MWBE Conference on Rebuilding Process, Contracts
January 20, 2004
As part of an ongoing commitment by the federal, state, and city government to support the growth of Minority and Women Business Enterprises (MWBE), the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation last week hosted "Opportunity Downtown," a free, day-long conference designed to increase awareness among MWBE of the contracting opportunities available as part of the downtown rebuilding effort.
"New York City is a diverse community, and all of New York City should be represented in the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan," said Amy Peterson, LMDC Vice President for Development Programs and Economics, who helped spearhead the initiative. The conference, which drew more than 700 registrants from 450 women and minority-owned businesses from throughout the city and state, set out to help MWBE contractors learn how to take part.
Through a variety of presentations and interactive panel discussions, representatives from federal, city, state, and local agencies joined area businesses in an effort to convey information about the various contracting opportunities available as part of the rebuilding process downtown and the steps MWBE need to take in order to get involved. An afternoon of seminars delved into specific topics ranging from things to know when doing business with government to how to enter strategic joint ventures.
The conference did not chart a single course for every MWBE seeking participation in the rebuilding process to follow, but it did reveal several key tenets that are useful and applicable to all:
Become a certified MWBE to be eligible for contracts
Look and plan for upcoming projects
Remember that information is key
Know where to look for contracting opportunities and check daily
Utilize the resources of the city, state, and federal agencies that have programs set up to assist minority and women businesses
"Despite the economic difficulties faced by New York City and the rest of the nation, there is still room for minority and women-owned businesses to participate in the rebuilding and redevelopment work in Lower Manhattan," reminded Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields.
Conference participant Bonnie Wong, president of Asian Women in Business, stressed the need for minority and women-owned businesses to take an active role in the rebuilding process downtown. "It's really important," she said, "and a conference like this helps to provide valuable information on how we can get involved and shows the commitment of government agencies."
"Opportunity Downtown" was the first in a series of educational events to encourage MWBE participation in the downtown rebuilding process scheduled by the LMDC over the next year. The agency worked in partnership with the City and State of New York, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the Manhattan Borough President's Office to present the workshop, which was hosted at Pace University.
For additional information regarding business opportunities downtown for minority and women-owned businesses, contact the LMDC at (212) 962-2300 or click here to visit the section of LMDC website designed to assist MWBE.