Each year, New York City and State sign contracts with small businesses to help in delivering many of their most critical goods and services.
At a minimum, these contracts will bill out at up to $100,000, and this past October, the state boosted the threshold for Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) non-competitive procurement contracts to go from $500,000 to $1 million.
“Every dollar city government spends with minority- and women-owned businesses is an investment in a more equitable future,” Maria Torres-Springer, deputy mayor for Economic and Workforce Development, said in response to the state doubling the size of discretionary contract awards. “The city fiercely advocated for this huge step for our M/WBE community because we know that by lifting the discretionary threshold for city contracting, we are lifting up a generation of M/WBEs with greater opportunities to participate in our city’s economic recovery.”
In Fiscal Year 2022, M/WBEs were awarded $6.5 billion in contracts from New York City agencies and authorities. With more funding available, one company is offering to help local businesses get those new contracts by offering a new e-procurement infrastructure.
Mark Eigenbauer, president of e-procurement at mdf commerce, explained that his company’s source-to-pay solutions can help M/WBEs in New York gain access to government contracts.
“We provide the full source-to-pay solutions to state and local governments, and we help them streamline their procurement processes in a fair, transparent way so that all suppliers that are registered can be notified of those opportunities,” said Eigenbauer.
Small businesses don’t always have the capacity to source and bid for various contracts, particularly when it involves a lot of paperwork. E-procurement is just another way of setting up a business’s administrative systems so that everything can be handled digitally.
Businesses can create an account with mdf commerce by registering at bidnet direct. They can then tailor their profile so that they receive alerts about solicitations from state and local agencies that have partnered with mdf commerce. Currently, New York does not offer its agency solicitations on the site, but a customer service rep for mdf advised that you can still see New York procurement bids as they become available—you would just have to apply for them outside of the mdf website. Agencies that have partnered with mdf allow companies to directly bid on the contract solicitations via the mdf website.
Signing up for the notification features and for the ability to bid on the mdf commerce site is free, but there are extra costs for tiered plans on the site which grant a business access to more bid opportunities.
New York City has its own website for M/WBEs to find out about its solicitations. The City Record Online (CROL) publishes the same notices that appear in the City Record newspaper and businesses can bid for contracts on the city’s on e-procurement website, Procurement and Sourcing Solutions Portal (PASSPort). But it does take a while for business owners to learn how to work through the city’s websites.
“We really help reduce the participation barriers,” Eigenbauer states, “because these agencies as they create different solicitations whether they be ‘formal’ or ‘informal’ they can reach out directly to the full supplier community. And our supplier community…in New York alone we have over 10,000 active suppliers and more than 20% of them are minority and women-owned businesses. So, it puts them on an equal playing field where they get notified of the same opportunities that all of the larger suppliers get.”