FAQs

Questions about MWBE

Below you will find some common questions about the Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) at SUNY:

What are the objectives of the SUNY’S M/WBE-EEO Program?

It is the policy of the State University of New York (SUNY) to take affirmative action to ensure that minority business enterprises (MBEs), i.e., independent business concerns which are at least 51 percent owned and controlled by minority group members (citizens of the United States or permanent resident aliens who are Black, Hispanic, Asian, or American Indian), and women-owned business enterprises (WBEs), i.e., independent business concerns which are at least 51 percent owned and controlled by a women who are citizens of the United States or permanent resident aliens, are given the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to provide the University with goods and services at competitive prices.

The University statement for inclusion in all campus requests for quotations, bid proposals, and contract documents shall be as follows:

 "It is the policy of the State University of New York to take affirmative action to ensure that minority- and women-owned business enterprises are given the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to provide the University with goods and services at competitive prices."

What is Executive Law Article 15-A?

Article 15-A of the Executive Law, signed into law on July 19, 1988, requires State agencies to establish employment and business participation goals for minorities and women on State contracts.   A summary of Article 15-A of the Executive Law is available on the NYS Empire State Development Corporation website.

Do all SUNY contracts have goals for the participation of M/WBEs?

Construction contracts in excess of $100,000, professional services and procurement contracts in excess of $25,000, are subject to M/WBE goal requirements.

How are the M/WBE goals established?

Goals are established based upon geographic location of the project, job trades or service, previous project experience and M/WBE availability. 

If I am a prime contractor and an MBE or WBE can I count myself toward the goals?

No, construction contracts in excess of $100,000, professional services and procurement contracts in excess of $25,000, are subject to M/WBE goal requirements whether you are a NYS certified M/WBE prime contractor or not.

Do M/WBE firms have to be certified?

The use of non-NYS certified firms is not acceptable for M/WBE goal attainment.  Only M/WBE firms certified by Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), Division of Minority & Women's Business Development can be utilized to meet M/WBE participation goals on SUNY contracts.

How do I become New York State certified?

To obtain information on becoming certified in New York State as a minority- or woman-owned business, contact one of the NYS Department of Economic Development offices below or visit the MWBE certification website.

Albany: opa@esd.ny.gov
Division of Small Business
Albany, NY 12245
Phone: (518) 292-5100
Fax: (518) 292-5884

New York City: mwbecertification@esd.ny.gov
NYS 633 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10017-6706
Phone: (212) 803-2414

If my firm is certified by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), is it automatically certified by every Agency and Authority in NYS?

No, if your firm is NYS certified by the Empire State Development Corporation, you can be utilized for goal attainment purposes by most agencies or authorities in New York State.  However, some entities like Port Authority of NY/NJ, Department of Transportation and Metropolitan Transportation Authority have additional certification programs.

Where can I obtain a copy of the directory of M/WBEs?

How can I become registered with SUNY?

The State University of New York is a decentralized systen. Therefore, you have to contact each campus’ S/M/WBE officer or contact individually and ask to be registered with the Purchasing and Physical Plant/Facilities departments.

What is the benefit of registering my firm with SUNY?

Your firm will become part of that specific campus’ outreach effort for procurements. Additionally, you will have a greater chance of being contacted about procurement opportunities that not required to be advertised in the NYSCR (under $20,000).

What initiatives does SUNY take in order to reach out to M/WBEs?

SUNY sponsors several M/WBE vendor fairs through out the State. Check the News & Reports page for the next scheduled event. Additionally, SUNY participates in numerous general and project specific outreach activities throughout NYS to encourage M/WBE participation:  

Look for more details on SUNY’s Small, Minority- & Women-owned Businesses web page or call 518-443-5341

As an M/WBE, how do I get work with SUNY?

M/WBEs can participate on SUNY projects as prime and subcontractors, subconsultants or suppliers.  For more information go the How to do Business with SUNY web page or visit the New York State Contract Reporter (NYSCR) for procurement opportunities advertised by SUNY.

As an M/WBE subcontractor am I guaranteed payment after a certain period of time?

No, SUNY only has a contractual relationship with the prime contractor and cannot guarantee payment to any subcontractor.  However, the campuses require verification of M/WBE participation (through subcontractor agreements and payments) on all SUNY contracts.

As an M/WBE, I have received invitations from contractors to bid on work, but I never get their work. What can I do about that?

When submitting a bid on SUNY contracts the M/WBE should notify the University-wide M/WBE Specialist or the campus’ S/M/WBE officer or contact of their intent to participate.  Additionally, the M/WBE should contact the contractor to whom the bid was submitted to find out the disposition of that bid.

My firm was listed on a Utilization Plan and not solicited or utilized. What can I do about that?

If your firm is listed on a SUNY approved utilization plan and you are not solicited or utilized on the project, please contact Pamela Swanigan, the University-wide M/WBE Director immediately.

Is M/WBE second-tier subcontracting allowed?

Yes.  Second-tier subcontracting is allowed; however, it is not encouraged to prime contractors.  SUNY would prefer a direct relationship between M/WBE its subcontractors and the Prime contractor.

What happens to General Contractors who have abused the M/WBE program?

Executive LawArticle 15A has an enforcement mechanism in place through ESDC.  The prime contractor may face sanction impose by ESDC.

If you have other questions or would like more information about SUNY's M/WBE program, contact Pamela Swanigan, the University-wide M/WBE Director, at SUNY System Administration.  If you have a question about a specific procurement opportunity on a campus, please contact their S/M/WBE officer or contact.

Doing Business with SUNY