July 28, 2020
Taskforce On Racial Inclusion and Equity announces citywide push to help entrepreneurs of color start and grow their own businesses
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed an Executive Order to immediately strengthen the City’s utilization of Minority and Women-Owned Businesses (M/WBEs) and announced a series of new programs with the Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity to connect Black and Latinx entrepreneurs to business opportunities, including government contract matching, access to pro bono business consultants and mentorship networks. The project also will provide an opportunity for non-certified businesses to learn how to do business with the City.
The Executive Order includes directives focused on expanding the pool of contracts subject to the M/WBE program, and creating more opportunities for M/WBEs to win procurements, and establishes a Chief Diversity M/WBE Officer in all City agencies. It also encourages all City agencies to procure goods, services, and construction from M/WBEs for amounts up to $500,000, and increases oversight for high-values projects. In addition, the Executive Order ensures M/WBEs’ continued involvement in the City’s response to the ongoing State of Emergency by ensuring City agencies set M/WBE participation goals for contracts in response to the pandemic, and by requiring every City agency that is conducting procurement in response to the State of Emergency must consider at least one quote from a M/WBE before awarding the contract.
“Our City works best when everyone – regardless of race, gender or ethnicity – has the resources they need to participate in our economy,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “With these programs, we’re bringing business opportunities directly to diverse and talented New Yorkers who provide our City with a variety of goods and services.”
"COVID-19 has hit communities of color especially hard, and the Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity has stepped in to address the disparity in opportunities that are available.” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. "These directives will help level the playing field for black and brown entrepreneurs so they can build and grow businesses that stabilize our local communities with good-paying jobs, and contribute to the vibrancy of our city."
This work is supported by the Administration's Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity, which brings an equity-based approach to COVID-19 response and recovery efforts in hardest-hit communities. Services and supports are tailored to meet the unique challenges of New Yorkers in communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
A case-management structure will be developed to proactively identify a subset of Black and Latinx certified firms and match them to contracts. Anchor institutions such as universities, hospitals, cultural centers will also support this work with a focus on outreach to minority businesses to encourage them to compete for government contracts. In addition, the City will recruit pro-bono business consultants to provide business and operations planning to businesses in Black and Latinx communities. The City will also help Black and Latinx communities to create online and in person mentorship networks for entrepreneurs and small businesses of color.
“Minority and women-owned businesses hire people in the community whom other businesses won’t take a chance on, serve as the eyes and ears that help keep communities safe, and form the bedrock that our communities can build upon,” said J. Phillip Thompson, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives and Co-Chair of the Racial Inclusion and Equity Taskforce. “M/WBEs have done so much for us and now need our support as the economic and health effects of the pandemic disproportionately impact them. Today’s actions will secure the meaningful participation of M/WBEs in City contracting – especially Black and Latino businesses, and within that group, Black, Latina, and Asian women-owned businesses – and help to ensure an equitable recovery in New York City.”
“As New York City continues to recover, it is imperative that we address the inequities exposed by the pandemic, and that includes building economic empowerment for our hardest-hit communities,” said Dr. Raul Perea-Henze, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services and Co-Chair of the Racial Inclusion and Equity Taskforce. “Today’s step to connect Black and Latinx entrepreneurs with more access to government contracting opportunities will ensure that our City emerges stronger and more vibrant from the crisis.”
"M/WBEs are a backbone of this City and integral part of the economic vitality of black and brown communities," said Sideya Sherman, Taskforce Executive Director and NYCHA Executive Vice President for Community Engagement & Partnerships. "Through these new initiatives, entrepreneurs of color will be better positioned to compete for contracting opportunities and have networks that will help their business grow."
The new programs will be managed by the Department of Small Business Services (SBS) in coordination with the Office of Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises and community partners. The Administration is taking aggressive steps to strengthen M/WBEs and ensure the City’s procurement reflects the diversity of New York City businesses:
“M/WBE policy is about ensuring that the City's commitment to diversity is reflected in its spending and these changes are ensuring our M/WBEs are moving forward,” said Jonnel Doris, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services and Co-Chair of the Small Business Subcommittee of the Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity. “Today, we continue our commitment to level the playing field and create fairer systems, making NYC more equitable for all."
“I am extremely honored to be part of the First Lady’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion & Equity. As part of this Taskforce, we heard from many minority business owners that their businesses cannot survive this crisis without government assistance. The Mayor’s Executive Order is a significant step in addressing many of the disparities that have been revealed as a result of this pandemic and with the implementation of these initiatives, I am confident it will provide many of our minority businesses impacted by the COVID crisis with additional contracting, mentoring and technical assistance necessary for their survival,” said Suzanne Veira, Chief Diversity Officer for the NYC School Construction Authority and Co-Chair of the Small Business Subcommittee of the Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity.
"M/WBEs are critical to the very fabric of NYC; they contribute to the vitality and vibrancy of each and every neighborhood in this city and represent the future of business and the future of the City," said Magalie Austin, Senior Advisor and Director of the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises. "They will be hard-pressed to fully recover economically if M/WBE’s are not included in our economic recovery.”