Posted on August 16, 2004

NYC Program to Steer Funds to Minority-, Women-Owned Businesses, Aug, 10

Aug. 11 — Mayor Bloomberg unveiled a new program yesterday aimed at steering hefty amounts of corporate spending toward the city’s minority- and women-owned businesses.

The program would share the city’s already established list of minority and women-owned firms with private companies citywide, starting with seven of the city’s biggest Fortune 500 firms.

Those firms — including NBC Universal, Pfizer, Altria, Colgate, Macy’s, J.P. Morgan Chase and IBM — have agreed to try and use the city list in awarding $30 billion in goods and services contracts.

“Now, we can help certified firms put their best foot forward right at the doorstep of some of this country’s most successful Fortune 500 companies,” Bloomberg said yesterday at the Competitive Edge Conference, a forum for minority and women-owned businesses.

The city already has some 1,100 minority and women-owned business on file — a list it has long used to try and steer public contracts to such firms.

But private companies have always had to rely on other, more cumbersome ways to find such certified businesses — defined as any company that is at least 51 percent owned by women or minorities.

Now, one form administered by the city’s Small Business Services agency will let companies qualify for public and private contracts. City officials expect more companies to take advantage of the list in the future.

“It gives them another tool to expand their network or outreach,” said Small Business Services spokesman Benjamin Branham.

The move comes as the city approaches what Bloomberg called “the greatest new phase of public and private development and construction since the end of World War II,” including rebuilding in lower Manhattan and the far West Side of the borough.