NYC passes goal of awarding $25 billion in contracts to M/WBEs

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New York Construction Report staff writer

New York City has surpassed a 10-year OneNYC goal to award $25 billion in contracts to minority- and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBE) by 2025 — three years ahead of schedule.

“I am committed to expanding opportunities by building economic on-ramps for our minority- and women-owned business owners,” Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement. “I am thrilled that we have achieved the city’s 10-year goal of awarding $25 billion in contracts to M/WBEs three years ahead of schedule. These billions of dollars will build equity, boost recovery, and create opportunity for M/WBEs. This is how we ‘Get Stuff Done’ and fight inequality right here in our own city.”

New York City’s M/WBE program was created to address the disparity between city contracts awarded to certain ethnic and gender groups as compared to their availability in the relevant marketplace. New York City believes that contractors should reflect the diversity of our city, and that diversity provides opportunities for all of our communities, helps spark innovation, strengthens engagement, and drives continuous improvement.

In total, city agencies and authorities awarded more than $6 billion dollars to M/WBEs in FY22 — an increase of approximately 50 percent compared to FY21. This included approximately $1.4 billion dollars in FY22 contract awards under Local Law 1, which governs the city’s M/WBE program. This marked an increase of 18 percent compared to FY21.

“As we collectively work our way towards a full economic recovery, this year’s procurement fair symbolizes our city’s resilience and ability to meet almost any challenge,” said Johnny Celestin, deputy director of operations, New York City Mayor’s Office of Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises.

“Our city’s M/WBEs embody that resilience, and the procurement fair is an excellent opportunity to connect certified M/WBEs with the many opportunities to contract with the city. These opportunities result in billions of dollars going directly to M/WBEs, creating jobs and growing the local economies where they work. We are proud to celebrate our program’s 30th anniversary and look forward to building on its strong foundation.”

The number is expected to climb in 2023, thanks to legislative reforms and new programs introduced this year include:

  • The new M/WBE-only pre-qualified list (PQL) at New York City’s Department of Design and Construction.
  • Expanded curricula and access to a larger city pipeline for ConstructNYC — a training and technical assistance program that readies small-to-midsized M/WBEs in the construction trades to bid on city capital projects.
  • SBS has established an M/WBE Mentors program, the first peer mentorship program for New York City’s M/WBEs.
  • Reforms to PASSport to increase transparency, better track M/WBE spending, and increase compliance with M/WBE subcontracting requirements.

“The city contracts we award should match the beautifully diverse make-up of our neighbors and the businesses that provide for our communities,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso.

“The $25 billion award goal to M/WBEs was an exciting commitment when it was first launched, and fulfilling it early is even more energizing. Let’s keep this momentum going for M/WBEs. I look forward to supporting Mayor Adams and SBS as we collectively prove just how above-and-beyond we can go for our minority- and women-owned businesses.”

Hosted at the Barclays Center, New York City’s Annual M/WBE Procurement Fair was attended by more than 1,500 city-certified minority- and women-owned businesses, and over 80 city and state agencies, public authorities, and prime vendors.

This year is the 30th anniversary of New York City’s M/WBE program, an initiative created under Mayor David Dinkins, the city’s first Black mayor, in 1992.

“We are honored to be hosting the 2022 procurement fair at Barclays Center,” said Clara Wu Tsai, founder, Social Justice Fund. “Our arena’s business diversity program is a priority for us and has been a great vehicle for recruiting M/WBE vendors.

“We are big believers in the transformative impact that this procurement fair can have on economic mobility for individuals, businesses, and communities. In fact, Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Nets, and New York Liberty are represented in full force as enthusiastic contractors looking to do business with the entrepreneurs here today.”

Firms interested in starting the M/WBE certification process or participating in M/WBE programming can learn more by calling 311, visiting nyc.gov/getcertified, or visiting one of the city’s seven New York City Business Solutions Centers located in all five boroughs.

“As the author of both the city and state laws on M/WBEs, I take great pride in the city passing its goal,” said New York State Senator James Sanders Jr. “It speaks to the hard work and persistent commitment of agencies and individual involvement in this noble undertaking.

“However, more work needs to be done to increase the percentage of government contracts awarded to M/WBEs in this minority-majority city. We also need to ensure that all M/WBE communities fairly benefit. Until government contracts are awarded in proportion to the city’s population and the number of M/WBEs, our work is not done.”

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