IDL applauds New York City’s initiatives towards reaching targeted 30% MWBE participation goals, but we know from experience that more ongoing resources need to be made available for these goals to be truly realized.

The Building Trades Employers’ Association, which represents contracting firms, conducted a study based on the industry’s 10-12% of minority or women owned firms to see how capable they are to do the work available to them.

The study found that only 32 firms were capable of completing heavy construction projects (streets, bridges, sewers, etc.) with contracts larger than $6 million.

Of the 32 firms awarded city contracts above $6 million, only 1 is black-owned.

This is problematic because these types of $6 million + construction projects constitute 86% of the nearly $3 billion dollars that the city spent in this area between 2012 and  2015.  

Meaning, the majority of MWBEs within the industry that are limited due to available capital, credit, and bonding, are relegated to compete for only 14% of procurement dollars spent.

These results demonstrate why MWBEs need to be supported by more than statistical goals.  To truly foster fair competition and the most efficient use of tax dollars, New York City must continue to invest and expand upon services that support business development and access to critical bonding.

NYC’s Small Business Services has increased efforts to support business development, especially in the construction arena, including offering courses on bond readiness and a mentorship program.  

These are promising steps forward, but we must continue to expand ongoing support, education, and access to bonding to help more MWBEs develop to successfully compete for large scale contracts that dominate procurement offerings.