Department of Economic Development

Participation by Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises in State Contracts

New York State agencies and public authorities are required by State law to promote the participation of minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) in State contracts. Specifically, State agencies and public authorities are to establish an annual goal for such participation (expressed as a percentage of the agency’s or authority’s total contract spending for the year), make a “good faith” effort to achieve this goal, and report quarterly on their level of participation to the Department of Economic Development. The Department is to monitor their compliance with these requirements, and certify businesses as MWBEs.

We assessed the effectiveness of the law in promoting MWBE participation in State contracts, and concluded that the law has provided firms with access to State business they otherwise might not have. We also examined the effectiveness of the Department’s monitoring and certification efforts, and concluded that a number of improvements were needed. For example, the Department did not know whether all State agencies and public authorities were meeting their reporting requirement, because it did not have a list of the agencies and authorities that were subject to the requirement. We also determined that the efforts of the agencies and authorities needed to be monitored more closely, as participation goals were often low and generally were not met. Improvements were also needed in the MWBE certification process, as firms were not recertified every two years to ensure that they were still qualified and applications for MWBE status took an average of more than five months to process.

For a complete copy of Report 2002-S-55 click here.
For a copy of the associated follow-up report click here.