Bill opening minority or women-owned enterprise program to more businesses in North Country approved
Monday, July 10, 2017 - 8:59 am

A bill to boost the economy and create jobs in rural communities in the North Country by making more businesses eligible to be certified for state contract work has been approved by the Legislature.

The measure, co-sponsored by State Sen. Patty Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, would eliminate the requirement that certified minority or women-owned business enterprise (MWBE) have a net worth of less than $3.5 million.

The MWBE designation gives them an advantage in landing state contracts.

“Every day, the state awards contracts to businesses, however, there are many businesses that are left out of these opportunities for growth due to net worth restrictions,” said Ritchie. “Through this legislation, we can help more small businesses expand their operations, which in turn, will boost our overall economy and create much-needed jobs for the people of our region and our state.”

The senator said in a press statement the need for this legislation stemmed from a business that contacted Ritchie, explaining they had been removed from the MWBE program and ruled ineligible for future state contracts with the help the MWBE designation can provide because the business’s value was above the $3.5 million threshold.

For fiscal year 2015-16, certified MWBEs secured $1.9 billion in state contracts. In addition, since 2011, over 5,500 businesses have become certified MWBEs.

Ritchie is a member of the governor’s MWBE Task Force, which seeks out ways to expand opportunities for minority or women owned businesses across New York.