De Blasio Administration Announces New Revolving Loan Fund To Help M/WBEs Gain Access To Capital

March 23, 2017

Coupled with new, user-friendly certification applications, the low-interest loans of up to $500,000 will allow M/WBEs to better position themselves to contract with the City

NEW YORK-First Lady Chirlane McCray and Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery, Citywide Director of Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs), today announced the launch of the Contract Financing Loan Fund, allowing M/WBEs to apply for low-interest contract financing loans of up to $500,000 for M/WBEs.

The loans, offered by the Department of Small Business Services, include flexible repayment schedules to help M/WBEs increase access to capital and grow their business.

In addition, the First Lady and Deputy Mayor unveiled a streamlined application for M/WBE certification and a separate, more accessible and user-friendly M/WBE certification application for small businesses owned and operated by one person (sole proprietors). The latter will directly benefit women business owners, who comprise 90 percent of sole proprietors across the United States.

“Our city reaches its greatest socioeconomic potential when every New Yorker, regardless of race, gender or ethnicity, have the tools and support they need to succeed in our economy,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Today, my team is following up on a commitment announced in September by launching a low-interest Contract Financing Loan Fund that will help minority and women-owned businesses get their foot in the door, as well as sustain and grow their businesses. We are also streamlining our certification process to make it easier and faster for M/WBEs to stay up to date on the latest contracting opportunities. With these new initiatives, we are ensuring that all New Yorkers have the means they need to thrive.”

“In order to create a fifty-fifty world, we need to create a fifty-fifty economy. The tools we are announcing today will help women who are entrepreneurs in New York City go from getting by to becoming business owners on their own terms,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “Through the Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises, we are unleashing one of our city's greatest resources – the talent of thousands of women who need a little support to turn their savvy and fierce work ethic into successful companies.”

“We launched the Mayor’s Office of M/WBE’s last fall to assist businesses that play a vital role in our City’s economy but are often restricted in their ability to contract with the City. Today, we take another step toward fulfilling that promise by providing a critical resource M/WBEs actually need to compete and complete ever-larger projects. I encourage all minority and women small business owners to take advantage of this tool for increasing capacity – apply for a loan and benefit from the lowest rates of its kind in the state!,” said Richard Buery, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives and Citywide Director of M/WBE’s.

The plan to make low-interest loans of up to $500,000 available through a City-financed, $10 million revolving loan fund was first announced in September 2016 when Mayor de Blasio proclaimed his bold new vision for the City’s M/WBE program and created the Mayor’s Office of M/WBEs.

A key pillar of the Mayor’s Office of M/WBEs is to increase accessibility for minority and women business owners seeking to do business with the City. By offering loans capped at three percent and by streamlining the certification process, this Administration is addressing barriers that have historically made it difficult for more businesses to get in the market and compete.

Today’s launch of the low interest rate loan application, along with the new certification applications, provides a path for more M/WBEs to win and successfully perform on City contracts. They are key to achieving Mayor Bill de Blasio’s aggressive goals that include:

  • Awarding 30 percent of the value of City contracts to M/WBEs by 2021;
  • Awarding $16 billion to M/WBEs by 2025;
  • and certifying 9,000 M/WBEs by 2019.

Certified M/WBEs have access to the latest contracting opportunities and are included in the NYC Business Directories that agencies use to proactively search for M/WBEs that specialize in specific fields to offer them contracting opportunities. In addition, this past February, the Mayor announced that the City and its partners will coach M/WBE firms on how to improve their directory profiles to stand out and be most competitive.

“Providing low-interest loans and streamlining the application process are two significant steps forward for M/WBEs participating in the City’s procurement process,” said Jonnel Doris, Senior Advisor and Director of the Mayor’s Office of M/WBEs. “This loan fund will help improve access to capital for M/WBEs and small City contractors, which will increase their ability to successfully win and compete for City contracts. These M/WBEs and small contractors will now have the proper resources they need to expand their portfolio of work to grow and sustain their businesses.”

“Small business owners face a multitude of challenges daily. Contracting with the City should not be one of them,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services. “We’re taking steps to ensure the City is a supportive partner to all potential and existing vendors by streamlining our process and providing critical, financing support through our new loan fund.”

Contract Financing Loan Fund

The opening of the Contract Financing Loan Fund announced today gives M/WBEs and other small City vendors greater access to affordable capital to better position them to perform on City contracts. Loans will reduce interest rates for borrowers to a low three percent annual rate and allow these small businesses to borrow up to $500,000. Repayment schedules will be flexible and timed to align with City contract payment schedules, helping businesses improve their cash flow. The increased availability of affordable financing is intended to help M/WBEs and other small businesses grow and better compete for City contracts.

