Comptroller Stringer announced a new initiative to help minority and women-owned business enterprises, known as M/WBEs, gain access to city contracts.

Known as M/WBE University, the yearlong series of workshops is designed to help M/WBEs get certified with the city, navigate the procurement process and gain access to government business.

Last year, the city awarded more than $1 billion in contracts to M/WBEs, which represent only 4.9 percent of all awards.

The yearlong series of workshops will, for the first time, bring in representatives from major companies such as IBM, CDW and Ricoh Partner, as well as other businesses that contract with the city for legal, construction and accounting services. Along with opening the doors to city contracting, M/WBE University will provide businesses with opportunities in contracting directly with the comptroller’s office.