New York City is raising its goal for city contracts to minority- and women-owned business enterprises to $20 billion from $16 billion by the end of Fiscal 2025, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday.

New York City is ahead of schedule to hit the OneNYC MWBE goal, which was originally set in 2015. Since then, the city has awarded about $7.8 billion in contracts to MWBEs, $1.8 billion more than initially projected.

De Blasio also announced an increase in the maximum amount on the city’s Contract Financing Loan Fund. This program lets MWBEs and small businesses get access to affordable loans, which currently can total up to $500,000. Starting this summer, MWBEs and small businesses will be able to get loans up to $1 million a year at a 3% interest rate.

Jonnel Doris, Director of the New York City’s Office of MWBEs
Jonnel Doris is director of the New York City’s Office of MWBEs.

Since the launch of the loan fund in 2017, the city has lent over $6 million to more than 30 businesses, which allowed these businesses to work on $37 million worth of city jobs. Around 90% of these businesses are city-certified MWBEs.

“MWBEs are an essential part of the city’s economy, and I thank Mayor de Blasio and Deputy Mayor Thompson for their leadership in the making the MWBE program a priority,” said Jonnel Doris, Director of the Mayor’s Office of MWBEs. “We are glad to report that we are ahead of schedule on our OneNYC goal by $1.8 billion, and we look forward to continuing this work in partnership with the MWBEs, who have been champions for the program, to create an economy that works for all.”

The increased loan limit will let MWBEs to perform on even more city contracts.

“I have said this before, and I’ll say it again: this city works best when all New Yorkers – regardless of race, gender or ethnicity – have the resources they need to contribute in our economy,” de Blasio said. “We are reaching historic highs when it comes to awarding contracts to MWBEs, and with our new OneNYC goal, we are reminding all available MWBEs interested in doing business with the city that we are in fact open for business.”

The city is continuing to certify qualified firms in order to hit the mayor’s goal of certifying 9,000 MWBEs by end of Fiscal 2019. The city has almost 6,000 certified MWBEs in its program now, a 50% increase since the beginning of the Administration.

“When we invest in minority and women entrepreneurs across New York City, we reinvest directly in our communities,” said J. Phillip Thompson, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives.

“Finding new and better ways to give more New Yorkers the opportunity to benefit from the vast resources the city spends on contracting is critical to making New York the fairest big city in America. Both facets of today’s announcement are important steps in exactly that direction,” said City Council Member Robert Cornegy, chair of the task force on MWBEs.

As of the end of the Fiscal 2018 second quarter, the city hit a 20% utilization rate on MWBEs. The city currently has a goal to award 30% of the value of city contracts to MWBEs by end of Fiscal 2021.

Chip Barnett

Chip Barnett

Chip Barnett is a journalist with more than 40 years of experience. Barnett is currently Senior Market Reporter for The Bond Buyer.