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For Immediate Release
April 28, 2011


M/WBE Program To Help Grow Local Businesses

Highland, NY – New York State will spend over $10 Billion on goods, services and contracts this year alone and providing access to these opportunities for small business can only help the Hudson Valley economy. 

With Governor Cuomo’s renewed focus on Minority and Women Owned Businesses (M/WBE) as a critical component to improving our economy, encouraging historically disadvantaged businesses to be competitive might just have the biggest impact for local residents. 

One way local businesses can connect directly with these opportunities is to attend the 5th Annual Gateway to Entrepreneurial Tomorrows (GET) Conference on May 5th in Fishkill.

The NYS Bridge Authority is a lead sponsor of the program which includes networking opportunities for small businesses with a number of state agencies.  The program also includes detailed sessions on how qualified businesses can become certified and how certified M/WBEs can do business with the state.

“According to the Federal Small Business Administration, small businesses employ just over half of all private sector employees and have generated 64 percent of net new jobs over the past 15 years,” Bridge Authority Executive Director Joseph Ruggiero said, “and a growing portion of new small businesses in our country are minority and women-owned.”

Ruggiero said the growth and expansion of small businesses may provide the best opportunity for long-term economic recovery.  “While working with Minority and Women Owned businesses has been a goal for state and local governments for some years, a renewed emphasis by Governor Cuomo may help these businesses spur new economic activity,” Ruggiero added.

The Bridge Authority is also expanding its own efforts to attract minority and women businesses as well as other small businesses in the Hudson Valley.   NYSBA posts contract and procurement opportunities on its website and is using new medium like twitter and Facebook to allow low-cost communication to the region’s businesses.  The NYSBA web site is www.nysba.net.

Gateway to Entrepreneurial Tomorrows (GET) is a nonprofit organization helping minorities and low income people start their businesses in the Hudson Valley. 
Enrique Rob Lunski, Ph.D, President of GET, said “We are excited about the opportunities that exist to link major contractors and agencies with smaller vendors, especially minority and women owned businesses that traditionally didn’t look at these opportunities.  The transportation industry is a major component in the Hudson Valley and the more business that stays local, the better we’ll all be.” 

The GET 5th Hudson Valley Entrepreneurial Conference and Expo is on Thursday, May 5th from 10 to 4 at the Ramada Conference Center in Fishkill, NY.   For more information and registration, please contact GET at (845) 787-4328 or go online at gethudsonvalley.org.