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New York City Spends $1 Billion with MWBE Firms

New York City Spends $1 Billion with MWBE Firms

It’s a good (and lucrative) time to be a minority-owned or women-owned business in New York City.

Recent reports indicate the City has spent $1 Billion with MWBE firms, a $400 Million increase in just two years. The bigger picture indicates there is a tremendous opportunity for MWBE firms looking to sell their services or goods to the City in the future, for years to come. This is validated by Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to award $16 Billion to MWBEs by 2025 Here are 5 tips to win a piece of the $16 Billion now.

Tip #1: MWBE Certification. 

If you are a minority-owned or woman-owned business that meets the eligibility requirements for MWBE certification — get your business certified with the City of New York right away. The City has streamlined the process, requiring a lot less paperwork; and they also offer free technical assistance to help business owners with the process. If you don’t meet the qualifications for certification, you may consider partnering/teaming with an MWBE firm.

[Related: Government Contracts for Minority- or Women-Owned Businesses in New York City]

Tip #2: Learn the Government’s Needs

Become very familiar with the procurement process, i.e., what does the government buy? When do they buy it? What are the different ways the government makes purchases. This information is available to small business owners free of charge through a variety of workshops and free technical assistance. The government procurement process is an ever-changing environment, and it’s important you take the time to learn the process and stay abreast of changes.

Tip #3: Financial Stewardship.

Doing business with the government requires you to consider how much money you will need to “float” government contracts. This means you need to be deliberate about the size of contracts that you will pursue and knowledgeable about cash required. Once you understand how much cash you’ll need, then you can consider sources of capital. In addition to identifying sources of capital, as a government contractor you’ll also need to implement rigorous financial controls for cash flow management, tax planning, and savings.

Tip #4: Subcontract

If you have never previously done business with the government, consider subcontracting some of the work. Subcontracting — if done correctly — is a fantastic way to learn how to do business with the government, as well as gain the necessary experience and past performance required to win larger contracts.

[Related: Must-Do’s for Contract Drafting, Negotiating, and Management]

Tip #5 Attend MWBE Networking Events

Over the next few weeks, several agencies are hosting MWBE networking events. It’s important to be seen and heard at these events, so you can make your presence known. You need to commit to meeting government buyers and creating an ongoing strategy for marketing your business to them. There is no better opportunity to connect with buyers than in-person events.

If you can’t attend any of these upcoming events, please join my newsletter list below to stay informed of public MWBE networking events.


Jean Kristensen is the CEO of J Kristensen Associates, LLC. An entrepreneur, certified coach, trainer and public speaker, Jean has over three decades of professional security experience in firms ranging from small start-ups to multi-million dollar corporations. Sign up for their #MWBEsuccess newsletter by clicking here for free guides to grow your business.

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.


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