Make the Cash Register Ring! A Guide to Doing Business as an MWBE

MWBEAs business owners, we all need to make the cash register ring! As a minority- or women-owned business, have you ever wondered if being certified can increase the cash flow of your business? Read this article and I?m confident your answer will be YES!

Who wants to do business with certified firms?

Federal, state and local (city/county) governmental agencies along with private sector companies all have diversity programs and special allocation for Minority and/or Women Owned Firms.

New York State MWBE goals are the highest in the nation with a goal of 30% of most contracts to utilize the services of an MWBE firm in procurement opportunities.

What is an MWBE firm?

A business/enterprise can be classified as an MBE, WBE and/or MWBE.
??? ???? MBE is a Minority Business Enterprise?
??? ???? WBE is a Women Business Enterprise?
??? ???? MWBE is a dually certified Minority and Women Business Enterprise??

Minority and/or Women Business Owners may be eligible to access contracts and set asides that can grow your business exponentially. Subcontracting opportunities along with ?Discretionary Funds? many times have 100% of contracts to be awarded to a certified MWBE. The certification process admittedly is time-consuming.? However, successful certification will allow you ?a ticket to the dance? by validating your status as an MWBE.? There are several certifying agencies for the NY metropolitan region including by not limited to:

Empire State Development ? New York State
Small Business Services- New York City
Office of Minority Affairs New York Nassau County
Suffolk County New York Suffolk County
Women?s Business Enterprise National Council ? WBENC
SBA ? Small Business Administration, Federal

Let?s examine three hot opportunities for MWBEs:

New York City $16 Billion Pledged to MWBE firms
New York City Mayor de Blasio has pledged through the OneNYC initiative to increase city contract awards to MWBE firms by pledging $16 billion dollars over the next ten years.

??? 1.??? New York State MWBE Goals 30% – highest in the nation
Governor Cuomo set the highest MWBE State goal in the nation on October 1, 2014 of 30% of all contracts issued by state agencies and authorities to include MWBE Utilization.

This year, it is proposed to increase opportunity to also include state funding given to localities such as:
??? o??? Cities
??? o??? Counties
??? o??? Towns
??? o??? Villages
??? o??? School Districts
??? o??? This would amount to $65 Billion annually MWBE can compete for.

??? 1.??? Federal governments spend approximately $530 billion annually

The United States Government, through the Small Business Association (SBA), has created several contracting programs that benefit M/WBE?s:

??? o??? Women-Owned Small Businesses
??? o??? 8(a) Business Development Program
??? o??? HUBZone Program ? (Historically Underutilized Business Zone)
??? o??? Small Disadvantaged Businesses
What help is available with certification and growing your business?

??? o??? Recently a new online portal called WE NYC was developed to respond to the needs of women entrepreneurs in New York City. This new website provides the following needed resources:

??? M/WBE Certification
??? ???? Financial Advice
??? ???? Legal Advice
??? ???? Networking
??? ???? Workshops
??? ???? Workspaces
??? ???? Mentorships

As the CEO of Precision Healthcare Consultants, I am honored to be a part of such a diverse group of business owners providing free tailored advice to women entrepreneurs in the five boroughs of NYC as an inaugural Mentor. The practical articles and Best Advice for Women Entrepreneurs Video is a wonderful resource from the NYC Department of Small Business Services thru WENYC.
??? o??? The Sixth Annual Statewide MWBE Forum is the largest statewide business event for minority and women-owned businesses in New York. The forum is titled ?Transformation 2016?. This conference is the premiere venue to meet the decision makers from agencies throughout the entire state of New York. Additionally, the forum is a great place to network with other businesses in the region. Learn more New York State MWBE Forum Transformation 2016
Dates – October 5 & 6, 2016
??? o??? The SBA provides a robust series of free online courses such as contracting with the government and getting started as a contractor.

Additionally, local assistance is available at no cost to your business with the SBA and Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC).

As entrepreneurs, we never stop learning and growing. Our passion and expertise propel our businesses to new heights.? We solve our clients’ problems and the solutions make the cash register ring!

The opportunities for growth in the area of governmental procurement is extensive.?

If you see the benefits and potential opportunities of getting certified as an MWBE take these three steps:

??? 1.??? Examine if your Firm Qualifies as a MWBE or Disadvantaged Business?
??? 2.??? Prepare The Paperwork for the Process and create an Electronic File
??? 3.??? Take Advantage of Free Resources and Help thru:
??? 4.??? WENYC Portal
??? 5.??? Empire State Development
??? 6.??? Small Business Administration

?If opportunity doesn?t knock, build a door?- Milton Berle.

Getting certified as an MWBE may be the door you build to open a new world of opportunity for your business. And when you hear the knock, open the door and enjoy hearing the cash register ring. Trust me, it sounds great!

(Vanessa Best, is an awarding winning healthcare and business consultant. She is the founder and CEO of Precision HealthCare Consultants, a Long Island Firm helping independent doctors and healthcare facilities get paid faster since 1996. On the business consulting side, in addition to private clients, Vanessa is an instructor delivering Interise?s StreetWise Steps to Small Business Growth (?StreetWise Steps?) to small business owners as part of the New York SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative.? She is also an Inaugural Mentor for ?WENYC?, the Women Entrepreneurs NYC Program. She was named Top 50 Long Island Women in Business and a TNJ 2010 25 Influential Black Women in Business honoree. Her firm, Precision HealthCare is a dually certified MWBE in New York State thru Empire State Development, New York City Office of Small Business Services and Nassau County Office of Minority Affairs.)