The Comptroller of the City of New York reported today that while NYC has made “tangible progress” in advancing access and opportunity for M/WBE’s over the last fiscal year, there is still a great disparity in opportunity for the City’s diverse firms.
Each year since 2014, when New York City first awarded itself a “D” grade for its own use of Minority and Women owned businesses in city procurement, the Comptroller’s Office evaluated the performance of the City of New York and its individual agencies on use of Minority and Women owned businesses in city procurement. In the last three fiscal years that grade hasn’t budged from a “D+”.
Despite the creation in 2016 of a Mayor’s Office of M/WBEs, and a much-heralded new goal of awarding 30 percent of City contracts to M/WBEs by 2021, the FY 2017 data on the disparities shows the great room for improvement:
· New York City procured a total of $21 billion in goods and services, of which slightly more than $1 billion, or only 4.9 percent, was awarded to M/WBEs.
· Only 22 percent of New York City’s 5,259 certified M/WBEs received City spending.
· Overall, the City received a “D+” grade from the Comptroller’s Office, the same as in FY 2016. More specifically, the City earned a C grade with Asian American-owned firms, a D grade with Hispanic-owned firms and women-owned firms, and an F grade with Black-owned businesses.
As the Comptroller pointed out today: “New York City leadership on this issue is of national importance, as New York and the nation face the potential for federal disinvestment in programs that support M/WBEs, including a proposal by the President to eliminate the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and cut funding for the Small Business Administration (SBA).”
At VeraCloud, we applaud the comprehensive policy recommendations that the Comptroller’s office has made in this year’s report to help the City of New York increase its procurement with M/WBEs. As we have seen for decades, even the most progressive policies fall short without tools in place to enable all three sides (Prime Contractors, Government, and Diverse businesses) of this public contracting market to interact and transact more effectively.