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Opportunities for Minority-, Women-Owned, and Disadvantaged- Businesses, and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses

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

Frequently Asked Questions about M/WBE, DBE, and SDVOB


What is the difference between an M/WBE, a DBE, and an SDVOB?

MBE and WBE certification is governed by Article 15-A of the Executive Law (https://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. 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.

Under Article 15-A, the following minority groups are recognized for MBE certification

  • Black persons having origins in any of the Black African racial groups;
  • Hispanic persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Dominican Cuban, Central or South American descent of either Indian or Hispanic origin, regardless of race;
  • Asian and Pacific Islander persons having origins in any of the Far East countries, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent or the Pacific Islands; or
  • Native American or Alaskan Native persons having origins in any of the original peoples of North America.

Individuals qualifying a firm for MBE or WBE certification cannot have a personal net worth that exceeds $3.5 million.

DBE certification is governed by federal regulations found at 49 CFR Part 26 (http://www.ecfr.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 Asian Americans, Women, and any additional groups whose members are designated as socially and economically disadvantaged by the U. S. Small Business Administration. To be economically disadvantaged an individual cannot have a personal net worth that exceeds $1.32 million.

SDVOB certification is governed by Article 17-B of the Executive Law (https://public.leginfo.state.ny.us). To be eligible for SDVOB certification, a firm must be independently owned and operated, must have no more than 300 employees, must have conducted business generally for at least one year prior to applying for certification, must have at least 51% ownership by one or more service-disabled veterans with a service-connected disability rating of 10% or more from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (or from the New York State Division of Veterans’ Affairs for National Guard veterans), service-disabled veteran ownership must be real, substantial, and continuing, eligible service-disabled veteran owner(s) must have and exercise authority to independently control the day-to-day business decisions, the business must qualify as a small business under the New York State program, and the business must be located in New York State or have a significant presence in New York State. (https://ogs.ny.gov/Veterans/)

FAQs

Does my firm have to be certified as an M/WBE, a DBE, or an SDVOB 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 MBE, WBE, DBE, or SDVOB. However, if a firm is seeking to perform work on a contract as an MBE or WBE it must first obtain the appropriate certification from Empire State Development, 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 an SDVOB, it must first obtain certification from New York State Office of General Services, Division of Service-Disabled Veterans’ Business Development.

FAQs

How does M/WBE, DBE, or SDVOB certification help my firm get MTA business?

The Division of Business Programs reviews certain contracts to determine whether they present opportunities for M/WBEs, DBEs, or SDVOBs. Based upon the funding source of contracts and the applicable federal regulation or New York State law, M/WBE, DBE, or SDVOB participation goals may be established on MTA contracts. Once M/WBE, DBE, or SVOB contract goals have been established, only certified M/WBE, DBE, or SDVOB firms may be used to meet the M/WBE, DBE, or SDVOB participation goals.

FAQs

In what other ways does DBE or M/WBE certification help my firm?

M/WBE, DBE, or SDVOB 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 M/WBE, DBE, or SDVOB firms for participation on contracts. Being a certified M/WBE, DBE, or SDVOB firm 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 (https://nysucp.newnycontracts.com). 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 (https://ny.newnycontracts.com) which is used by state agencies and contractors statewide. Certified SDVOB firms can be located at the following web address: https://ogs.ny.gov/Veterans/. Because state government has been mandated by the Governor and Legislature to provide greater opportunity for participation by M/WBEs and SDVOBs in state contracting, certification provides business owners an advantage when marketing goods and/or services to state agencies and authorities.

FAQs

What are the criteria for obtaining certification?

See answer above to the question: What is the difference between an MBE, a WBE, a DBE, or an SDVOB?

FAQs

What is the first step for a firm interested in becoming certified as an M/WBE, a DBE, or an SDVOB?

To apply for MBE or WBE certification you may contact Empire State Development. If you are 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

Website: https://www.esd.ny.gov/MWBE.html

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

Website: https://www.esd.ny.gov/MWBE.html

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

dcamacho@mtahq.org

New York State Department of Transportation
DBE Certification Unit, 6th Floor
50 Wolf Road
Albany, NY 12232

Johnny.cisneros@dot.ny.gov
Website: https://www.dot.ny.gov/main/business-center/audit/dbe-certification

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Office of Business Diversity and Civil Rights
2 Montgomery Street – 2nd Floor
Jersey City, N.J. 07302

iperich@panynj.gov
Website: https://www.panynj.gov/business-opportunities/sd-become-certified.html

Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority
EEO/Diversity Development Department
181 Ellicott Street
Buffalo, NY 14203
Christine_Farrow@nfta.com
Website: https://www.nfta.com

To apply for SDVOB certification you may contact the following:

Office of General Services
Division of Service-Disabled Veterans’ Business Development
32nd Floor, Corning Tower
The Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12242

Phone: 518-474-2015
Email: VeteransDevelopment@ogs.ny.gov

Where is the MWD/BE Utilization Plans Report?

Get the report

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