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Statewide MWBE Utilization Rate Climbs to 29.51%

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the utilization rate for New York State's Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises on state contracts increased to 29.51 percent during the 2019-20 Fiscal Year - representing $3.14 billion in contracts - once again achieving the highest rate in the nation. The announcement was made in conjunction with New York State's 10th Annual MWBE Forum, held virtually this year due to COVID-19. The Forum brings together business owners, community leaders, state officials and contractors' representatives to discuss state contracting opportunities and resources available to MWBEs. 


"New York's greatest strength is our diversity and we are committed to breaking down any barriers which have not only prevented us from reaching our full potential, but those that have allowed an uneven playing field to exist in the first place," Governor Cuomo said. "New York's nation-leading MWBE program shows just how impactful embracing our diversity can be, and if we are to recover from the economic hardships COVID-19 has placed at our doorstep, we must continue to make these types of strides which ensure everyone has an equal chance of helping New York build back better than ever." 


"We are committed to providing critical resources for business owners and entrepreneurs to connect with each other, share best practices, and make sure they have the tools they need," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. "As we continue to face challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are committed to building back better and building businesses better to create opportunities, jobs and strengthen our economy. New York continues to be a leader in economic empowerment and contracting opportunities for MWBEs, with our MWBE utilization rate increasing closer to our nation-leading goal of 30 percent and awarding more contracts to support MWBEs and businesses across the state."


In 2011, Governor Cuomo set a goal of utilizing MWBEs for 20 percent of state contracting, and two years later, that goal was surpassed. In 2014, Governor Cuomo raised the goal to 30 percent, the highest MWBE utilization target in the nation. In the years since, New York State has made real progress toward that goal, including achieving 29.51 percent utilization in the 2019-2020 Fiscal Year. 


In addition to these MWBE program achievements, as of August 31, contracts awarded to certified MWBEs at the LaGuardia Airport Redevelopment Program have exceeded $1.58 billion, the largest for any public-private partnership project in New York State. The major airport redevelopment project has also met Governor Cuomo's goal of 30 percent MWBE participation. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's $8 billion project, two-thirds of which is funded through private financing and existing passenger fees, broke ground four years ago in 2016. The new Terminal B is being built by LaGuardia Gateway Partners and its contractor, SkanskaWalsh. The new Terminal C is being built by Delta Air Lines. Over the past two years, Governor Cuomo has announced the opening of more than 50 percent of A Whole New LaGuardia Airport, including the opening of the new Terminal B Arrivals and Departures Hall in June of this year.


The key to the steady increase in New York State's utilization rate is the development of a sustainable, coordinated MWBE program that combines aggressive outreach to businesses, sustained engagement of state agencies and authorities, and robust technical assistance options for business owners. The wide breadth of resources available for MWBEs is highlighted at the state's annual MWBE Forum, now in its tenth installment. 


New York State Chief Diversity Officer Julissa Gutierrez said, "Thanks to Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York continues to promote and expand opportunities for minority-and-women-owned businesses and push towards our 30 percent state contracting goal. As a Latinx woman, I know firsthand of the barriers and obstacles we can face in today's economy. With today's announcement, we will continue to encourage greater inclusion and provide MWBEs with the tools they need to grow, succeed, and thrive in New York State, and I look forward to working with our MWBEs to support their visions." 


Empire State Development Acting Commissioner, and President and CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, "Under Governor Cuomo, New York State's economy has become more diverse and inclusive, leveling the playing field that businesses and business owners that have traditionally faced barriers. Our nation-leading utilization rate is proof that our efforts are working, and we will continue to encourage and support businesses of all sizes to promote economic growth across New York." 


The theme of this year's forum, "Building Businesses Better," celebrates 10 years of creating opportunities for MWBEs. The annual three-day event welcomes thousands of business owners, MWBEs, community leaders, state officials and contractors' representatives. Highlights from this year's forum include: 


Fifth Annual Carey Gabay Excellence and Innovation Awards 

Four New York State MWBE businesses were recognized as Carey Gabay Excellence and Innovation awardees. This honor, named for Carey Gabay, who served as an Assistant Counsel to Governor Cuomo and as First Deputy Counsel for Empire State Development before he was tragically killed in September 2015, celebrates New York certified MWBEs for their entrepreneurial spirit, commitment to innovation and efforts to strengthen their communities, principles that Carey Gabay lived during his service to New York State. 


The 2020 Carey Gabay Awardees for Excellence and Innovation as New York State certified MWBEs are: 

  • Chiang | O'Brien Architects (Ithaca, Tompkins County) 
  • Dagnachew and Associates, Inc. d/b/a Dagnachew Electric (Oceanside, Nassau County) 
  • ICP (Staten Island)  
  • ProfTech, LLC (Elmsford, Westchester County) 


Special Update on Article 15-A 

Article 15-A provides the legislative framework for the operations of New York State's MWBE Program. Hear firsthand from State leadership about the reauthorized program and the new rules and regulations set forth by the State that expand opportunities for New York State's certified MWBEs.  


NYS Access to Capital Programs and Other COVID-19 Funding Resources 

New York State continues to be at the forefront of small business support and recovery during COVID-19, and this session highlights the state's access to capital programs and other funding resources designed to assist MWBEs operate and grow their firms.  


Journey to Success: MWBE Procurement Best Practices 

This signature forum session shares New York State's MWBE business success stories and ways to access capital, innovative procurement approaches, strategic relationships and technical assistance programs that demonstrate business best practices.  


New York State Virtual Business Builder Boot Camp "How to" Series  

This series of four, on-demand sessions--NYS MWBE Certification Made Easy, How to Do Business with New York State, Open the 2020 NYS MWBE Contract Opportunities eBook, and Navigate the New York State Contract Reporter--provides attendees with what they need to be more strategic in New York State government procurements.  


Build Your Business with Top Projects In New York State 

Top Project sessions include key ventures that highlight New York State as a national economic development leader and one of the country's strongest advocates for MWBEs. Sessions will showcase the areas for significant state spending and substantial demand for qualified MWBEs, including: Opportunities at the MTA, Airports: LaGuardia and JFK, Belmont Park Redevelopment and Vital Brooklyn Initiative.  


To learn more about the New York State MWBE program, visit the MWBE website or call (212) 803-2414.