Assemblywoman Jaffee (D-Suffern), who is Chair of the Task Force on Women’s Issues, announced the Assembly passed several bills to promote minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) to help provide them with fair and equal opportunities.
“Minority- and women-owned businesses are part of the lifeblood of communities, and they are playing a significant role in helping our economy get back on track,” Assemblywoman Jaffee said. “It’s important to have diverse business owners who bring different perspectives and experiences to the marketplace. These bills will help more MWBEs succeed, in turn creating more jobs in the area and boosting Rockland’s economy.”
One of the bills sponsored by Assemblywoman Jaffee would expand opportunities for MWBEs to participate in state procurements and establish policies to increase competition and diversity in state procurements (A.11527). Other bills that were part of the package of legislation would raise the limit for making purchases from small businesses and MWBEs without a formal competitive process from $100,000 to $200,000 (A.11525), and would encourage public authorities to include minority and women-owned businesses in their procurement processes (A.11526).
In 2006, the Empire State Development Corporation commissioned a study to evaluate whether MWBEs had a full and fair opportunity to participate in state contracting. The report found evidence of statistically significant disparities between participation of MWBEs in the state market and the availability of such businesses. It concluded that these disparities could not be explained by “factors untainted by discrimination.”
Assemblywoman Jaffee added that the 2010-2011 budget provides $3.4 million for the Minority and Women-owned Business Development Program, including:
- $25 million for the Small Business Revolving Loan Fund targeting MWBEs;
- $1.4 million for the Community Development Financial Institutions program;
- $1.2 million for Entrepreneurial Assistance Centers; and
- $635,000 for the Minority and Women-owned Business Development and Lending program.
“I’ve always been a strong supporter of minority- and women-owned businesses and will continue looking for new ways to create better opportunities for these entrepreneurs,” Assemblywoman Jaffee said. “Ending discrimination and providing opportunity for success is a good investment that yields more jobs and a healthier economy.”