The 2017 report reveals: From the $21 billion the city spent for products and services contracted to outside vendors, just $1 billion was spent with M/WBEs

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For the third year in a row, Comptroller Scott Stringer awarded the city a “D+” for its lack of contracting with minority- and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBE). In “Making the Grade,” the annual evaluation of 31 mayoral city agencies and the comptroller’s office, Stringer analyzed the actual spending of each agency in a fiscal year with minority- and women-owned firms. The report aims to provide greater transparency on the city’s spending and to encourage and promote the increased utilization of M/WBEs.

“By contracting with a diverse array of businesses, the city fosters the competition needed to spend taxpayer dollars most efficiently,” stated Stringer in his report. “A vibrant M/WBE program is vital for the fiscal and economic health of the city and its communities.”

A map of M/WBEs in NYC – Asian American-owned businesses (green), Black American-owned businesses (blue), Hispanic American-owned businesses (yellow), Women-owned businesses (red). Source:

The report found that since 2014, the city has made tangible progress thanks to designating funding and personnel to oversee the M/WBE program: In 2017 more companies registered as M/WBEs, increasing the total number from 4,115 in 2015 to 5,259 in 2017; more M/WBEs received city contracts; and the city increased its overall spending with M/WBEs from $463.5 million in 2015 to $1.037 billion in 2017.

Yet, the report also shows: From the $21 billion the city spent for products and services contracted to outside vendors, just $1 billion was spent with M/WBEs – only 4.9% of all city contracts were awarded to minority- and women-owned businesses.

Smaller agencies like the Department for the Aging, Small Business Services and the Commission on Human Rights increased the amount of money spent on M/WBEs and therefore received “A” grades. However, some of the city’s largest agencies – with the largest budgets –  such as the Department of Buildings, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, the Department of Sanitation and the Department of Transportation received “Fs” for their decline in spending with minority- and women-owned businesses.

The comptroller concluded his report with recommendations: Every city agency should hire a full-time Chief Diversity Officer to focus exclusively on M/WBE accountability; the city and the state should implement a single platform for M/WBE certification to streamline the certification process ; and the city should assess large contracts with upcoming renewals and consider rebidding those contracts to create new opportunities for M/WBEs.

“New York City is home to the most diverse business community in the country, and the success of New York City’s minority- and women-owned businesses – which collectively employ almost 600,000 New Yorkers – is critical to the city’s economy,” stated Stringer.


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