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New York Provides Unique Opportunity for More Than 400 Technology Sector MWBE Firms

November 12, 2008 By

Photo: New York State CIO and Director of the Office for Technology, Dr. Melodie Mayberry-Stewart

The New York State Chief Information Officer/Office for Technology (CIO/OFT) together with the Empire State Development's Division of Minority and Women Owned Business Development, NYC Mayor's Office of Contract Services, NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications and NYC Department of Small Business Services recently hosted the Technology Sector MWBE JumpStart event in Brooklyn, New York.

The goal of the Technology Sector Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) JumpStart event was to introduce and connect MWBE companies with the leading global IT companies and help them form strategic partnerships. The event provided opportunities for more than 400 minority and women-owned technology solution providers to network with 41 of the world's leading global technology companies serving New York State and New York City, which represent more than $800 billion in global sales, and 17 state and city agencies.

Attendees had the opportunity to learn how to become minority or woman-certified in the state of New York. Currently, there are approximately 300 state certified MWBE firms that specialize in the technology sector and approximately 7,000 MWBE firms certified across all business sectors.

"At a time when New York faces economic challenges not seen since the great depression, we must do all we can to stimulate economic growth in the communities we serve," said Governor David A. Paterson. "Minority and women-owned businesses are vital to New York State's economic health and events like this one are excellent opportunities for those businesses to foster new relationships that will help create jobs at a time when too many New Yorkers are out of work."

Kay Stafford, founder and president of CMA, the largest woman-owned technology firm in New York State, was a featured speaker during the event. During her closing remarks, Stafford discussed the tools to driving a successful business and the importance of making your product or service available to a new pool of customers.

"Minorities and women play a powerful role in economic development for New York State and need to ensure they are doing all they can to develop new partnerships," said Stafford. "Small businesses cannot afford to wait to be discovered. They need to embrace every opportunity to expand and access new markets throughout New York borders and beyond."

"I am extremely honored to have Kay Stafford with us during such a worthy and necessary event to promote opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses in New York State," said Dr. Melodie Mayberry-Stewart, New York State CIO and director of the Office for Technology. "Kay Stafford is an entrepreneur and businesswoman with an extensive background in an emerging business. As founder and president of CMA, she knows first hand the importance of assuring fair business opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses."

Under the direction of Gov. Paterson, and in partnership with the New York State Division of Minority and Women's Business Development, the CIO/OFT is committed to ensuring all segments of the community have equitable opportunity to participate in technology procurement contracts. CIO/OFT has set a goal to raise the level of minority and women-owned business involvement in state technology purchases to 15 percent by 2009 and 20 percent by 2010.

CIO/OFT has been working with the State Division of Minority and Women Business Development to develop a public-private initiative that will increase opportunities for Technology Sector MWBEs in New York State. Jones-Bey added, "We are taking a page out of the corporate sector's supplier diversity playbook to increase opportunities in New York. When we approached members of the Governor's MWBE Corporate Roundtable and other corporate leaders in the technology sector and told them about our initiative the response was very positive. As a result of this effort the state prime technology vendors have agreed to increase opportunities for MWBEs through

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