New York City is committed to encouraging a fair, competitive, and diverse business environment, supporting the growth and success of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs), and fostering a procurement process that is accessible to all businesses. Mayor Eric Adams’ “Renew, Rebuild, Reinvent: A Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery” plan aims to “support small businesses, entrepreneurship, and a more equitable economy.”
It’s been said that the city will aggressively pursue increased Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises utilization in over $30 billion annual public procurement to “help small M/WBEs increase their capacity to win larger contracts and take on the ‘disparity within the disparity”, by overhauling how the city interacts with small businesses, helping them grow, promoting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) as well as immigrant entrepreneurship, investing in neighborhoods, and pursuing Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises procurement reforms.
What are New York City government’s plans to dramatically increase the City’s M/WBE spending?
- Increase small Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises’ capacity to win government contracts, taking on the “disparity within the disparity” and helping business owners who have historically received fewer opportunities in M/WBE contracting.
- Upgrade Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises' oversight, data collection, and compliance to improve outcomes, making crucial improvements to its data systems and rolling out agency dashboards so that contracting departments across the city can improve oversight, enforcement, and analysis as well as better support Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises.
- Raise the discretionary threshold for the Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises Noncompetitive Small Purchase method to $1.5 million. Based on current practices, if approximately half of the contracts in the $500,000 - $1.5 million range were awarded to Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises, it would represent a potential increase of approximately $88 million per fiscal year in direct awards.
- Build out the Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises Program at the New York City Housing Authority, a $2 billion procurement budget. The Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises will work closely with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to implement M/WBE Prequalified Lists (PQLs), launch a comprehensive vendor mentorship and apprenticeship program, and improve NYCHA’s vendor outreach and communications.
- Expand the use of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises-only Pre-Qualified Lists (PQLs). The Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises will partner with City agencies to strategically identify contracting areas that have a high number of proven Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises firms, build out and maintain a list of prequalified firms and get contracts in the pipeline that use these PQLs.
- Advocate for Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises certification reciprocity. NYC government will amend Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises program rules to recognize the Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises status of firms certified as Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises by other governmental entities—provided that those entities’ eligibility criteria align with those of the city, and the firms are located within the city’s geographic market.
- Launch the NYC Small Business Opportunity Fund, the largest public-private loan fund directed at small businesses in the city’s history, offers loans of up to $250,000 to eligible small businesses with a market-leading interest rate of four percent until it reaches $75 million.
As further expanded upon in the first quarter of FY 2023 City's Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises Program report, M/WBEs were awarded over $220 million in prime contracts subject to the M/WBE program and over $89 million in eligible subcontracts.
In order to keep numbers up, the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) is:
1. Expanding the base of certified firms, emerging “Business Enterprise Program” (EBE) to promote procurement opportunities to disadvantaged businesses.
2. Boosting the “Locally-based Enterprise Program” (LEP), designed to promote the growth of small construction firms through greater access to contracting opportunities with the city.
3. Helping Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises to understand the city's procurement rules, procurement portals, how to respond to requests, and best practices in contract management.
4. Expanding opportunities for Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises by connecting them to a comprehensive range of programs that provide procurement technical assistance and capacity-building support.
5. Conducting agency training sessions online to ensure that all agency staff responsible for purchasing activities are knowledgeable about the M/WBE program and their agency’s goals.
The opportunities for M/WBEs are endless. We are convinced there are initiatives, programs, and tools that can significantly contribute to boosting them to promote the local economy.
For instance, Glass Commerce, an e-commerce government platform that facilitates micro-purchases for government agencies around the U.S., provides a fair and transparent playing field for small Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises and government buyers. Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises can easily and quickly offer their products and services to government agencies, without contracts or bidding processes. This is especially advantageous for small businesses, which often face challenges when trying to sell to government agencies.
If you are a Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise aiming to break into the government market or a government buyer dedicated to achieving government goals and promoting minority inclusion in the government market, we encourage you to revisit this post and check out www.commerce.glass.