M/WBEs and other small City contractors will be eligible to apply for a contract financing loan. Contract financing loans can help businesses successfully perform on a contract, including purchasing equipment and hiring employees. Loans from this fund are available to prime and sub-contractors that are bidding on or performing a contract with a New York City agency or the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

The Contract Financing Loan Fund is a revolving loan fund, allowing for a continuous supply of funding for additional borrowers. Paired with capacity building programs offered by SBS, this fund will help M/WBEs and small businesses grow and better compete for larger contracts.

Businesses interested in receiving a contract financing loan can visit nyc.gov/contractfinancing to apply online. A participating lender will follow up with eligible businesses. Participating lenders include BOC Capital, Inc., TruFund Financial Services and Excelsior Growth Fund.

New M/WBE Applications

The City’s newly streamlined M/WBE certification applications will provide a more efficient path to getting certified and obtain contracts with the City. The new, user-friendly applications are simplified and sequenced to expedite the completion process. The City also created a separate application for small businesses that are sole proprietors, to make the application process more accessible and user-friendly. Changes to the application process will make it easier for M/WBE business owners to certify with the City, while maintaining the integrity of the process. Since 90 percent of women-owned businesses across the United States are sole proprietors, this will directly benefit women business owners across New York City.

Minority and women-business owners interested in contracting with the City by becoming a certified M/WBE should visit nyc.gov/sbs to complete an online application. There are currently over 4,500 M/WBE businesses certified with the City, an all-time high. Mayor de Blasio set a bold, new goal to double this record number by 2019.

Applicants in need of assistance can attend our certification workshops held at our Business Solutions Centers across the city. More information can be found at nyc.gov/sbs.

Today’s announcements were made by the First Lady and Deputy Mayor at a women’s entrepreneurs panel discussion hosted by the City’s WE NYC program. Earlier this month, the City announced the expanded 2017 class of WE NYC (Women Entrepreneurs) mentors. WE NYC is a City program that includes a mentorship program for budding women business owners. Experienced mentors volunteer to offer guidance to other women entrepreneurs starting and growing their companies. WE NYC was announced by the First Lady in 2015 with the goal of lifting up thousands of New York City women, and with them entire families and communities. Since her announcement, the initiative has reached more than 1,500 NYC women.

“It’s one thing to put a commitment to minority and women-owned businesses on paper, but following through with support services and robust outreach is what makes that commitment real,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “This Contract Financing Loan Fund and improvements to the certification application process are both steps in the right direction to increase the number of MWBEs that are ready to do business with the city.”

"Access to capital is crucial to expanding opportunities for minority and women business owners," said State Senator Leroy Comrie. "I am pleased to work alongside a mayor who understands this. The Contact Financing Loan Fund will hopefully provide hundreds of M/WBEs with the affordable financing options they need to succeed."

State Senator James Sanders, Jr. said, “As the newly appointed leader of the Senate Democratic Conference’s M/WBE Task Force, I believe we should be doing all we can to empower these entrepreneurs and level the playing field in a way that helps them realize their full potential. This $10 million low-interest loan fund and user friendly certification application process are worthy steps forward by the Mayor to help M/WBEs gain access to capital and grow their businesses.”

“I am excited about the launch of the $10 million loan fund that will help M/WBE’s access the capital necessary to grow and sustain their businesses,” said Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte, Chair of the Subcommittee on Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises. “Mayor de Blasio, First Lady McCray, Deputy Mayor Buery, Small Business Services Commissioner Gregg Bishop and Jonnel Doris, Director of the Mayor's Office of M/WBE continue to be at the forefront of increasing opportunities for M/WBE’s and small business owners in this city. The Contract Financing Loan fund, which caps the loan interest at 3 percent and allows businesses to borrow up to $500,000, in conjunction with the new streamlined M/WBE application certification process, is an incredible win for M/WBE’s wishing to do business with the city and for their ability to compete in the market.”

“I salute Mayor de Blasio and his administration for their continuing efforts to level the playing field for MWBE enterprises. Today's announcement follows up on one he made in September of last year pledging that the city will award 30 percent all contracts to businesses owned by minorities and women by the year 2021, as well as plans to establish the low interest revolving loan fund announced today to help M/WBEs that can't qualify for loans elsewhere. This is all to the good in a city where M/WBEs should be integral to a healthy business climate for everyone,” said Assembly Member Luis Sepulveda.

“Mayor de Blasio is following through on his promise to strengthen Minority/Women Business Enterprises with affordable capital through the Contract Financing Loan Fund. The new and concise certification process will also open doors for more M/WBE New York entrepreneurs to become eligible to bid and win City contracts,” said Assembly Member Jeffrion L. Aubry.

"Small businesses all face challenges, but minority and women-owned businesses face extra challenges in obtaining loans. This move by the city to make loans easier to obtain, low-interest, and with flexible repayment options will allow all our city businesses to thrive. It is my hope that this will allow more minority and women owned businesses to obtain city contract and benefit our city," said Assembly Member Walter T. Mosley.

