New York City Doubles Its Contracts With Minority-Owned Firms

  • Spending hits $1 billion, up from $400 million in 2015
  • $30 million in loan programs seeking private funds to grow

Minority- and women-owned businesses, a particular area of focus for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, received more than $1 billion in city contracts last year, more than double the 2015 total.

Up from $400 million in 2015, the increase means the so-called MWBE (minority- and women-owned business enterprises) firms now account for 11 percent of city procurement, said Deputy Mayor Richard Buery. To help get to de Blasio’s stated goal of 30 percent, the city is allocating $30 million worth of funding to three loan programs designed to help small businesses compete for city contracts.

“New York City buys so much – on an average of $15 billion to $20 billion in spending last year," Buery said. "That is a tremendous, tremendous leverage point to encourage businesses led by women and people of color.”

About 5,100 MWBE businesses are registered with the city of New York. The city is working with private banks to make more loans available to help companies for development, operations or bonding, Buery said.

“One of the big things that we hear all the time is that MWBEs aren’t able to compete in part because they’re not able to access the capital,” said Buery, who took over a consolidated MWBE office a year ago said. “It’s especially important when you’re working with the city, where there are lots of very important obstacles that you face when it comes to getting paid.”

The city has also tried to streamline the process for small business certification, he said, adding that checks and balances are required to make sure the contracts aren’t going to shell companies.

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