NYC mayor signs order to aid women-, minority-owned businesses

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio issued an executive order Tuesday that aims to improve the city’s use of minority- and women-owned business enterprises.

“Our city works best when everyone — regardless of race, gender or ethnicity — has the resources they need to participate in our economy,” de Blasio said. “With these programs, we’re bringing business opportunities directly to diverse and talented New Yorkers who provide our city with a variety of goods and services.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio at City Hall.

The city will expand the pool of contracts subject to the MWBE program and create more opportunities for MWBEs to win procurements.

The order also creates a chief diversity officer in all city agencies.

“I applaud the Mayor's decision to act on our call for change by ordering a CDO in each agency. This move clears a path for progress that will finally address the biases baked into our contracting processes and make sure our spending reflects our values,” said City Comptroller Scott Stringer. “As we rebuild our economy after the devastation of COVID-19, the work of a CDO is needed more than ever.”

According to a recent survey by the Comptroller’s Office, 85% of city-certified MWBEs report they cannot survive the next six months given their current cash on hand.

"New York City agencies spend almost $20 billion a year on everything from pens and paper to consulting services and construction, yet less than 5% of those contracts are awarded to MWBEs,” Stringer said. “We must ensure that our recovery represents the full diversity of our city, our economy, and its people.”

De Blasio’s order also encourages all city agencies to procure goods, services and construction from MWBEs for amounts up to $500,000 and increases oversight for high-value projects.

The city will see that MWBEs will continue to be involved in the city’s response to the ongoing state of emergency by ensuring agencies set MWBE participation goals for contracts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and by requiring every city agency that is conducting procurement in response to the emergency must consider at least one quote from a MWBE before awarding the contract.

“These directives will help level the playing field for black and brown entrepreneurs so they can build and grow businesses that stabilize our local communities with good-paying jobs and contribute to the vibrancy of our city,” said New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray.

The new programs will be managed by the Department of Small Business Services in coordination with the Office of Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises and community partners.

Jonnel Doris, Commissioner of the Dept. of Small Business Services

“MWBE policy is about ensuring that the city's commitment to diversity is reflected in its spending and these changes are ensuring our MWBEs are moving forward,” said Jonnel Doris, commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services and co-chair of the Small Business Subcommittee of the Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity. “Today, we continue our commitment to level the playing field and create fairer systems, making NYC more equitable for all."

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City of New York, NY MWBEs Bill de Blasio Scott Stringer