Buffalo, NY- Senator Antoine M. Thompson, (D-60, Parts of Erie & Niagara Counties), would like to announce a press conference and small business reception for MWBE Fast Track Certification on Friday, January 25, 2008 at 3pm at 65 Court St. This event is free, however space is limited, so interested parties are asked to call Thompson’s Buffalo District Office at 716-854-8705 for reservations.
Over the course of the last year, Senator Thompson has brought together lawmakers, small business owners, and MWBE experts from various local and state agencies and authorities on a monthly basis to discuss and examine the issues surrounding local, state and federal certification of MWBE’s in order to develop a unified and expedited certification process.
The development and implementation of a "Fast Track" certification model would eliminate the need for MWBE’s to navigate multiple certification processes often encountered when contracting with state, federal and local governments.
Senator Thompson will be joined at the press conference and reception by Mr. Michael Jones-Bey, Executive Director of the Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development from Empire State Development Corporation.
"It is important for women and minorities to get a fair chance to do business with the State of New York... I would like to thank everyone that participated and provided input for making New York State more conducive for MWBE’s," Senator Thompson said.
According to census figures, New York ranks first in the number of black-owned firms (129,324), second in women-owned firms (505,134), and fourth in Hispanic-owned firms (163,639). In fact, minority and women-owned firms make up nearly a quarter of New York's small businesses and generated over $100 billion in revenue in 2006. However, minority and women business owners continue to be left out of the lion's share of state contracts, finding barriers when attempting to tap into government procurement purchasing programs. Last year, for example, the state spent over $11 billion in discretionary expenditures, yet MWBE’s only received 3% of state contracts.
"This is low-hanging fruit," Senator Thompson continued. "Our goal was to figure out why MWBE’s are not being certified in an expedited fashion, why there is reluctance on the part of some MWBE’s to seek certification, and remove the roadblocks throughout process.”