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County Announces Important Changes to MWBE Program

From left, Westchester County Executive George Latimer; Martha Lopez of the Office of the County Executive; Woman’s Enterprise Development Center CEO Anne Janiak; Westchester County Office of Economic Development Director Bridget Gibbons and Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins.
Westchester County’s Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises program (MWBE) is getting some major changes. Among the important changes announced last week, is the establishment of percentage goals for County contracts with MWBEs for construction, professional services and goods. The goals are 20 percent for construction; 20 percent for professional services and 10 percent for goods. These goals were established based on an analysis of prior percentages achieved and will be increased over time to be aligned with the NYS goals of 30 percent. Another change is the re-establishment of the Technical Assistance Plan Committee which is tasked to develop an educational, technical and informational assistance program targeting MWBEs.

“Westchester County is committed to creating a level playing field where all small businesses can succeed. The County’s MWBE program provides minority and women owned businesses the opportunity to compete in the marketplace by gaining access to County contracts,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer in announcing the changes at a news conference held on January 22.

“Whether your business is just starting out or is a long-established business, the MBWE program is an excellent resource for minority- and women-owned businesses. The changes announced today will further enhance the many benefits of the MWBE program,” said Westchester County Office of Economic Development Director Bridget Gibbons.

Business Council of Westchester President and CEO Marsha Gordon is a member of the MWBE Task Force that was formed in 2018.

At the news conference, County Executive Latimer presented the first ever Lois Bronz Award to the Woman’s Enterprise Development Center (WEDC). WEDC CEO Anne M. Janiak accepted the award. WEDC empowers entrepreneurs to build successful businesses by providing high quality training programs, advisory services, and assistance with MWBE certifications and loan applications to generate economic growth in Westchester and the Hudson Valley. The award recognizes organizations that go above and beyond to promote women in business. The award is named after the late Lois Bronz, who was the first African American woman elected to the Westchester County Board of Legislators.

In accepting the award, Janiak said, “We know that when women-owned and minority-owned businesses succeed, these entrepreneurs are not only able to support themselves and their families, but their employees, as well as contribute to the economic vitality of the region. And that benefits us all. Small business continues to be the backbone of our economy.”

 

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