Articles & Alerts

New York Clears New Opportunities for MWBEs

November 22, 2023

New York’s minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBE) program is operating better than ever, according to Governor Kathy Hochul, who recently announced that the sizable backlog plaguing the system is now cleared thanks to an $11 million investment.

The funds have been used to ramp up resources, bringing in more staff and tools to track applications as they pass through the approvals pipeline. Specialized teams will now review certifications in phases, looking at both active applications and unreviewed submissions. There will also be new quality assurance reviews to ensure regulatory compliance.

The landmark announcement signals an end to the long and frustrating wait times for MWBE certification, removing systemic obstacles for marginalized businesses and helping them compete. Currently, over 30% of state contracts go to MWBEs. The Governor is hoping that improvements to the certification program will help boost that number and create a more inclusive business environment for minority entrepreneurs.

Empowering MWBEs

Nearly $3 billion in State contracts were awarded to MWBE companies during the last fiscal year. This push towards inclusivity is slowly but surely making an impact on the sector, driving growth for qualifying contractors and their partners.

But while the MWBE system is now more streamlined, it can still get complicated.

Anchin’s Regulatory Compliance & Investigations (RCI) team has worked with many high-profile private and public entities to help them plan, organize, and monitor projects involving MWBEs. We also work with MWBEs themselves, helping them navigate the approvals process and get certified or re-certified as needed.

A primary focus of our efforts is outreach. We work across New York State, planning, organizing, and hosting informative networking sessions for clients in the construction sector. These discussions are designed to cut through the technical jargon and clearly outline upcoming opportunities for prime contractors, MWBEs, and other stakeholders. Our specialists share insights on how to take advantage of potential opportunities in line with project needs and business capabilities.

MWBE Opportunity

Over our long history of serving construction clients, Anchin has participated in the process of awarding over $350 million in contracts to over 250 disadvantaged entities. Our team is very active in this space, assisting in billion-dollar projects to ensure all regulatory requirements are met. Clients are fully briefed on every aspect of MWBE participation, from identifying legitimate MWBE contractors to monitoring their performance on the job.

Anchin is currently assisting a major league sports group in the construction of their new billion-dollar stadium, providing consulting services for the oversight, monitoring, reporting, and verification of their MWBE contracts.

Similarly, our team is proud to have worked with the City of Rochester on MWBE compliance relating to the $800 million Rochester Schools Modernization Program. Anchin was engaged to examine and monitor the implementation of the project’s diversity plan and equal-opportunity workforce.

In this role, we implemented digital systems and analytical controls to ensure compliance, as well as auditing certified payroll documentation and reviewing it according to the project’s diversity plan and goals.

Robust Oversight

Working with Anchin gives each of our clients a trusted advisor from inception through to completion. Our full-service approach begins with an initial roadmap for the project, identifying eligible MWBE contractors, vetting their credentials, establishing compliance goals, and commercially useful function (CUF) testing.

Once contracts are awarded, we introduce digital systems and analytics to track and monitor progress – focusing on documentation, workflows, and regular reporting to minimize the risk of fraud, waste, or abuse.

Our team reviews, verifies, and tracks every aspect of the project, including payroll reports, contractor invoices, diversity goals, community impact, and more. We use visual aids and mapping tools to present findings to stakeholders, ensuring a high level of transparency and communication at every stage.

This comprehensive approach allows us to offer clients peace of mind that their reputation is protected and their financial and legal obligations are met – no matter how large or complex the project.

New York has the highest MWBE utilization rate in the country and remains committed to staying in the top spot with focused investment in this niche. Be ready to take advantage of the opportunities arising from the newly improved MWBE system with Anchin’s professional and dedicated team of MWBE specialists.

To discuss your organization’s MWBE compliance needs or learn about the work of the RCI team, contact Brian Sanvidge, Principal & Leader, Regulatory Compliance & Investigations Group or your Anchin Relationship Partner.