In late February, Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched New York State's first surety bond assistance program for minority- and women-owned businesses (M/WBEs). The program will provide financial assistance to help M/WBEs secure surety bonds and state contracts.
"New York's strength is in the diversity, innovation, and entrepreneurship of all its residents," Governor Cuomo said. "By breaking down barriers to growth for M/WBEs, we are putting that strength to work for all New Yorkers, building a more diverse and competitive business climate. These steps will level the playing field and open up doors for greater economic opportunity and job growth in communities that need it most."
The new bond assistance program that will provide financial assistance in the form of credit support to help small business and M/WBEs secure surety bonds and state contracts. The revolving loan fund provides irrevocable letters of credit, up to 30 percent of the base contract amount on a project specific basis, and is expected to facilitate $200 million in new bonding activity over five years. The state is also collaborating with intermediary lenders to help facilitate working capital loans to New York State contractors.
In the span of a few years, it is estimated that a total of 2,200 direct and indirect jobs would be created in New York State. It would also bring in $137 million of personal income to the State and $328 million in revenue from goods and services purchased as a result of the construction activity. Two surety bond companies, Travelers and ACE, both of whom are highly regarded with A-plus ratings, have agreed to participate in the program.
Governor Cuomo also announced that his M/WBE Team has taken the following steps in an effort to increase the participation of M/WBEs in state contracting:
- A contract to create an electronic monitoring and compliance system that will make the M/WBE certification process more user friendly, enabling businesses to easily interact with the state contracting process, obtain information about requests for proposals, and market their services to agencies and authorities through one web portal. The system will also allow the state to effectively monitor how and whether state agencies are spending state dollars with M/WBEs and utilizing their best efforts to achieve the governor's goals;
- The state has entered into agreements with New York City, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and is engaged with the U.S Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to fast track M/WBE applications. As a result of these agreements, firms will be able to quickly become state M/WBE certified and will be able to bid on state contracts; and
- In an effort to develop a consistent and comprehensive network of opportunities for M/WBEs to exchange information, ideas and available resources for business support, the state has hosted and participated in 124 outreach events since February 2011.
The governor's M/WBE team is tasked with identifying ways to overcome barriers and enhance existing programs to spur greater participation.
about the New York State Surety Bond Assistance Program.
about the M/WBE Team's initiatives.