New York City Isn’t Awarding Enough Money To Black-Owned Businesses

March 17, 2019  |  

Empire State Building Stays Dark in New York City

Source: Gary Hershorn / Getty

When it comes to giving out contracts to minority-owned and women-owned businesses, New York City isn’t that generous.  According to a 2018 report from the New York City Comptroller’s Office, the Big Apple received a D grade for the fourth year in a row for only awarding $1 billion in contracts to minority-owned and women-owned businesses out of the $19.3 billion awarded last year.  As far for black-owned business, the city received a F.

“The number one problem with being a [minority and women-owned business enterprise] is essentially having to be re-validated every single time,” Tamecca Seril, CEO of consulting firm Element 9, during a meeting with the comptroller Scott Stringer read the results of the report. “It’s not enough to be certified. It’s not even enough to demonstrate that you have x amount of work. For instance, when you get certified, they make you upload all of your actual contracts to show proof of evidence that you’ve done business. But that’s never enough for them. Why are we regurgitating the same information over and over and over again when we have it on file? You see us in the comptroller’s online checkbook. You see we have city contracts. Why do I have to demonstrate this over and over and over again?”

According to The Root, the city doesn’t offer any guidance on how to complete the paperwork to apply for a contract, which is a major hinderance to successfully gaining one.

Love Malone, CEO of advertising recruiting firm The Group, told The Root that the amount of paperwork is also a barrier into gaining a contract.

“New York City is the advertising capital of the world, and you can’t get into the agencies,” Malone said. “I have contracts with Nike and Estée Lauder, but can’t do an ad for the subway.”

The city departments that received a  F for not giving enough contracts to black-owned businesses include the fire department, the department of homeless services, police, finance and design, law and buildings. Latinx-owned businesses are not doing very well either with receiving contracts, as the city received a D for not giving them an adequate amount of contracts.

Ivy Newman, who is the founder and President of Viney Group, said the only way to increase the number of contracts awarded to women-owned and minority-owned businesses is to make it mandatory for agencies to award money to these businesses.

“The only way to increase involvement of [minority-owned businesses] is to set a percentage-based mandate that’s in the city charter that is passed via ballot initiative,” she told The Root. “I think that it should be 10 percent or more. That way, every agency has to meet that mandate. If not, there need to be repercussions.”

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