2020 NYS MWBE Forum: Building Businesses Better

Wednesday, December 2 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. EST

Thursday, December 3 8:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. EST

Friday, December 4 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. EST



Navigate the 2020 NYS MWBE Forum and better PREPARE FOR OPPORTUNITIES that New York State offers to MWBEs. Join sessions today that will provide your business with strategies and tools for Building Businesses Better.

NEW! Take away your MWBE Business Resource Toolkit with six important on-demand webinars to help you steer your business through changing economic conditions.

9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Opening Session: NYS Building Businesses Better

The Tenth Annual New York State MWBE Forum Opening Session will highlight State leadership and celebrate a decade of strengthening opportunities and providing economic empowerment prospects for minority- and women-owned businesses.

10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Special Update on Article 15 A

Article 15-A provides the legislative framework for the operations of New York State’s MWBE Program. Hear first-hand from State leadership about the reauthorized program and the new rules and regulations set forth by the State that expand opportunities for New York State’s certified MWBEs.

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

NYS Access to Capital Programs and Other COVID-19 Funding Resources

New York State continues to be at the forefront of small business support and recovery during COVID-19. This important session will highlight NYS’ access to capital programs and other funding resources designed to assist MWBEs operate and grow their firms during this critical time.

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.


Insurance – the ability to secure coverages and bonding and obtain the correct coverages – are key to MWBEs success. With spiraling insurance costs, learn what you need to know to secure coverage, the ins and outs of OCIPS and CSIPS, the types of coverages that owners require, practical tips for improving your experience rating, and much more. If you are competing for construction projects – small or larger, add this insurance session to your tool kit.

1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.


From its award-winning Statewide Surety Bond Training Program to discretionary purchasing, DASNY recognizes the importance of thinking outside of the box. So, what is ahead on the frontier of procurement? This session will feature DASNY’s procurement team and provide important insights for certified firms.

2:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

Journey to Success: MWBE Procurement Best Practices

This signature Forum session is designed to share New York State’s MWBE business success stories in 3 components: agency, prime and subcontractors. Learn more about MWBEs as primes on state contracts and ways that access to capital, innovative procurement approaches, strategic relationships and technical assistance programs demonstrate business best practices.


What skills, resources and strategies will MWBEs need to grow and thrive in challenging economic environments? Join six intensive on-demand webinars designed to provide you with business tools and resources that will change the way you operate and manage your firm today and into the future.

Your take-away: key resources and information you need to succeed.

Managing Unexpected Costs

How can you cover unexpected and general operating business costs in a challenging economy? This session will help you identify NYS and private sector capital resources to help you navigate your business in the coming months and into 2021. Learn about NYS and private sector financing resources, lines of credit, grants, loans and more. Discover how to prepare required documents, who can help you and how to navigate the capital access process.

The Impact of the New Normal on Your Business

The pandemic has created a new normal and the impact on your business is significant. This session will include an intensive primer on the following topics:

  • How to work virtually
  • Strategies for restructuring and downsizing teams
  • Exploring new workspace options
  • Implementing COVID-19 safety measures to protect and promote productivity
Pivot 360: Reposition and Rebrand during the Pandemic

What worked before may not work now. This session will help you re-evaluate your business plan, strategy and market position. Assess what resources you need to improve your business position or embark in new directions.

Winning Contracts Bids: RFPs, RFQs, RFIs and More

Government contracting requires a deep understanding of how to respond to a business opportunity. This session will introduce you to several types of responses: Request for Qualifications {RFQs], Request for Information (RFIs}, Request for Proposals (RFPs) and Requests to Bid (RFBs). The session will help you evaluate a request, understand what needs to be completed and how to strategically organize your team and bid.

How to Win a Job, and STILL Make a Profit

Cash is king, but pricing projects correctly is the road to business success. This session will analyze a project and how to arrive at the right price – one that will win you the job and ensure you have profit. This session is a fundamental one for every business owner who needs to understand competitive and effective bid pricing for government contracting.

Alone? Or Together?

Teaming is a multi-faceted strategy for building capacity as well as bidding on work that you might not otherwise consider. Teaming takes a variety of forms – joint ventures, partnerships, strategic alliances – and they all require specific steps and protocols to ensure that your teaming relationship will work. Teaming also provides you with added talent, capacity, competencies and availability in areas you may not have considered before. This session will provide the basics, suggested strategies and best practices for operating successfully in a teaming environment.


