NYC Program Offers Expanded Opportunities for Businesses Owned by Women or Minorities

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If you are a woman or minority member who is a small-business owner on Staten Island and want to do business with New York City and, potentially, a greater number of private contractors, you should look into having your enterprise certified as a Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE).

“There are many hurdles in owning a business, so it’s important not to overlook viable paths to success. For minority or womenowned businesses, one such path may be found in the form of M/WBE certification,” said John J. Amodio, chairman of SCOREStaten Island.

New York City’s M/WBE program expands opportunities for minority and women entrepreneurs to access government contracts and grow their businesses. When eligible businesses are certified with the city, they become more visible to prospective buyers – including city agencies and private contractors seeking to purchase goods and services. To determine if your business would qualify as a Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise, and help start you on your way to obtaining certification, if eligible, Amodio and SCORE-Staten Island are sharing the following information from the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Certification Unit:

There are several important benefits to becoming a certified M/WBE with New York City, such as listing in the Online Directory of Certified Businesses (http://mtprawvwsbswtp1- 1.nyc.gov/), a public website which promotes certified businesses. The directory contains over 6,000 businesses from diverse industries, including engineering, graphic design, catering, IT consulting, childcare, accounting, metal fabrication, plumbing, event planning, and many more.

Other benefits of certification include access to networking events, customized courses and targeted consultations.

DETERMINING ELIGIBILITY

A business seeking M/WBE certification must meet the following eligibility requirements:

1) The business is legally authorized to transact business in New York state.

2) The business has been in operation (i.e., selling goods and/or services) for at least one year.

3) At least 51 percent of the business is owned, operated and controlled by a U.S. Citizen(s) or U.S. permanent resident(s) who are women and/or members of designated minority groups including: Black, Hispanic, Asian-Pacific, or Asian-Indian.

4) The business has one of the following legal structures:
• Sole Proprietorship
• Limited Liability Company (LLC)
• Corporation
• Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
• Limited Partnership (LP)
• General Partnership

business or headquarters is located within the five boroughs of New York City or in one of the following counties of New York and New Jersey: Nassau; Putnam; Rockland; Westchester; Suffolk; Bergen; Hudson, or Passaic.

Note: A business located outside of New York City and outside of the designated counties noted above may qualify for M/ WBE certification if the applicant can prove a substantial presence in the geographic market of New York City. Substantial presence can be demonstrated by providing documentation that satisfies at least two of the following conditions:

Maintenance of a bank account for at least six months in New York City, or engagement in other banking transactions in the city, and/or
• Possession of a license (i.e., by the business or by at least one owner) issued by a New York City agency supporting its ability to transact business in the city, and/or
• Proof of business transactions, or attempted business transactions, in or with the city more than once over the past three years.

For questions about your eligibility for NYC M/WBE certification, you may contact the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Certification Unit at MWBE@sbs. nyc.gov, or talk to a SCORE-Staten Island small business mentor.

“With our breadth of experience in all aspects of entrepreneurship, a SCORE-Staten Island small business mentor can help guide you through the M/WBE Certification process and provide valuable insight and feedback on other business matters, as well,” Amodio said.