City of New York’s M/WBE Program Triumphant in Passage of New Participation Laws

MWBE bill passage in Albany

Approved by New York State Legislature in mid-June, a package of bills recently signed into law overwhelmingly expands New York’s Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) Program. The most celebrated term of these laws includes an ample increase for the City’s M/WBE Noncompetitive Small-Purchase to $500,000 per procurement (previously $150K for NYC agencies). Championed by political leaders such as NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and prominent M/WBE business owners such as QED National President Colleen Molter, the new diversity law aims to strengthen opportunities across the M/WBE community.

“Our city is fairer and more vibrant when everyone—regardless of race, gender or ethnicity—has an opportunity to participate in our economy,” de Blasio says, “We managed to once again expand economic opportunity for people who have historically been left out.”

New York reaffirms the commitment made to its record-setting M/WBE program of over 9,000 certified firms, by increasing access to projects of larger size and scope. Through discretionary purchase options, M/WBE vendors and purchasing agents are able to streamline the procurement process with added efficiency. A short list of benefits enacted for the City with this new law includes (but is not limited to):

• Increasing M/WBE Noncompetitive Small-Purchase threshold to $500,000 for goods, services, and construction
• Allowing the NYC agencies to create pre-qualified lists exclusively for M/WBEs
• Authorizing an M/WBE mentorship program for NYC Department of Design and Construction
• Authorizing NYC M/WBE procurement vehicles for NYC Department of Education and NYC School Construction Authority

“Increasing participation of women and minority-owned businesses, increasing opportunities and safeguarding against fraudulent practices,” State Senator and bill co-sponsor Kevin Parker says, “is critical to growing our economy.”

Systemic barriers have long prevented M/WBE firms from equal opportunities to conduct business with Government entities, but due to this recent expansion, New York is amplifying its dedication to rectifying economic disparities.

“I would like to thank Mayor de Blasio, the Mayor’s Office of M/WBEs, the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services, NYC Small Business Services and elected officials for getting this legislation passed,” Molter says, “This is exactly the kind of change we need to strengthen our communities in New York City.”