Governor Cuomo Announces New York State Insurance Fund to Host MWBE Investment Forum

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Fourth Annual Forum Helps Minority and Women Owned Businesses Create Jobs & Expand Opportunity across the Empire State.

Albany, NY - February 21, 2014 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the New York State Insurance Fund would be hosting emerging Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) asset managers and brokers in a forum designed to further spark statewide job growth and expand investment opportunities to a diverse crop of financial firms.
 
The Fourth Annual Investment Symposium for financial sector Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) will be held on Wednesday, February 26, 2014, at NYSIF offices at 199 Church Street, New York City. The forum, just one of several that NYSIF organizes throughout the year to attract MWBE vendors in all categories, also advances NYSIF’s existing Emerging Managers program, which uses a number of MWBE asset managers to invest a portion of NYSIF funds. Beginning with an initial allocation of $150 million in 2010, NYSIF assets under management by emerging manager firms now total approximately $258 million as of December 31, 2013.
 
“Providing the support that MWBE firms need to prosper in New York State continues to be a priority for my administration,” Governor Cuomo said. “We have made significant progress in reducing barriers and expanding opportunities for MWBEs, and hosting these forums provides another platform for companies from the financial sector to showcase their qualifications and expertise. Next week’s event is a great way for MWBE firms in the industry to pursue new opportunities for growth and job creation in New York, and I encourage them to attend.”
 
In 2011, Governor Cuomo established by executive order a statewide team to explore ways to eliminate barriers and expand the participation of MWBEs in state contracting. In October, Governor Cuomo announced that, for the first time in history, utilization of minority –and women –owned businesses in state contracts reached a record 21.06 percent. In all, $1.48 billion in contracts from a total of 97 public agencies and authorities were awarded to Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises in FY 2012-2013.
 
INVESTING IN DIVERSE ECONOMIES & COMMUNITIES
 
NYSIF has been a leading state agency in meeting and exceeding the goals of the Governor’s MWBE initiative. Dollars paid to MWBE-certified asset management and financial institutions in NYSIF investment efforts increased to 27.55 percent in the most recent fiscal years, with asset managers in particular earning 31.24 percent of total fees paid to them in 2012-13, up significantly from 2011-12 (18.77 percent). MWBE asset managers invest 77 percent of NYSIF’s externally managed assets.
 
“Over the past several years, NYSIF has worked diligently with MWBE financial firms to increase their participation in the Fund’s investment activities,” NYSIF Executive Director Eric Madoff said. “Not only has the Fund been successful in attracting MWBE firms, but these firms have performed well and have enhanced the investment performance of the Fund.”
 
NYSIF Board of Commissioners Chairman Kenneth Theobalds said: “NYSIF continues to utilize a variety of outreach programs to expand opportunities for MWBE businesses in all areas of procurement. NYSIF’s commitment to MWBE is consistent with our strong support of New York businesses, in which we have a great sense of pride.”
 
NYSIF Commissioner and Investment Committee Chairman David Ourlicht said: “NYSIF’s Board of Commissioners has established an MWBE Asset Management and Financial Institution Strategy aimed at increasing utilization of MWBE investment and financial services firms. Our MWBE strategy helps us not only find potential MWBE investment firms, but also work with some of the most talented assets managers and brokers in the business.”
 
INITIATIVES THAT HAVE BEEN KEY TO MWBE SUCCESS IN NEW YORK STATE
 
Launched a State of the Art Web-based Contract System
 
The state launched a state-of-the-art web-based contract system in October 2012. The former system used by the state to track MWBE utilization was antiquated and had no capacity to track compliance or allow MWBE firms to apply for certification on-line. The new contract system is the largest active public sector MWBE system in the country and allows MWBE firms, prime contractors, and agencies to:
Identify contract opportunities;
Find prime contractors and subcontractors;
Monitor contract performance; and
Obtain certification on-line.
 
The system also allows the state, for the first time, to closely and effectively monitor how and whether state agencies are spending state dollars with minority- and women- owned businesses and utilizing their best efforts to achieve the Governor's goals.
 
Increased Pool of Certified MWBE Firms
 
New York State's ability to certify MWBE firms across local municipalities was subject to a slow and complex process that hindered business growth. To remove this barrier, the state improved the application process. A single application was created with the input of three agencies: Empire State Development (ESD), the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey and the Department of New York City Small Business Services.
 
By streamlining certification procedures, the Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development increased the pool of certified MWBEs with 2,123 firms added since January 1, 2011 and eliminated an application backlog.
 
Created Network of Opportunities for MWBE Participation and Economic Growth
 
The state is facilitating MWBE economic growth by developing a consistent and comprehensive network of opportunities to exchange information, ideas and resources for business support. The Division of Minority and Women's Business Development provides information and resources to MWBEs. These resources include:
 
  • Information on how to sell to New York State;
  • Information on current New York State contracting opportunities;
  • Tools for launching and expanding a business; and
  • Information on business training, technical support, access to capital programs.
 
Since 2011, the Division has participated in nearly 500 workshops, lectures, fairs and other outreach initiatives specifically aimed at helping MWBE businesses succeed. Through this outreach network, the Division is building an institutionalized infrastructure for MWBEs to use as a proven resource for growing their businesses and identifying contract opportunities that match their respective core competencies and capacities. For example, the Division conducts “Training Tuesday” events – a webinar series providing procurement training and business development resources for MWBE firms.
 
In 2012, the state held the largest statewide MWBE forum attracting over 1,700 attendees and showcasing $1 billion in state contract opportunities. The forum brought together MWBE firms, prime contractors, elected officials and members of the Governor’s cabinet to discuss state contracting opportunities. The state will continue to hold this preeminent event yearly as it provides firms with one-stop access to contract opportunities and access to the state’s key procurement stakeholders.
 
Established System to Ensure Accountability Accountability and Compliance Among the Executive Agencies and Authorities
 
State agencies and authorities were not meeting their obligation to submit Master Goal Plans, a document required by the law, in which agency and authority MWBE programs and MWBE utilization goals are outlined. After months of detailed engagement and monitoring, the State secured in December 2011 Master Goal Plans from 100 percent of state agencies and authorities. Agency commissioners and authority heads are now actively involved in the management of their MWBE programs and the Executive Chamber team provided the strategies to ensure accountability.
 
Created New York State Surety Bond Assistance Program
 
In 2012, the Governor announced the creation of the State’s first surety bond assistance program. The program was established based on the recommendation made in the 2010 Disparity Study. The study mentioned that obtaining credit is a barrier to MWBE growth in the construction industry. The program provides training and financial support to help small and minority- and women- owned businesses secure bonding for up to 30 percent of state contracts. Participating businesses have secured $40 million in surety bonding capacity to date.
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