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Mayor de Blasio and Counsel to the Mayor and M/WBE Director Maya Wiley Launch Advisory Council on Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises

December 14, 2015

Administration to issue executive order, formally engaging key community stakeholders to guide M/WBE policies

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and Counsel to the Mayor and M/WBE Director Maya Wiley today announced the creation of a formal Advisory Council to guide policy-making and strategy on the administration’s aggressive efforts to increase awards to Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs). The Advisory Council will involve key stakeholders in the M/WBE community as the administration works towards the Mayor’s pledge to award more than $16 billion to M/WBE businesses over the next ten years. 

“We're proud of the $1.6 billion awarded to M/WBEs and the record-breaking number of M/WBE firms certified last year, but we need to do more,” said Mayor de Blasio. “This Advisory Council will play a critical role in helping more M/WBE businesses get certified with the City and get more contract awards to M/WBE businesses.”

“M/WBEs have faced societal discrimination and a host of barriers to fair competition. This Administration is working hard to change this,” said Maya Wiley, Counsel to the Mayor and Citywide M/WBE Director. “This Council of experts, stakeholders and leaders have a direct connection to the needs of our city and they will play a key role in shaping the strategies and policies that will help ensure a level playing field in New York City. We have hard work ahead and we won’t stop until we level the playing field.”

The Council is composed of M/WBE leaders in a variety of industries including construction, real estate and professional services. The Council also includes members of professional and advocacy organizations with years of experience working with M/WBEs across the five boroughs. By soliciting their support, the administration aims to give the M/WBE community meaningful input on the City’s M/WBE strategy. The Advisory Council will be tasked with providing a direct line to the M/WBE community, helping shape City policy regarding procurement and development projects, ensuring the integrity of the disparity study process and incorporating more firms into the City’s M/WBE program.

The Council will be established by Executive Order and will be chaired by Counsel Maya Wiley. The Council will be tasked with:

  • Advising the Administration on ways to increase M/WBE participation;
  • Educating the M/WBE community on administration programs and resources;
  • Supporting the Administration’s efforts to obtain legislative and regulatory changes;
  • Ensuring that the Disparity Study process includes community outreach and contribution.

The announcement comes on the heels of the launch of several key programs aimed to increase City awards to M/WBEs, including: new Project Labor Agreements that will meaningfully increase the share of M/WBEs working on City construction projects while saving the City over $347 million; establishing a new $10 million predevelopment loan fund to help emerging firms secure financing to purchase land and get projects underway; and a new $10 million fund to help those firms secure the bonds they need in order to qualify for City business.

In Fiscal Year 2015, the de Blasio administration awarded over $1.6 billion in contracts to M/WBE firms while reaching a record-breaking number of certified M/WBEs – over 4,100. More than one third of those firms have been certified or recertified since the start of the de Blasio administration. To help increase certification, the administration lowered barriers to entry by launching an online certification portal and introducing one-on-one certification application review sessions. The M/WBE Advisory Council will assist in helping the Administration grow the number of certified firms and City business awarded to them.

The Administration is looking forward to working collaboratively with the M/WBE Advisory Council Members, including:

  • Rodneyse Bichotte – New York State Assembly Member, Chair- Oversight of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) Subcommittee
  • James Sanders, Jr. – New York State Senator
  • Michael Blake, Assembly Member
  • Helen Rosenthal – New York City Councilmember, Chair- Committee on Contracts
  • Robert Cornegy – New York City Councilmember, Chair- Committee on Small Business
  • Arva Rice – The New York Urban League (NYUL)
  • Bonnie Wong – Asian Women in Business (AWIB)
  • Michael Garner, 100 Black Men
  • Carlton Brown – Full Spectrum of NY, LLC
  • Cheryl McKissack – McKissack & McKissack
  • Colleen Molter – Q.E.D., Inc.
  • Elizabeth Velez – Velez Organization
  • Loretta Caldwell – Staten Island Association
  • Peter Fontanes – New York Association of Hispanics in Real Estate and Construction (HREC)
  • Quenia Abreu – NY Women’s Chamber of Commerce
  • Rick Miranda – Brooklyn Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Samuel Padilla – Padilla Construction Services, Inc.
  • Sandra Wilkin – Bradford Construction Corp.
  • Walter Edwards – Harlem Business Alliance

“Under the leadership of Mayor de Blasio, this administration is committed to strengthening minority and women-owned firms and ensuring City contracting reflects the diversity of businesses in New York City,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services. “The M/WBE Advisory Council is another example of the City developing more inclusive and responsive strategies to engage the M/WBE community. I look forward to learning from and working with these key community stakeholders.”

“We are excited to be working in partnership with M/WBE leaders to ensure that the City is doing all it can to increase City business to M/WBE vendors,” said Lisette Camilo, Director of the Mayor's Office of Contract Services.

“The appointment of this Council reflects a strong commitment to further extend city procurement opportunities to MWBE companies which will bring more jobs and economic activity to our diverse communities,” said Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City.

“The founding chapter of the One Hundred Black Men is pleased to work with Mayor de Blasio and members of his senior administration in creating a more robust MWBE program. Our number one priority is to assist the City of New York in the implementation of a robust MWBE program. Access to government contracts equals job creation in the Black business community within New York City,” said Michael Garner, President, One Hundred Black Men.

“Women Builders Council strongly endorses the creation of an administration-wide MWBE Advisory Council that represents all sectors of the industry is key to achieving Mayor De Blasio’s MWBE participation goals as well as the overall economic development for New York City’s. We applaud the Mayor and his team for proposing this initiative and look to supporting New York City on their work to advance economic development and business opportunities for women and minorities throughout the city,” said Deborah Bradley, President of the Women Builders Council.

“I commend Mayor de Blasio and his team on his efforts to increase awards to Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises and to increase community engagement which will involve key stakeholders in the M/WBE community. As president of the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (CACCI), and as someone who has been involved in advocating on behalf of minority entrepreneurs, specifically promoting the need to increase the number of awards to MWBEs, the mayor’s announcement is a major step in the right direction which I am sure will help to create jobs and strengthen MWBEs, especially those in minority communities in New York City,” said Roy A. Hastick, Sr., President and CEO, Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc.

“I applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio on his initiative to create an Advisory Council to shape policy and strategy to increase awards to M/WBEs.  In a city of which over half the population are women and people of color, this type of initiative is long overdue and is welcome.  I wholeheartedly support Mayor de Blasio’s M/WBE initiative,” said Jackson Rockingster, President & CEO, Habnet Chamber of Commerce.

“The BTEA is looking forward to working with the M/WBE Advisory Committee and the administration in a public/private partnership to continue its efforts to grow M/WBE companies’ ability to grow their companies and prosper in the city's construction industry,” said Louis Coletti, President and CEO of the Building Trades Employers’ Association.

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