On Wednesday, October 4 and Thursday, October 5, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR), Lisa Bova-Hiatt, joined Counsel to the Governor, Alphonso David, and other State representatives to participate in the seventh annual Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) Forum, held in Albany.
The event, which this year centered on the theme “Transformation 2017: Engage, Empower, Elevate,” aimed to unify MWBE firms and introduce them to the State’s array of contract opportunities. Approximately 2,000 professionals were in attendance— receiving the chance to network, learn about the government procurement process, and explore the emerging markets fueling the New York State economy.
As part of the larger event, Ms. Bova-Hiatt and other representatives from GOSR also participated in a panel entitled "Storm Recovery, Resiliency and Community Redevelopment." Outlining the progress GOSR has made to date, the team spoke about the evolution of the NY Rising programs and the plethora of opportunities that continue to be available.
“As the fifth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy rapidly approaches— and as the nation continues to grapple with the more recent impacts of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria— we can no longer escape the current reality in which we live: one characterized by the unremitting threats of climate change, rising sea levels and frequent instances of devastating weather events," Ms. Bova-Hiatt said during the panel. "As we carry out this important work, we are not only here to tell you that these opportunities exist, but that we truly need and want you at the table. Our MWBE firms represent some of the best and brightest our State has to offer, and your help, skill sets, knowledge and expertise are critical in realizing these projects that will— collectively— yield a reimagined New York."
The forum additionally offered expos, workshops and other seminars about the many exciting projects taking place in New York.
In Fiscal Year 2016-2017 alone, the State achieved a MWBE utilization rate of 27.2, equating to more than $2.2 billion in contracts. This figure is up dramatically from the 10 percent MWBE contract utilization rate when Governor Cuomo first took office. Under his leadership, the advancement of MWBE firms has climbed to the top of the Governor's agenda, as the State sets out to eliminate barriers and expand participation of MWBE contracts. This year, Governor Cuomo also announced the creation of the new MWBE Advisory Council and the launch of key technical assistance programs designed to increase the scope and capacity of MWBEs.
These combined efforts aim to help New York reach its goal of a 30 percent MWBE utilization rate— the highest such benchmark of any state in the nation.
In August, GOSR commemorated the two-year anniversary of its own MWBE program and remains committed to integrating MWBE businesses and firms into the recovery and resiliency process. To date, GOSR has engaged 320 MWBEs and requires all sub-recipients to adhere to the State's stringent MWBE standards. By maximizing its discretionary spend, leveraging partnerships with other State agencies, and managing its own Office of Diversity & Civil Rights (DCR), GOSR continues to seek out innovative and flexible procurement solutions that will allow its MWBE program to grow.
The agency additionally maintains its own MWBE portal, so that business owners and members of the general public may explore job and procurement opportunities, respectively.
The 2017 MWBE Forum was held at the Empire State Convention Center in Albany.
Read Governor Cuomo's press release here: http://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-statewide-minority-and-women-owned-business-enterprise-utilization
Visit GOSR'S portal here: http://www.nystormrecoveryopps.com