Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, has long seen small businesses in the city as an opportunity for economic growth for persons who will make themselves eligible through the City’s entrepreneurship programs. Thus the new piece of state legislation passed by New York State Senators and the State Assembly Members in late June to expand funding to the MWBE program, was encouraging news to the team at the New York City Small Business Services and more so to the Mayor’s Office of Minorities / Women Business Enterprises (MWBE).
The bill, passed by a margin of 63 to 0 in the Senate, and 115 to 15 in the State Assembly, awaits the signature of New York’s Governor, Andrew Cuomo. The piece of legislation would increase discretionary funding for MWBE certified members in the City. The legislation is seen as a leeway for more minorities and women to obtain more cash flow for their businesses. The Bill de Blasio administration, through its Senior Director for the MWBE, Jonnel Doris, said that over 5,000 small businesses are already registered with the MWBE and asked that more small businesses in the City become certified through the program and maximized on the possibilities of how their businesses can grow through the MWBE program. The director of the Office of M / WBEs and senior advisor explained that loans are available to assist these small business owners who face challenges in their operational finances.
The legislation is welcoming news to the administration also because as noted by Doris, the Office of MWBE is working towards awarding 30 percent of the value of city contracts to M / WBEs and increasing the number of city-certified M / WBEe. The administration hopes to increase city-certified M / WBEs to 9,000, from its current level of just over 5,000 city-certified M / WBEs. Doris announced also that there was an increase in contract agreements, an increase from eight percent to 19 percent in the program. “This is a milestone for small businesses in New York City,” said Doris. “Such resources to business owners in the city are helpful and provide employment and helps enhance growth and sustain the businesses,” Doris added.
In commenting further on the effectiveness of the MWBE program and how the new bill could propel the work of business owners, Doris called on the Caribbean small business owners to take advantage of the resources at the MWBE program and become certified and align their businesses with work of the City’s minorities and women business programs. He said that had this program existed when his mother was establishing her business, it would have benefited her, a Guyanese woman who owned a small business in New York City. “The work is very dear to me. Caribbean small businesses should utilize its resources, it is an expansion for discretionary funds,” he explained.
Agencies and prime contractors can spend up to $150,000 for goods and services provided by M / WBEs without having to go through a lenghty competitive bidding process, up from $20,000.
New York State Senator, Marisol Alcantara and State Assemblywoman, Alicia Hydman tabled the legislation which is seen as a landmark MWBE bill.