SSNew York City is one of the most diverse metropolitans in the United States, but the business sector is whiter than ever. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer released a report indicating a paradoxical business trend.  Minority and women-owned business firms are earning more city contract certifications, but more white-owned firms are cashing in on the multibillion-dollar industry.

Stringer’s office contacted 500 city-certified firms and found only 25.5 percent of minority and women-owned firms won a contract in 2012. This is disappointing progress for New York City.

“The bad news is we’re still falling short where it counts — which is getting contracts into the hands of the minority and women-owned businesses,” Stringer explained to the New York Daily News.

The New York City Council passed Local Law 129 in 2009, which created the Minority and Women-owned Businesses Enterprise (M/WBEs) Certification Program. It was designed to encourage a level playing field for minority and women-owned businesses while also boosting the city’s economy.

Local Law 129 had five core objectives:

  • Reach out to eligible companies
  • Simplify and facilitate certification
  • Foster business growth
  • Equip buyers to find certified companies
  • Hold agencies accountable

All of them were met in the beginning and the program was deemed a success in 2011. M/WBEs had earned more than 4,000 contracts valued at more than $160 million. However the progress has slowed since the 2011 report was issued.

NYC’s comptroller John Liu found less than 2 percent of city contracts were awarded to M/WBEs in 2012, leading to a MWBE Report Card to gauge the percentage of contracts issued. Improvement is clear, but there’s still progress to be made.

Stringer claims these low statistics are spurred by confusing applications, an experience gap between new and experienced companies and overwhelming processes.

“The city is not doing enough to help the businesses navigate the bid process, which remains too complicated and too time consuming,” Stringer said.

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  • Common Sense

    If BLACK contractors are too STUPID to go after the contracts and don’t the work properly, then NO don’t give them a contract. LOCK them up for stealing and selling drugs. NOBODY is going to give them a free ride and the competition between other races has gotten heated up by immigration. Hispanics are taking Blacks places and it’s Blacks own fault. LAZY, DUMB, SHIFTLESS, NEGROS need to be in JAIL or PRISON.

  • This goes to show that while the implementation of laws helps at first, we really have to increase our network.
    Network importance stems from the simple fact that people want to give jobs and contracts to people they know. The network is the key informers (family members, friends, professors, colleagues, employers, etc.) who supply us with important information about labor market opportunities.
    In the long run, continually connecting with potential business partners in and out of our community and showing them that we are up for the job is what will make our businesses grow.

    Our Diversity at Work.

  • justanotheropinion

    Having worked for a WMBE years ago, it’s a tough gig to get city/govt contracts. WMBE’s are traditionally smaller companies. They don’t have the same (i.e. vast) workforce and resources to draw from. They also don’t have the financial cushion necessary to take a job that may provide a smaller (or negative) profit margin in the beginning, but can pay off down the line (a year or so into the contract). Because they are smaller, it is also tougher to find areas to cut enough “fat’ in order to make your bid for the business competitive. In fact, many WMBE’s need to submit a bid that provides them almost NO profit just to make it into the final stages of the review process, only to find that they were still higher than the others. Many WMBE’s have found that one way in is to partner with a large white owned firm in order to garner some of the business. That is tough to do as many lg. white firms don’t want to do that – simply cuts into their profit.

    Sadly, finding out about contracts going out for bid is the easy part – actually being competitive enough to win a contract is the stumbling block.