Two New MWBE Programs to Expand Capacity-Building Opportunities and Offer Certification Assistance to MWBE-Eligible Firms

Proposals Due on Monday, June 5th

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the creation of two new minority and women-owned business enterprise programs. A Request for Proposals has been issued for the creation of the MWBE Business Growth Accelerator and Certification Assistance programs, which are designed to increase capacity and ensure MWBE participation in State contracting. First announced during the Governor’s 2017 State of the State address, the new initiatives will support the growth and momentum of MWBEs across the state, and will be overseen by Empire State Development’s Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development.

“Our economy is strongest when it represents the full spectrum of talent and experience that New York has to offer,” Governor Cuomo said. “From connecting firms with business development tools and resources to setting the highest MWBE procurement goal in the nation, we are continually supporting the advancement of MWBEs across the state. These two programs will build on New York’s incredible momentum and create even greater opportunities for MWBEs to thrive.”

“Empire State Development’s committed support for MWBEs is founded upon simple, commonsense economics —New York’s financial growth and stability depends upon the success of its MWBE businesses,” said ESD President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “We must ensure that MWBE entrepreneurs have the capacity to fully participate in our economy’s vibrant growth. The MWBE Business Growth Accelerator Program and MWBE Certification Assistance Program provide the State with another tool to support the growth of MWBE firms and ensure their participation in State contracting.”

Business Growth Accelerator Program RFP

The NYS MWBE Business Growth Accelerator Program, an initiative first  announced by Governor Cuomo in the 2017 State of the State address,  creates an opportunity for participating MWBEs to receive intensive  technical assistance and business development training through selected  local providers with demonstrated experience in serving this business  community. Up to five grant recipients will be tasked with implementing an 18 month program that includes seminars and individualized one-on-one business development assistance to participating MWBEs, with efforts focused on areas where there is a collective need for standard business acumen.

Grantees will partner with local industry experts in delivering support  and training on a range of business topics, including marketing, finance,  contracting, and sales – tailored to the capacity needs of each  participating MWBE firm.

Certification Assistance Program RFP

The NYS MWBE Certification Assistance Program will identify up to five  selected grantees to provide support to firms seeking NYS MWBE  Certification. This program will allow firms to work with an expert to  identify any deficiencies in their MWBE certification application that may  affect the timeliness and ultimate certification decision by DMWBD.

Governor Cuomo has promoted these programs to provide MWBE firms with the  technical assistance necessary to help their businesses thrive in New York  State. Institutions interested in implementing either of these programs  within their region should visit the Empire State Development website to  obtain information on the RFP proposal response requirements:

  •  The Business Growth Accelerator Program RFP is available Here.
  •  The Certification Assistance Program RFP is available Here.

Awardees for each of these programs will be announced at the 2017 NYS MWBE  Forum.

In 2014, Governor Cuomo set the nation’s highest goal for MWBE procurement  at 30 percent. For fiscal year 2015-2016, MWBEs secured $1.9 billion in  State contracts and under the Governor’s leadership, more than 5,500 MWBEs  have been certified since 2011. During his 2016 State of the State  address, Governor Cuomo pledged to increase MWBE certification by an  additional 2,000 businesses – the State is on track to meet that goal by  2018.

 About Empire State Development

Empire State Development is New York’s chief economic development agency ( The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing  economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities,  increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable  and diversified local economies. Through the DMWBD, ESD seeks to promote  equality of economic opportunities for MWBEs and to eliminate barriers to  their participation and resources that increase access to information and  opportunities for New York State certified Minority and Women-owned  businesses throughout the State. For more information on DMWBD and Empire  State Development, please visit and