovery. M/WBEs have been playing catch-up for decades and disproportionally faced roadblocks. By lifting the threshold, we're lifting barriers and giving minority and women entrepreneurs the tools to be successful," said Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn.

"This legislation is a culmination of years-long efforts by many dedicated M/WBE stakeholders and a significant step towards meeting the City's commitment to tackling the existing disparities," said Johnny Celestin, Deputy Director of Operations for the Mayor's Office of Minority & Women-owned Business Enterprises. "In FY22 there was a 45% increase in M/WBE contractual award spend using this discretionary authority. This increased threshold will allow NYC Agencies to continue to grow their programs, engage more M/WBEs, and create more competition. We thank Governor Hochul, the State legislators, Mayor Adams, Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer, and NYC's Agencies for their ongoing commitment to the M/WBE community."

The City's M/WBE program was created to address the disparity between City contracts awarded to certain ethnic and gender groups and their overall representation in City contracting. New York City believes that city contractors should reflect the diversity of our city, and this diversity provides opportunities for all of our communities and helps spark innovation, strengthen engagement, and drive continuous improvement.

In just the last year, New York City has made tremendous strides to expand the pool of contracts subject to the M/WBE program and create more opportunities for M/WBEs to win procurements.

In total, City agencies and authorities awarded $6.5 billion in contracts for M/WBEs in FY22 from City Agencies and Authorities – more than 65% increase from FY21. More than 1,605 individual M/WBEs were awarded a City Contract last year, up 13% from FY21.

City spend on M/WBE discretionary contracts totaled $109 million last year, up 45% from $75 million in FY21. With the discretionary threshold rising from $500,000 to $1,000,000, the City will be able to build on this momentum and double down on M/WBE contracting.

"As an advocate of M/WBEs, I could not be happier with this exciting news! This is a huge step towards leveling the playing field for women and minority business owners in New York. "Increasing the discretionary award to $1 million is going to open the door wider and allow for many more of our M/WBEs to have access to government contracts, especially our smaller firms. This is real economic advancement! We applaud Governor Hochul and thank her for signing this legislation," said Quenia Abreu, President, NY Women's Chamber of Commerce.

"This legislation is a major step toward ensuring minority- and women-owned small businesses in New York City and across the State have access to the same opportunities that have long been available to other businesses. We applaud Governor Hochul and the State Legislature for demonstrating their commitment to closing the racial and gender-based wealth gap in New York and look forward to continuing to partner with them to build on this progress," said Valerie White, Senior Executive Director, LISC NYC.

"The discretionary spending increase to $1 million is a game changer. M/WBE firms from start-ups to veterans will be able to grow their firms competitively, confident that their growth is assured. History will show that the raising of the discretionary threshold may be the most impactful policy in moving M/WBEs away from the pandemic 'hanging on by a string' mentality to solid growth. Thank you to Governor Hochul for sharing our vision of what we know that we can be. Thank you to Mayor Adams for his tireless support of New York M/WBEs," said M/WBE Mentor, Barbara Armand Kushner, President and CEO of the Armand Corporation.

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.