With a new ad campaign and $40 million loan investment, New York City wants minority- and women-owned companies (M/WBE) to know it is more open for their business than ever before, and it’s going about that in two new ways.
The first is through a $40 million private investment that will give M/WBE and small businesses access to affordable loans, which Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday. The second is a newly revamped website and a city-wide ad campaign featuring success stories from the M/WBE program that launches Monday.
Among the businesses owners featured is Adrienne Nicole of Adrienne Nicole Productions, a Brooklyn-based video production company that’s been part of the program for the past seven years.
“It was part of the company’s growth strategy,” Nicole said. “The city is a stable and consistent client, so we wanted to add them to the roster.”
The company has received several city contracts and worked with Emergency Management, the Department of Correction and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.
“The program has really helped us because city contracts have M/WBE requirements on them, and they allow companies like mine to get directly in front of procurement officers at each agency,” Nicole said. “They have an opportunity to see what we can do and really prove we’re just as qualified as anyone else.”
The competition in New York City was among the biggest challenge Nicole faced prior to joining the program, which has since helped “prove our added value,” she said. “There are more than a few video production companies in New York City, so we have to really differentiate ourselves. Being part of the program does that and working with government does that. Being able to understand and maneuver that space really helps make us a good sell to agencies.
Nicole urges entrepreneurs to look into the city’s M/WBE program. “It’s in your best interest to register and get those contracts that are out there for you,” she said.
“One of our most important responsibilities is to ensure that M/WBEs are informed about New York City’s resources and business opportunities that help establish, grow and sustain these businesses,” said Jonnel Doris, senior advisor and director of the Mayor’s Office of M/WBE. “With these new diverse ads and our new website, not only do we create pathways to useful information and resources, but we also give the M/WBE community a real sense of the variety of business opportunities the city has to offer. For M/WBEs that seek to participate in city contracting opportunities that add up to billions of dollars — the city is open for business.”
The M/WBE mission
New York City’s M/WBE program was founded in September 2016 with the mission of increasing opportunities for minority- and women-owned companies to do business with the city.
According to its website, it aims to certify 9,000 such businesses by 2019, award $16 billion to M/WBEs by 2025 and award 30 percent of the value of all city contracts by 2021.