Expos provide information & resources to help minority- and women-owned businesses compete for state contracts
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday announced New York state will host five events as part of the 2021 Regional Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprises Online Opportunities Expo Series. The expos – which will connect MWBEs with New York agencies, expert resources, information on state projects, and tools to access state contracting opportunities – will run from June to August.
A press release stated, “As New York state is building back better, this series of expos will highlight opportunities and resources in each region throughout the state. The 2021 Regional MWBE Online Opportunities Expos Series comes months after Gov. Cuomo announced the statewide MWBE utilization rate reached 29.51% in fiscal year 2019-20.”
Cuomo said, "New York state's entrepreneurs are finding ways to build back our economy as we continue to recover from the COVID-19 crisis and we must continue to ensure that every New Yorker has the same opportunity to succeed – and that starts with making sure that businesses owned by women and New Yorkers of color have the same opportunities to compete for state contracts. In New York, we are ensuring MWBEs have the all the resources they need to continue on the path to success."
The 2021 NYS Regional MWBE Online Opportunities Expo Series, sponsored by Empire State Development's division of minority and women's business development, will feature an online experience with panel discussions, information on regional projects, workshops on special topics and other business development resources. The expos will also include information about state-sponsored financial and technical assistance programs, including the New York Forward Loan Fund the Bridge to Success Loan Program, and the New York State Surety Bond Assistance Program.
"As someone who helped start several women-owned businesses, I know the challenges in finding capital and the many other hurdles that exist," Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said. "As we look to the postpandemic future, our investment in minority- and women- owned business enterprises will break down systemic barriers, help women and minority entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level, and bring us closer to achieving full equality for all."
ESD Acting Commissioner and President and CEO-Designate Eric Gertler said, "New York's MWBE program has the most aggressive utilization rate in the nation because we have an obligation to make sure our women- and minority-owned businesses have an equal opportunity to compete on state contracts. Every year, state agencies and authorities spend billions of dollars on goods and services – and our MWBE program is working to ensure the companies bidding on those contracts reflect the diversity of our great state."
Chief Diversity Officer Julissa Gutierrez said, "After a year of hardship brought on by COVID-19, it is crucial to build the state's economy back better and stronger than it's ever been before. In providing minority- and women-owned business enterprises with tools and resources that will take their businesses to new heights, New York is leading the way by investing in its greatest strength – its diversity. The online opportunities series has proven itself to be a great asset in connecting MWBEs with regional projects that allow New York state's diverseness to shine from Long Island's beaches to Western New York's falls."
A press release stated, “Increasing the utilization of MWBE firms in state contracting is key to the success of New York's MWBE program. In 2014, Gov. Cuomo set a 30% state utilization goal for MWBEs – the highest such goal in the nation. In fiscal year 2019-20, MWBE utilization increased to 29.51% with MWBEs securing $3.14 billion in state contracts – up from less than 10% and under $100 million in 2010.
“Under Gov. Cuomo's leadership, over 8,000 MWBEs have been certified since 2011. The New York State Directory of Certified Firms currently includes nearly 9,000 certified firms and is one of the largest listings of MWBE firms ready, willing and able to perform on public contracts in the nation.”
Locally, the 2021 Regional Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises Online Opportunities Expo Series is set for Wednesday, June 9, in the Finger Lakes and Western New York. To learn more, visit esd.ny.gov/MWBE.html.