Mayor Signs Executive Order Supporting Minority and Women Owned Businesses

Mayor de Blasio signs Executive Order 59 on July 28, 2020. Image Credit: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

The City awarded over $3 billion in contracts to minority and women-owned businesses in FY19. The City is On July 28, 2020, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed Executive Order 59 to increase the City’s utilization of Minority and Women-Owned Businesses (M/WBEs), and also announced numerous programs with the Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity that will connect Black and Latinx entrepreneurs to business opportunities.

This executive order increases the City’s utilization of M/WBEs by encouraging all City agencies to procure goods, services, and construction from M/WBEs for amounts up to $500,000, ensuring City agencies set M/WBE participation goals for contracts relating to COVID-19 response and requiring agencies to consider at least one quote from an M/WBE before awarding a contract related to the COVID-19 response.

The executive order also establishes a Chief Diversity M/WBE Officer in all City agencies. Comptroller Stringer previously called on the City to establish Chief Diversity Officers in each City agency when he reported on COVID-19’s impact on M/WBE’s.

The executive order also creates a case-management structure that will identify Black and Latinx certified firms and match them to contracts and a program to help non-certified business owners learn how to do business with the City. Under the new directives, pro-bono business consultants will provide business and operations planning to businesses in Black and Latinx communities, and the City will also help these communities create online and in-person mentorship networks for entrepreneurs and small businesses of color.

These directives will be overseen by the Administration’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity, and managed by the Department of Small Business Services (SBS), the Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises and community partners. As stated in the press release, universities, hospitals, cultural centers will also support these directives through outreach to minority businesses.

The Administration’s previous initiatives to strengthen M/WBEs have doubled the certified pool of M/WBEs since 2016, from 4.5K to 10K; awarding $3.8 billion in contracts to M/WBEs through both mayoral and non-mayoral agencies in FY19, and reaching a record 29.5% M/WBE utilization in the first three quarters of FY 2020, totaling $964 million in prime and sub-contracts. The City is more than halfway to achieving the 10-year OneNYC goal of awarding nearly $16 billion of $25 billion in contracts to M/WBEs by 2025, and the City is currently more than $1 billion ahead of schedule.

J. Phillip Thompson, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives and Co-Chair of the Racial Inclusion and Equity Taskforce stated, “Minority and women-owned businesses hire people in the community whom other businesses won’t take a chance on, serve as the eyes and ears that help keep communities safe, and form the bedrock that our communities can build upon. M/WBEs have done so much for us and now need our support as the economic and health effects of the pandemic disproportionately impact them. Today’s actions will secure the meaningful participation of M/WBEs in City contracting – especially Black and Latino businesses, and within that group, Black, Latina, and Asian women-owned businesses – and help to ensure an equitable recovery in New York City.”

Suzanne Veira, Chief Diversity Officer for the NYC School Construction Authority and Co-Chair of the Small Business Subcommittee of the Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity stated, “I am extremely honored to be part of the First Lady’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion & Equity. As part of this Taskforce, we heard from many minority business owners that their businesses cannot survive this crisis without government assistance. The Mayor’s Executive Order is a significant step in addressing many of the disparities that have been revealed as a result of this pandemic and with the implementation of these initiatives, I am confident it will provide many of our minority businesses impacted by the COVID crisis with additional contracting, mentoring and technical assistance necessary for their survival.”

By: Victoria Agosta (Victoria is the CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2022.)


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