1. Why does CUNY have a MWBE program?

It is the policy of the City University of New York (CUNY) for all vendors including minority and women-owned business enterprises, to have the opportunity to provide the University with goods and services at competitive prices. According to the 2010 New York State Disparity Study, Minority / Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) have a historical disadvantage in winning New York State contracts.

2. What is New York Executive Law, Article 15-A?

Article 15-A of the New York Executive Law, signed into law on July 19, 1988, requires State agencies to establish employment and business participation goals for minorities and women on State contracts. Additional information on Article 15-A is available on the NYS Empire State Development website.

3. How do CUNY’s MWBE participation goals work?

The University sets MWBE participation goals for contract expenditures with NYS-certified minority or woman-owned business enterprises. Pursuant to applicable law and University policy, CUNY sets an aggregate MWBE participation goal for each fiscal year and sets contract-specific goals on certain CUNY contracts. CUNY can meet its goals by engaging with MWBE prime contractors or with MWBE subcontractors. When MWBE subcontractors are used to meet the goal, the goal represents a percentage of awarded contract value that should be earned and paid to firms that are owned by a NYS-certified MWBE.

4. Do all CUNY contracts have MWBE participation goals?

CUNY considers setting MWBE participation goals on certain contracts greater than $25k for labor, services, equipment or materials, and for certain contracts greater than $100k for the acquisition, construction, demolition, replacement, major repair or renovation of real property and improvements whenever practicable, feasible, and appropriate.

5. How does CUNY enforce MWBE participation goals?

CUNY reviews MWBE Utilization Plans submitted by prospective vendors who respond to a CUNY solicitation during the selection process. The MWBE Utilization Plan details the MWBE subcontractors that will assist in completing the request scope of work/services. CUNY may also reviews the payments being made to subcontractors to determine that the Prime Contractor is making progress and at minimum, engaging in good faith efforts to meet MWBE goals.

6. Do MWBEs have to be certified?

Yes, MWBEs must be certified with NYS Empire State Development. The use of non-NYS certified MWBEs will not be accepted for MWBE participation goal requirements.

7. How do I become certified by New York State?

Vendors are encouraged to visit the Empire State Development’s MWBE certification website for additional information on how to become New York State certified MWBE.

8. Does CUNY accept MWBE certifications by the following entities: City of New York; NYC Department of Small Business Services; NYC School Construction Authority; NY/NJ Minority Supplier Development Council; Women’s President Educational Organization; Women’s Business Enterprise National Council; Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, or Disadvantaged Business Enterprise; 8(a) Designation; or HUBZone Business Enterprise certifications?

No. CUNY recognizes MWBE certifications from NYS Empire State Development for its participation goals.

9. Where I can obtain assistance in completing my MWBE certification application?

There are a number of organizations that provide assistance to vendors in obtaining MWBE certification from NYS, as well as certifications by other entities. Organized and operated independently of CUNY, a Procurement Technical Assistance Center and six New York Small Business Development Centers are located at certain CUNY campuses and offer free assistance with completing MWBE applications.

10. Where can I access the New York State MWBE Directory?

NYS Empire State Development maintains the New York State MWBE Directory.

11. How can I obtain additional information on how to become a CUNY vendor?

To obtain information on current solicitations or on any potential bidders/proposers’ lists, vendors are encouraged to contact the Office of University Purchasing and the Purchasing Director at each CUNY college

12. What initiatives does CUNY take to promote CUNY’s MWBE program?

Outreach events, including the annual CUNY & CUCF Supplier Diversity Conference, and this website are some of the means by which CUNY promotes MWBE participation.

13. As a MWBE, how can I obtain work with CUNY?

MWBEs are encouraged to provide goods and services as either primes or subcontractors depending on their business’ organizational capacity to provide the University with the goods and services at competitive prices. CUNY encourages MWBEs to review the New York State Contract Reporter and the City Record for advertised opportunities and award announcements.