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Opportunities for Disadvantaged-, Minority-, and Women-Owned Businesses

The MTA and its agencies provide disadvantaged, minority and women-owned businesses with equal access to procurement and contracting opportunities. The MTA Department of Diversity and Civil Rights, Division of Business Programs, administers two programs that encourage and assist such firms wishing to do business with us. The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program applies federal guidelines for providing eligible firms with these opportunities, and the Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) Program applies New York State guidelines.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about DBE and M/WBE


QWhat is the difference between a DBE and an M/WBE?

DBE certification is governed by federal regulations found at 49 CFR Part 26 (http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov). To be eligible for DBE certification, a firm must be a small business concern that is at least 51% owned and controlled by individuals who are citizens or permanent residents and who are also both socially and economically disadvantaged. Under the governing federal regulations, there is a rebuttable presumption that members of the following groups are socially and economically disadvantaged: Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific Americans, Subcontinent Americans, Women, and any additional groups whose members are designated as socially and economically disadvantaged by the U. S. Small Business Administration. In order to be economically disadvantaged an individual cannot have a personal net worth that exceeds $1.32 million.

MBE and WBE certification is governed by Article 15-A of the Executive Law (http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us). To be eligible for MBE or WBE certification, a firm must be a small business which is at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by minority group members and/or women who are citizens or permanent residents. The ownership interest must be real, substantial and continuing and the qualifying owners must have and exercise the authority to independently control the day-to-day business decisions of the firm. The firm must also be authorized to do business in New York State. Under Article 15-A, the following minority groups are recognized for MBE certification

Individuals qualifying a firm for MBE or WBE certification cannot have a personal net worth that exceeds $3.5 million.
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Q Does my firm have to be certified as a DBE or M/WBE to do business with the MTA?

No. Any business may compete for any MTA headquarters or agency contract, either as a prime contractor or as a subcontractor, whether or not they are certified as a DBE, MBE or WBE. However, if a firm is seeking to perform work on a contract as a DBE it must first obtain DBE certification from a Certifying Partner in the New York State Unified Certification Program (NYSUCP). If a firm is seeking to perform work on a contract as a MBE or WBE it must first obtain the appropriate certification from Empire State Development.
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Q How does DBE or M/WBE certification help my firm get MTA business?

The Division of Business Programs reviews certain contracts to determine whether they present opportunities for DBEs or M/WBEs. Based upon the funding source of contracts and the applicable federal regulation or New York State law, DBE or M/WBE participation goals may be established on MTA agency contracts. Once DBE or M/WBE contract goals have been established, only certified DBE or M/WBE firms may be used to meet the DBE or M/WBE participation goals.
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Q In what other ways does DBE or M/WBE certification help my firm?

DBE and M/WBE certification provides your business with the opportunity to be listed in an electronic directory of certified firms, which is used by agencies and contractors to identify DBE or M/WBE firms for participation on contracts. Being a certified DBE or M/WBE may also open the door to opportunities for growing your business by making it easier for you to market your firm to MTA agencies or other government entities.

If your firm is certified as a DBE by the MTA or another Certifying Partner in the NYSUCP your DBE certification will be recognized and accepted by all agencies in New York State that require DBE certification. Additionally, your firm will be listed in the NYSUCP electronic directory (http://biznet.nysucp.net). If your firm is certified as a MBE or WBE by Empire State your firm's M/WBE certification will be listed in the Directory of Certified Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (http://www.nylovesmwbe.ny.gov) which is used by state agencies and contractors statewide. Because state government has been mandated by the Governor and Legislature to provide greater opportunity for participation by M/WBEs in state contracting, certification provides business owners an advantage when marketing goods and/or services to state agencies and authorities.
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Q What are the criteria for obtaining certification?

The eligibility criteria for DBE certification are specifically outlined in the governing federal regulation at 49 CFR Part 26, Subpart D. In summary, a firm must be a small business concern that is at least 51% owned and controlled by individuals who are citizens or permanent residents and who are also socially and economically disadvantaged. The firm must be an independent business and can only receive certification in the areas in which the socially and economically disadvantaged owners exercise control. Firms located outside of New York State must first receive DBE certification from their home state.

The eligibility criteria for M/WBE certification are specifically outlined in Article 15-A of the Executive Law. To summarize, a firm must be an on-going independent business owned, operated and controlled by minority group members and/or women. The ownership must be real, substantial and continuing. The ownership interest must have and exercise the authority to independently control the business decisions of the enterprise. Generally, a business should be in operation for at least one year. Firms located outside of New York State must first obtain certification in their home state and must additionally have a Certificate of Authority to do business in New York State prior to applying for M/WBE certification.
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Q What is the first step for a firm interested in becoming certified as a DBE or an M/WBE?

The NYSUCP is responsible for DBE certification in the state of New York and provides firms with "one-stop" shopping. To apply for DBE certification you may contact any one of the four NYSUCP Certifying Partners listed below.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)
Department of Diversity and Civil Rights
2 Broadway – 16th Floor
New York, NY 10004
Phone: (646) 252-1378
cgreene@mtahq.org
New York State Department of Transportation
Contract Audit Bureau – DBE Certification
50 Wolf Road – 1st Floor
Albany, NY 12232
jejones@dot.state.ny.us
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Small Business Programs
233 Park Avenue South – 4th Floor
New York, NY 10003
Phone: (212) 435-7828
rhsu@panynj.gov
Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority
EEO/Diversity Development Department
181 Ellicott Street
Buffalo, NY 14203
linda_seay@nfta.com
 

To apply for MBE or WBE certification you may contact Empire State Development. If you are located in New York City, Long Island or New Jersey, please contact:

Empire State Development
Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development
633 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10017
www.nylovesmwbe.ny.gov

If you are located in any other part of New York State or are an out-of-state firm, please contact:

Empire State Development
Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development
30 S. Pearl Street – 2nd Floor
Albany, NY 11245
www.nylovesmwbe.ny.gov

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