Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Robert W. Walsh today announced the creation of the New York City Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) Procurement Alliance to increase opportunities for City-certified M/WBEs. The Fortune 500 companies that have partnered with the City will allow certified firms to bid on contracts through their M/WBE-type programs. Companies in the Alliance to date include Altria, Colgate, IBM, JPMorgan Chase, Macy's, NBC Universal and Pfizer. Collectively, these companies represent $30 billion in purchasing power. Mayor Bloomberg also announced the formation of the M/WBE Advisory Board that will play a leadership role in advising SBS on all policies and programs that impact the community. Mayor Bloomberg made the announcement as part of the keynote address at the 11th Annual Competitive Edge Conference, a two-day event sponsored by several public agencies and private organizations to promote business opportunities for small, minority- and women-owned firms in the metropolitan area.

"The M/WBE Procurement Alliance is a significant step forward in our commitment to increase opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses both in the public and private sector," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Since signing Executive Order 36 fourteen months ago, the number of invitations to bid for City jobs received by certified M/WBE's has increased by 300% - from an average of 2,300 to 9,000 per month. The Fortune 500 companies in the Alliance will help us to build on that progress by providing additional incentives for eligible firms to certify with SBS. And in partnering with the corporate community, we have opened the door for City-certified M/WBEs to bid on over $30 billion in annual purchasing power."

"The Alliance takes our M/WBE program to the next level," said Commissioner Walsh. "In the past year, we have created procurement policies to make it easier for more companies to bid on contracts, simplified the certification process, partnered with other certifying agencies and introduced the latest technology to help promote M/WBEs. Now, we can help certified firms put their best foot forward right at the doorstep of some of this country's most successful Fortune 500 companies. In addition, our diverse Advisory Board will be invaluable in driving our program to create even more opportunities to help M/WBEs thrive in New York City."

In the past, City certification of a company's M/WBE status (proof that at least 51% of the company is owned by a woman or minority) has given firms access to the purchasing power of the City, approximately $7 billion annually. The M/WBE Procurement Alliance now allows certified firms to access the diversity programs and purchasing power of participating companies as well. M/WBEs benefit by getting certified with SBS, which helps them to market their businesses to City agencies, regional agencies and authorities, construction developers, prime contractors, and other public and private organizations. Certification also provides increased networking opportunities and exposure to key purchasing agents, expanded information about procurement opportunities in New York City and the surrounding area, and assistance in doing business with the City and any potential partnerships it makes.

"Corporations, like those in the M/WBE Procurement Alliance, are always looking for new ways to tap into the vast talent pool of New York City's M/WBE community," said Louis Green, National Director of Supplier Diversity for NBC Universal and Chair of the Council of Supplier Diversity Professionals. "This is an ideal opportunity to reach out across the City and encourage the more than 1,100 City-certified firms to form relationships with these seven Fortune 500 companies. This number is bound to grow as other corporations realize the breadth and skills of City-certified M/WBEs." Mr. Green was instrumental in the effort to encourage other corporations to join the Alliance.

The members of the M/WBE Advisory Board are: Gina Addeo of GMA Electrical Corporation; Lennox Britton of the NYS Minority Contractors' Association; Maria Castro of the Manhattan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Heyward B. Davenport of the U.S. Department of Commerce and Chairman of the M/WBE Board; Marsha Firestone of the Women President's Organization; Roy Hastick, Sr. of the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce & Industry; James Heyliger of the Association of Minority Enterprises of NY; Bill Howell of Howell Industries; Jesus Linares of Business Relocation Services; Timothy Marshall of the Jamaica Business Resource Center; Maria Mercado of M&M Advertising & Productions; Colleen Molter of QED National; Cynthia Petterson of Princess Knitwear; Alfredo Placeres of the NYS Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Nancy Ploeger of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce; Gilbert Rivera of AM & G Waterproofing, LLC; John Robinson of the National Minority Business Council; Elaine Rosendorf of Amber Worldwide Logistics; Janet Turner of WISE Enterprises Inc.; Elizabeth Velez of the Velez Organization; Earle Walker of the Regional Alliance of Small Contractors; John Wang of the Asian American Business Development Center; and Bonnie Wong of Asian Women in Business.

In June 2003, Mayor Bloomberg signed Executive Order 36 to stimulate the City's assistance program for Minority and Women-owned Businesses to create greater access to contracting opportunities, better prepare firms to compete for City contracts, and help them navigate the procurement process. SBS simplified certification, developed an easy to use online directory of M/WBE firms that helps both City agencies and private entities identify qualified firms to compete for contracts, and added more M/WBE companies to the City's list through cooperative working relationships with additional City/State agencies and private entities. The M/WBE Online Directory is located at www.nyc.gov/sbs. In addition, SBS sponsors and hosts events to bring M/WBE firms together with City contracting officers, allowing them to promote their goods and services directly to buyers, and helps M/WBE companies obtain the insurance and financial backing from lending institutions they need to be a viable and stable business in New York City.

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