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Final day to register for 10th annual Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Forum

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Wed, Nov 25th 2020 12:25 pm

Virtual event's theme, ‘Building Businesses Better,’ highlights 10 years of creating opportunities for MWBEs

Register online at www.nysmwbeforum.org

Gov. Andrew Cuomo today announced the final day of registration for New York state's 10th annual Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Forum. He urged those interested in participating to visit the event's website to sign up.

The forum, being held virtually Dec. 2-4, is New York state's largest annual business event for MWBEs, bringing together business owners, community leaders, state officials and contractors' representatives to discuss state contracting opportunities and learn about resources available to MWBEs. The event highlights Cuomo's efforts to create a level playing field for minority- and women-owned firms and increase their participation in New York state contracting. 

"For the past 10 years, New York state has focused on breaking barriers for all New Yorkers, and we've achieved this, in part, by maintaining the most aggressive MWBE program in the nation," Cuomo said. "This year, the economic impact of COVID-19 is being felt by businesses across the state, but we've seen how it has disproportionately affected communities of color and small businesses, making it critical that we keep fighting to level the playing field and ensure everyone has equal chance to help build New York's economy back better than ever."

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said, "The annual Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Forum is a critical resource for business owners and entrepreneurs to connect with each other, share best practices, and make sure they have the tools they need. As we continue to face challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are committed to building back better and building businesses better to create opportunities, jobs and strengthen our economy. New York continues to be a leader in economic empowerment and contracting opportunities for MWBEs, and we encourage participation in this forum to help break down barriers and ensure success."

In 2014, Cuomo set the nation's highest goal for MWBE procurement at 30% of state contracting. In fiscal year 2018-19, the state was on the cusp of achieving this goal, reaching 29.13% utilization and awarding more than $3 billion to MWBE firms. New York also has developed one of the largest public directories of certified MWBEs in the nation. Since he took office in 2011, more than $16 billion in state contracts has been awarded to MWBEs and more than 9000 MWBEs have been NYS certified.

The theme for this year's forum is "Building Businesses Better." Each day has a sub-theme – “Prepare, Identify, and Connect with Opportunities” – with a focus on providing MWBEs the tools they need to succeed. The virtual forum is designed to connect MWBEs with state contracting opportunities, technical assistance, business resources and increase engagement with New York agencies, authorities and prime contractors. This year, with businesses facing greater uncertainty due to COVID-19, the forum will serve as a virtual "one-stop shop," where attendees can connect with more than 150 virtual exhibit booths, over 40 on-demand and semi-live sessions and nearly 200 speakers.

New York State Chief Diversity Officer Julissa Gutierrez said, "Gov. Cuomo is dedicated to breaking down barriers and leveling the playing field for all New Yorkers. That commitment is backed up by the tremendous track record we have achieved for the state's minority and women-owned business community. For 10 years, the forum has been successfully connecting talented and entrepreneurial MWBEs with state contracting opportunities, and we're already at work on the eleventh."

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner, President and CEO-delegate Eric Gertler said, "This year has presented new challenges for businesses of all sizes across New York state, especially our minority- and women-owned business enterprises. This forum is a great opportunity for MWBEs to learn more about the services available and state's contracting opportunities in a virtual setting, and I would encourage interested businesses to register today."

Planned virtual sessions include: 

•Special update on Article 15-A: Article 15-A provides the legislative framework for the operations of New York state's MWBE program. Hear firsthand from state leadership about the reauthorized program and the new rules and regulations set forth by the state that expand opportunities for New York's certified MWBEs.

•NYS access to capital programs and other COVID-19 funding resources (COVID-19 technical assistance): New York continues to be at the forefront of small business support and recovery during COVID-19. This session will highlight the state's access to capital programs and other funding resources designed to assist MWBEs operate and grow their firms during this critical time.

•A special update on construction insurance: What MWBEs need to know. Insurance – the ability to secure coverages and bonding and obtain the correct coverages – are key to an MWBEs success. With spiraling insurance costs, learn what you need to know to secure coverage, the ins and outs of OCIPS and CSIPS, the types of coverages that owners require, and practical tips for improving your experience rating, and much more.

•“Building Your Business Better: Your MWBE Business Resource Toolkit”: What skills, resources and strategies will MWBEs need to grow and thrive in challenging economic environments? Six intensive on-demand webinars titled money, management, marketing, business development, competitive bids and teaming designed to provide businesses with the tools and resources to chance operations and management for the future.

•Virtual "In the Booth" meetings: This session provides a unique opportunity for MWBE firms to meet with key decision-makers from the private and public sectors. The 10-minute speed meetings will allow certified firms to introduce their companies and learn more about potential contracting opportunities.

•“What Do We Need? A Report from NYS Government Agencies and Authorities”: As capital budgets, as well as agency and authority priorities, continue to evolve, this key session will provide attendees with the opportunity to hear first-hand what New York decision-makers are looking for from certified MWBEs and where to find new opportunities.

•“Journey to Success: MWBE Procurement Best Practices”: This signature forum session is designed to share New York's MWBE business success stories in three components: agency; prime and subcontractors. Learn more about MWBEs on state contracts and ways to access capital, innovative procurement approaches, strategic relationships and technical assistance programs that demonstrate business best practices.

•New York state virtual business builder boot camp "how to" series: This series of four, on-demand sessions – “NYS MWBE Certification Made Easy,” “How to Do Business with New York State,” “Open the 2020 NYS MWBE Contract Opportunities eBook” and “Navigate the New York State Contract Reporter” –provide attendees with what they need to be more strategic in New York government procurements.

•Take the lead with top projects in New York state: Top project sessions include key ventures that highlight New York state as a national economic development leader and one of the country's strongest advocates for MWBEs. Sessions will showcase the areas for significant state spending and substantial demand for qualified MWBEs, including: opportunities at the MTA, airports: LaGuardia and JFK, Belmont Park Redevelopment and Vital Brooklyn Initiative.

New Yorkers are encouraged to register before this evening's deadline and attend the forum to learn more about the state's top projects and billions of dollars of potential contracting opportunities. More information is available at www.nysmwbeforum.org.

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