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Wednesday, 21 October 2009 15:06

 

“Not Business as Usual” – NYC Small Business Services Offers Opportunities for Minority and Women Businesses

By James Gesmundo, Viola Binua and Gil Vendiola

 


The playing field in doing business with the city government has been leveled for Minority-Owned and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE). The City has driven programs and initiatives to engage with MWBEs, and they certainly has oiled up the gears this time.


The Managing an Accounting Practice (MAP) Committee of the Queens/Brooklyn Chapter of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA) thru minority-owned CPA firms Padilla and Company, LLP; and Dadia Valles Vendiola, LLP organized a breakfast forum entitled “Business Opportunities for the Small Firms” last October 15. Eighteen professionals from the field of accounting and audit attended the well-received forum.

The principal speaker for the forum was Walter E. Maxwell, Director for External Affairs of the Division of Economic and Financial Opportunity at the NYC Department of Small Business Services. Maxwell discussed in thorough detail how the City of New York aims to develop strong partnerships with MWBEs.


“The City of New York is not doing business as usual”; Maxwell started the forum with strong conviction.


The City, as he discussed, has been improving to provide sufficient procurement opportunities to MWBEs. As mandated by a local law, the Office of the NYC Comptroller has taken steps to ensure that there is “equal and fair participation” with these enterprises.


“This is the ideal time to get to work with the City of New York”, Maxwell stated.


But he also discussed the challenges that lie. The Department of Small Business Services (DSBS) needs these small businesses to come out and be known. He discussed this as the process of certifying MWBEs. Companies looking to work with the City as a minority-owned or women-owned enterprise must provide proofs to be a certified MWBE.


Maxwell cited the many programs to aid in this certification process like the certification hotline, and the NYC Business Solutions Center.


Once certified, MWBEs enjoy a great deal of benefits like free advertising to Agencies needing services.


DSBS has about 98 classifications of commodities and services. From this, agencies needing services or goods can give out invitations to certified MWBEs. There is also an annual Procurement Fair where agencies of the city get to meet face to face with small businesses to discuss possible contract work.


“There is opportunity”, said Maxwell, who started in the department as a procurement specialist more than 10 years ago.


DSBS will also assist any certified MWBE who gets a solicitation from an agency from a program called “Breaking New Grounds”. This program aims to “close the deal” by helping small business fill out these invitations.


Indeed, after being certified as a MWBE, there is greater chance of getting to work with the city government.


“The City and the State has been good to us”, said Reynaldo Padilla, managing partner of Padilla and Company which is a certified MWBE.


For more information on the MWBE certification process of the Department of Small Business Services, the hotline is 212-513-6311.

 

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