NEW YORK - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg today launched the Corporate Alliance Program, a new initiative that will connect certified Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) to contracting and capacity-building opportunities in the private sector.
Every year since the Bloomberg Administration retooled New York City’s M/WBE program in 2006, the value of contracts awarded to M/WBEs have risen, including an increase of 47 percent in 2010 to $714 million, but the program focused only on public contracts.
The 11 founding partners of the Corporate Alliance Program – Accenture, American Express, BNY Mellon, Colgate-Palmolive, Citigroup, Columbia University, Con Edison, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, IBM and National Grid – will make their contracting opportunities available to the program’s recruiting service for M/WBE suppliers, and collectively they will contribute staffing and financial resources, host training sessions and events, and participate in mentor programs.
Like the City’s existing M/WBE program, the Corporate Alliance Program will be operated by the Department of Small Business Services. Mayor Bloomberg announced the new program in Manhattan at the 31st Annual Gala of One Hundred Black Men.
“Since our Administration revamped the City’s M/WBE program in 2006, minority- and women-owned businesses have won more business every year, including a 25 percent increase in 2009 even as total contracts declined, and a 47 percent increase last year. But we can and will do more,” said Mayor Bloomberg.
The Mayor added, “By teaming up with some of New York City’s major corporate citizens, we’ll expand our M/WBE efforts to include private sector opportunities. Becoming a supplier to a large corporation adds credibility and stability to a small business while increasing its revenue, and we want New York City’s minority and women-owned companies to benefit from New York City’s strong and civic-minded business climate.”
The Department of Small Business Service has worked with the 11 participating corporations to establish four initiatives to connect City-certified firms to opportunities in the private sector.
These initiatives include a corporate skills training program to educate M/WBEs about doing business with the private sector; a recruitment service to match qualified M/WBE firms to specific opportunities with the founding companies; a mentorship program to strengthen minority and women business leaders; and a citywide construction training program for certified construction firms that will enable them to compete for work among university campuses and corporate facilities.
Once the program is underway, companies in addition to the 11 founding partners will have an opportunity to join as participants.
“We do everything possible to connect certified M/WBEs to opportunities to sell to the City,” said Small Business Services Commissioner Robert W. Walsh.
Walsh added, “Building your portfolio and diversifying your client list is key to becoming more competitive and the Corporate Alliance Program will offer this edge to our M/WBEs who need help building capacity. Thank you to our founding partners for their support and commitment to the program and the City of New York.”
“The Corporate Alliance Program is another initiative that will only further help our Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises,” said New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn.
Quinn went on to say, “By offering additional staffing and financial resources and training sessions, this will give these business owners the extra line of support that they need. I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg for his continued efforts in helping Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises.”
“Diversity is good for business, and a strong business community is vital to our economic recovery,” said Senate Democratic Leader John L. Sampson. “Expanding opportunities for Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises beyond public contracts and into the private sector will create a more competitive economic environment and is an historic step in the right direction.
Sampson continued, "I wholeheartedly support Mayor Bloomberg and the Corporate Alliance Program, as I have the efforts of Governors Cuomo and Paterson to bolster MWBE’s that will create the jobs we need to grow our economy.”
“This is a major step that will not only strengthen MWBE's but will promote community revitalization and job creation,” said Council Member Inez E. Dickens. “My colleague, Council Member Leroy Comrie and I, with the support of Speaker Quinn have created a MWBE roundtable discussion group led by Rev. Jacque DeGraff.
Dickens added, "I want to thank all of the MWBE business professionals who volunteered their time and made important recommendations. Most importantly, I feel that we need to keep networking, talking, listening and building solutions with private sector partnerships such as the Mayor is proposing that I hope will bring about economic recovery for our city, state and nation.”
“This is great news! At a time when M/WBE's are struggling, this venture will boost their morale and hopefully their businesses,” said Council Member Robert Jackson, Co-Chair of NYCC Black, Latino and Asian Caucus.
Councilman Jackson added, “I applaud the private sector for offering additional opportunities to our certified minority- and women-owned businesses. This is definitely a step in the right direction.”
“The Corporate Alliance program is one of the best initiatives thus far implemented by the Bloomberg Administration, which will greatly assist Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises with contracting opportunities,” said Council Member Letitia James.
James continued, “The capacity building that will be in place as well, through the Department of Small Business Services’ management of the program, creates a win-win situation for all involved – the M/WBEs, the 11 founding partners, and the City of New York.”
The City’s Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise Program, certifies, promotes, and fosters the growth of the City’s minority and women-owned businesses and eligible small construction and construction-related businesses.
Companies that become certified obtain greater access to and information about contracting opportunities, receive technical assistance to better compete for those opportunities, and benefit from inclusion in the City’s Online Directory of Certified Firms.
Since the program was initiated in 2006, more than 26,000 contracts have been awarded to City-certified firms, valued at nearly $1.9 billion and the number of certified firms has more than doubled to over 3,000.
In FY 2007, the first full year of the program, M/WBEs won subcontracts worth $59.2 million, or 7 percent of the value of total City subcontracts. That rose to $127.5 million and 16 percent in FY 2008, $180.4 million and 19 percent in FY 2009 and $381.9 million and 30 percent in FY 2010.
In 2005, Mayor Bloomberg signed Local Law 129, creating a new Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) Program. Once the law was signed, the Department of Small Business Services built a program dedicated to promoting fairness and equity in City procurement processes.