Applications open for NYC’s M/WBE mentoring program until May 15

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New York Construction Report staff writer

Qualifying firms must be in the construction industry, have been in business for at least one year and certified by the department of small business services (SBS) as an M/WBE or “small business” (an independently owned and operated non-M/WBE with average annual gross earnings between $150,000 and $500,000 during the last three calendar years).

The program, which has 49 firms as part of its first cohort, is the first of its type for a New York City mayoral agency.

Businesses interested in the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC)’s Mentoring Program should register as a “Bidder/Proposer/Mentor” at https://ddcanywhere.nyc, click on the Mentoring Access Portal (MAP) icon and complete the Eligibility Screening Questionnaire to determine if they meet the preliminary qualifications. Upon completion and preliminary qualification approval, businesses will receive access to the Mentoring Program application.

“The response to our new mentoring program has been remarkable and we are thrilled to have awarded our first contract under the program,” said DDC Commissioner Thomas Foley. “Government contracting is a valuable business opportunity and companies want to know how to compete for those contracts and how to complete them successfully and efficiently.

“By helping M/WBEs and smaller firms we are not only correcting historic inequities but we’re increasing competition for our contracts and making ourselves more responsive to the needs of all the different communities we serve. We will continue to find ways to promote these firms and expand the industry.”

The program features two tiers and each firm will spend four years in each tier beginning in Tier 1, which offers exclusive opportunities to bid on exclusive construction projects valued up to $1.5 million. Afterwards, firms can then enroll in the Graduate Mentoring Program (Tier 2) and compete for projects valued up to $3 million. Firms will also have access to a network of construction businesses and exclusive networking events as well as trainings and other resources to improve their ability to successfully work with New York City agencies.

Qualifying firms are in the construction industry, have been in business for at least one year and are certified by the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) as an M/WBE or “small business” (an independently owned and operated non-M/WBE with average annual gross earnings between $150,000 and $500,000 during the last three calendar years).

Jose Fernando Garcia, owner of Approved General Contracting of Mineola created his business 20 years ago after moving to New York City from South America. The firm was recently awarded the first exclusive contract under DDC’s mentoring program to investigate and document the structural integrity of the Bellevue Men’s Shelter in Manhattan for a DDC project that will reconstruct the shelter’s atrium.

“I’m thankful to be selected as part of the first cohort for DDC’s new M/WBE Mentoring program,” said Garcia. “The program offers great tools for minorities and small businesses such as support from consultants and project managers.”

Firms now have opportunities to be a general contractor on a project instead of a subcontractor.

“If a firm or small business is genuinely interested and ready to work with the City, opportunities are available,” said Garcia. “You have to work hard and show your worth as you would in any other industry. Take pride in the work being done and make sure that you are consistent and meticulous from start to finish on projects.

“I’m also part of the mentoring programs offered by the MTA and SCA and much of my drive comes from the opportunities that are available to do work with them and to learn.”

DDC  is responsible for much of the City’s contracting opportunities for M/WBE firms and in the first quarter of the current Fiscal Year 2023 had an M/WBE utilization rate of 31 percent. In Fiscal Year 2022, DDC’s awarded contracts valued at more than $515 million to M/WBEs, representing more than one-third of the M/WBE contract awards for the year. In Fiscal Year 2021, M/WBE firms won 334 total contracts with DDC worth $660 million, a M/WBE usage rate of 25.6 percent.

To learn more visit Certify With the City.

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