“We are excited that the Mayor’s Administration is launching a new revolving loan program for M/WBE’s. We know so many MWBE’s looking for capital to help expand their business, low interest loan programs like these are going to make it easier for vendors to sustain their businesses,” said Assembly Member Latrice Walker.

"The growth of the Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise program in New York City will ensure a more vibrant economy and benefit entrepreneurs and communities alike. If we are serious about addressing income inequality, it is essential that we also address head on the systemic barriers and lack of opportunity faced by women and people of color in the City’s contracting processes. Thanks to Mayor de Blasio, First Lady Chirlane McCray, Deputy Mayor Richard Buery, and Commissioner Gregg Bishop for their leadership on this bold initiative," said Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon.

“By streamlining the M/WBE certification process and offering low interest Contract Financing Loans we are making it easier for small businesses to compete and enter into contracts with the City. I applaud the Mayor and First Lady for taking this issue head on, M/WBE support boosts our economy and helps our communities,” said Assembly Member Robert J. Rodriguez.

“As chair of the Contracts Committee, supporting our M/WBE and small city contractors is one of the most important parts of my job. This program represents the administration’s commitment to creating innovative and effective new tools for us to do exactly that. I want to thank the Mayor, the First Lady, the Deputy Mayor, and Commissioner Bishop for their leadership and partnership on this issue,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Chair of the Committee on Contracts.

“This continues to be a great time for M/WBEs in New York City. I applaud Mayor de Blasio’s commitment for earnestly working, along with the SBS, to achieve the goals he set in place last September. The investment of $10 million dollars to help M/WBEs gain access to capital and business growth directly places them in a more equitable position. Allowing M/WBEs to easily maneuver the application process to gain City certification will help many. I am proud to continue to support the efforts of the Mayor, the First Lady, Commissioner Bishop, and unwavering support to M/WBEs,” said Council Member Robert Cornegy, Chair of the Committee on Small Business.

Colleen Molter, President of QED National, said, “Access to affordable capital for women- and minority-owned firms has historically been a problem in our city and across our nation. The new loan program released today by Mayor de Blasio is a sure way to address these needs head on. Additionally, streamlining the certification process, which makes MWBE certification more practical for sole proprietors and small businesses, is exactly the kind of solution our communities need to participate in government contracting. I continue to applaud Mayor de Blasio, and I am proud to be a long standing supporter of the minority and woman business enterprise program.”

“As a member of the de Blasio Administration’s M/WBE Advisory Council and as an owner of a M/BE business, I am excited about the creation of the Contract Financing Loan Fund and the streamlined certification process for sole proprietors,” said B. Seth Bryant, Managing Partner of Bryant Rabbino LLP, an MBE law firm based in Manhattan. “Making low interest loans available to M/WBE firms shows the de Blasio administration’s commitment to facilitating M/WBE business growth in New York City. Streamlining the certification process for sole proprietors is a practical step that should encourage minority and women entrepreneurs to pursue certification.”

“We know from our collaboration with the City of New York on WE NYC and other small business programs that access to growth capital remains a barrier for many minority and women-owned businesses,” said Eileen Auld, New York Tristate Director for Citi Community Development. “We congratulate the Mayor and his team at SBS on the launch of this initiative, which will help empower more M/WBEs to compete for City contracts.”

“As a nonprofit community lender, we are thrilled to partner with the City of New York to help minority- and women-owned firms and other small businesses,” said Steve Cohen, President of Excelsior Growth Fund. “By making it easier to secure financing, the City is increasing opportunity and removing barriers to accessing City contracts.”

“TruFund is proud to work with the NYC Economic Development Corporation and NYC Department of Small Business Services to find innovative solutions that support economic growth and increase access to capital for New York City’s MWBE small business community,” said James H. Bason, President and CEO of TruFund Financial Services, Inc.

“As a mission-based lender, BOC Capital is devoted to helping minority-owned, woman-owned and small-scale businesses succeed and grow. The Contract Financing Loan Fund is an important strategy, and we are extremely privileged to partner with New York City in achieving greater equity in access to contracts and capital. As part of this effort, BOC Capital will expand both our loan offerings and business technical assistance resources. By providing much needed capital at favorable rates coupled with management support, hard-working entrepreneurs will have a greater access to opportunities and success,” said Nancy Carin, Executive Director of BOC Capital Corp.

About the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Administration seeks to increase contracting opportunities for M/WBEs as an essential component in tackling income inequality across the city. Mayor de Blasio created the Mayor’s Office for Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) to address the disparity between City contracts awarded to certain ethnic and gender groups and their overall representation in City contracting. The Office is responsible for oversight, policy, interagency coordination and accountability of the City’s M/WBE Program. It will serve as a One-Stop-Shop for M/WBEs interested in doing business with the city and its agencies.

About NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS)

SBS helps unlock economic potential and create economic security for all New Yorkers by connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building vibrant neighborhoods across the five boroughs. For more information, visit nyc.gov/sbs, call 311, and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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