New York Provides Unique Opportunity for More Than 400 Technology Sector MWBE Firms

New York State and New York City bring together world leading technology companies and state MWBE firms for Jumpstart Event.

by / November 12, 2008

Photo: New York State CIO and Director of the Office for Technology, Dr. Melodie Mayberry-Stewart

The New York State Chief Information Officer/Office for Technology (CIO/OFT) together with the Empire State Development's Division of Minority and Women Owned Business Development, NYC Mayor's Office of Contract Services, NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications and NYC Department of Small Business Services recently hosted the Technology Sector MWBE JumpStart event in Brooklyn, New York.

The goal of the Technology Sector Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) JumpStart event was to introduce and connect MWBE companies with the leading global IT companies and help them form strategic partnerships. The event provided opportunities for more than 400 minority and women-owned technology solution providers to network with 41 of the world's leading global technology companies serving New York State and New York City, which represent more than $800 billion in global sales, and 17 state and city agencies.

Attendees had the opportunity to learn how to become minority or woman-certified in the state of New York. Currently, there are approximately 300 state certified MWBE firms that specialize in the technology sector and approximately 7,000 MWBE firms certified across all business sectors.

"At a time when New York faces economic challenges not seen since the great depression, we must do all we can to stimulate economic growth in the communities we serve," said Governor David A. Paterson. "Minority and women-owned businesses are vital to New York State's economic health and events like this one are excellent opportunities for those businesses to foster new relationships that will help create jobs at a time when too many New Yorkers are out of work."

Kay Stafford, founder and president of CMA, the largest woman-owned technology firm in New York State, was a featured speaker during the event. During her closing remarks, Stafford discussed the tools to driving a successful business and the importance of making your product or service available to a new pool of customers.

"Minorities and women play a powerful role in economic development for New York State and need to ensure they are doing all they can to develop new partnerships," said Stafford. "Small businesses cannot afford to wait to be discovered. They need to embrace every opportunity to expand and access new markets throughout New York borders and beyond."

"I am extremely honored to have Kay Stafford with us during such a worthy and necessary event to promote opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses in New York State," said Dr. Melodie Mayberry-Stewart, New York State CIO and director of the Office for Technology. "Kay Stafford is an entrepreneur and businesswoman with an extensive background in an emerging business. As founder and president of CMA, she knows first hand the importance of assuring fair business opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses."

Under the direction of Gov. Paterson, and in partnership with the New York State Division of Minority and Women's Business Development, the CIO/OFT is committed to ensuring all segments of the community have equitable opportunity to participate in technology procurement contracts. CIO/OFT has set a goal to raise the level of minority and women-owned business involvement in state technology purchases to 15 percent by 2009 and 20 percent by 2010.

CIO/OFT has been working with the State Division of Minority and Women Business Development to develop a public-private initiative that will increase opportunities for Technology Sector MWBEs in New York State. Jones-Bey added, "We are taking a page out of the corporate sector's supplier diversity playbook to increase opportunities in New York. When we approached members of the Governor's MWBE Corporate Roundtable and other corporate leaders in the technology sector and told them about our initiative the response was very positive. As a result of this effort the state prime technology vendors have agreed to increase opportunities for MWBEs through

joint-venture partnerships, subcontracts, and the establishment of distributorships and reseller agreements. I commend Dr. Mayberry-Stewart for her commitment to improve New York's implementation of technology while increasing opportunities for MWBEs."

Twenty-one technology corporations have voluntarily pledged to increase their use of MWBEs to 20 percent by 2010. The 21 corporations embracing this commitment are: Accenture, Avaya, BearingPoint, Computer Aid, CGI, Dell, Deloitte, Dunn and Bradstreet, EDS, Gateway, IBM, Intel, Johnson Controls, Microsoft, nFrastructure Technologies, Oracle, Qwest, Siemans, Tanberg, Unisys, and Xerox.

CIO/OFT is hopeful events like today's conference will encourage more large technology companies to create opportunities for MWBEs and promote diversity throughout supplier networks.

"Successful implementation of technology -- not only to efficiently deliver services, but to make government more accessible and accountable in the process -- is a key consideration in all projects we undertake," said Paul J. Cosgrave, New York City CIO and commissioner of the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications. "As we continue improving the way New York City serves its customers, more than ever before opportunities abound for MWBEs to offer innovative solutions to the new and emerging challenges we face, and I look forward to those partnerships we will begin building today."

"I commend the city, state agencies and Government Technology for their efforts in organizing this event and providing an opportunity for city and state MWBE-certified firms to connect with prime IT vendors and agency buyers. As we bring new competitors into the process and continue to build minority and women-owned business enterprise vendors' capacity, this networking reception and events like it help to increase competition for the city's business, thereby benefiting all New Yorkers" said Marla Simpson, director and city chief procurement officer of New York City Mayor's Office of Contract Services.

The Technology Sector MWBE JumpStart event is aimed at building relationships and partnerships between leaders of global technology companies and MWBE firms. The conference provides a unique environment for MWBEs to network with the most senior players from some of the largest global technology companies under one roof. At the request of Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples, the CIO/OFT and the NYS Division of Minority and Women Business Development will host the next Technology Sector in Buffalo, New York in spring 2009.