The day begins with several sessions designed to help you identify opportunities and understand how to evaluate them and determine if they are right for your business. Next, join targeted sessions that will introduce you to new contract opportunities with NYS. Navigate top projects and market sector opportunities. Match the right ones for your business!

8:45 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Identifying Opportunities: Strategy and Vision: Special Session Presented by Goldman Sachs

To bid on a project, or not bid on a project? This is the important question certified small businesses ask themselves almost every day. This session is developed in partnership with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses and will give you valuable insight into identifying opportunities that align with your vision, a strategy to use to determine which opportunities are right for you and the options to pivot to achieve success.

9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

What Do We Need?: A Report from NYS Government Agencies and Authorities

As capital budgets, as well as agency and authority priorities, continue to evolve, this key session will provide you with the opportunity to hear first-hand what New York State decision-makers are looking for from certified MWBEs and where you can find new opportunities.

10:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Discretionary Awards: Build a Roadmap to New Opportunities

Legislated by New York State, discretionary awards provide a special opportunity for MWBEs to bid on contracts up to $500,000 for all Article 15-A agencies and up-to $1 million for the MTA. This session will help you identify the opportunities and develop a strategy for bidding and winning these contracts.

Target New Opportunities in Big Projects

Top Project sessions include key ventures that highlight New York State as a national economic development leader and one of the country’s strongest advocates for MWBEs. Sessions will showcase the areas for significant state spending and substantial demand for qualified MWBEs.

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Opportunities at the MTA

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Airports: LaGuardia and JFK Airports

12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Belmont Park Redevelopment

12:45 p.m. -1:45 p.m.

Vital Brooklyn Initiative and other Affordable Housing Projects


There are new opportunities through New York State for service providers, consultants, suppliers and manufacturers. Navigate the markets you already do business in and explore some new ones to identify the best opportunities for your business.

1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

OGS Opportunities: Commodities and Information Technology

More than ever, New York State is relying on technology and certified firms that can offer creative solutions to its needs. If you are an MWBE who works in information technology (IT), and/or commodities, this session is for you! Attendees will learn about doing business with the Office of General Services (OGS), which presently manages more than 1,500 centralized contracts, valued at over $22 billion. You will also gain a better understanding of the OGS’s procurement process, including preferred sources, centralized state contracts and agency or multi-agency contracts.

2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Schools, Colleges and Universities Reimagined

As schools, colleges and universities reimagine the way students learn, join this special session to hear from key decision-makers on the future of their capital programs and the new contract opportunities emerging at their agencies, authorities and institutions. MWBEs can explore statewide opportunities in non-construction commodity and professional service procurements in this sector, along with new campus construction, dormitory and incubator projects, renovations and facility maintenance. This session provides a roadmap for all types of government procurements, construction and non-construction services and commodities, in New York State’s educational sector.

2:45 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Healthcare Opportunities in a Changing Market

The healthcare industry has found itself in a tremendous period of growth and change. This important session will assist MWBEs in navigating the procurement opportunities at the New York State Department of Health (DOH) and hospitals throughout the state. Plan on joining this session designed to provide an economic and contract outlook in this expanding and changing market. Both construction and non-construction goods and service procurements will be covered.

3:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

Transportation Opportunities in NYS

With $9.8 billion for new capital investments in transportation infrastructure and increased aid to localities downstate and upstate projected, the opportunity pipeline for MWBEs is strong at the NYS Department of Transportation (DOT). During this session attendees will learn about the statewide DOT projects, including the BRIDGE NY and $100 million for local highway improvements and reconstruction through the PAVE NY program.

3:45 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Architecture and Engineering Opportunities

As capital programs and priorities shift throughout 2020 and beyond, this important session will review the upcoming opportunities for certified architects and engineers. This session will focus on architecture and engineering opportunities and what certified firms need to know about doing business with New York State agencies and authorities.

4:45 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Investment, Financial, Legal and Accounting Services Opportunities Outlook

Opportunities for asset managers, bond underwriters, accountants, auditors and attorneys are increasing throughout New York State as agencies and authorities continue to reposition themselves for new financial strategies to build and sustain the State. Join interactive sessions to learn about opportunities in this market sector, tips on teaming with primes and other certified firms and how to participate in the contracting process in these professional service markets. Hear from leading financial services professionals active in this market and assess the new opportunities available to your firms.

4:45 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.

Accounting, Auditing and Management Consulting

This session examines MWBE opportunities for accounting, auditing and related consulting services in New York State. Teaming, building new relationships and the pipeline of professional services consulting opportunities are the focus of this discussion.

4:45 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.

Legal Services

Learn about the types of legal services needed by New York State, procurement cycles, non- bond work, immigration, tax and environmental law and how MWBE outreach is conducted along with best practices for building new business relationships. Join the conversation, meet some key decision makers and determine your action plan for new contract possibilities.

5:30 p.m. – 6:00 pm.

Asset Management: Market Trends and Opportunities

This special session reviews asset management opportunities in New York State as well as examining MWBE participation strategies.

5:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Bond Underwriting: Market Trends and Opportunities

From the perspectives of several different agencies and authorities, join a conversation to review bond underwriting opportunities in New York State. The working dynamic between the authorities and the investment banking community will be a focus of this discussion.


Looking for access to capital and technical assistance for loans, grants and other financial support? Stop by the NYS Business Financing Information Center and speak with Empire State Development representatives who can provide resources, tools and tips for funding resources.

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.


1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

***by appointment only

Take the opportunity to virtually connect with certification analysts for a one-on-one, 10-minute session regarding the New York State MWBE certification process. Sign up in advance at Empire State Development’s Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development’s virtual booth!


This series of four on-demand sessions will provide you with what you need to know to be more strategic in NYS government procurements. Remember to download these sessions into your virtual briefcase to refer to after the Forum.

NYS MWBE Certification Made Easy

Jump-start the certification process with the guidance of Empire State Development’s Certification Team. During this “on-demand” session, you can learn about NYS MWBE certification eligibility criteria, the application process and how your online profile impacts your business potential.

Open the 2020 NYS MWBE Opportunities eBook

The 2020 NYS MWBE Opportunities eBook is your digital resource for learning about the State’s 97 NYS agencies and authorities, how to connect with them and what opportunities are in the pipeline. This is a must-read to leverage your Forum experience.

Navigate the New York State Contract Reporter

This informative on-demand session will help you navigate the New York State Contract Reporter, New York State’s official source for contracting opportunities, to find advertised state procurement opportunities for commodities, services and construction projects.

How to do Business with New York State

Enrich your understanding of how to leverage your NYS MWBE certification. During this on-demand session you will learn best practices and helpful tips for working with New York State, including understanding the State’s procurement process, how to market your firm, navigate contracting opportunities, as well as how to work with Empire State Development’s (ESD) Business Development Team.


Take advantage of a one-of-a-kind, virtual opportunity to meet decision makers and procurement officers from New York State’s Agencies and Authorities. Forge mutually beneficial relationships with government professionals and learn about new projects in current and upcoming pipelines.


Dive into a unique virtual networking experience! Attendees will be able to visit dozens of booths – communicating via chat or video chat. Be sure to efficiently utilize your time by mapping out which virtual booths you will be visiting!


Join these on-demand workshops that will provide invaluable information and strategies for building your business better into 2021 and beyond. Be sure to download each one of them into your virtual briefcase to take away for future reference.

Design Build Project Opportunities

Join this informative session to learn how you can navigate the design build procurement process. Industry experts will break down the design build process and share important insights into the procurement timeline and the best way to build relationships with design build teams already working on projects and those that are building new MWBE talent banks.

Building Great Companies

Successful business owners will share their first-hand experience on building, maintaining and growing successful teams and companies. View this on-demand session if you are looking for practical, real-time advice from industry leaders and are ready to take your business to the next level!

A Workers Compensation Workshop for MWBEs

Join New York State Workers Compensation Board (WCB) as they provide an important overview on what businesses need to know about workers compensation coverage. This on-demand session is a must- attend for small businesses that are new or have questions about workers compensation and compliance requirements.

Affordable Housing Opportunities: NYS Homes and Community Renewal and the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance

New York State continues to provide funding to support the $20 billion five-year investment in affordable housing to ensure New Yorkers who are homeless or at risk of homelessness have safe and secure housing. New York State’s goal is to create or preserve 100,000 new affordable housing and 6,000 supportive housing units. This session will review the opportunities in this market sector.

Advertising & Marketing, Graphic Design, Food & Beverage, Medical, Dental Supplies, Insurance, Janitorial Services: New Business Opportunities in NYS

The opportunities are HERE! This session is packed with insightful information for MWBEs who are active in advertising and marketing, graphic design, food and beverage, medical, dental supplies, insurance and janitorial services. Learn about which NYS agencies and authorities have contract opportunities and how best to bid them.

PLA Primer: How to Build a Union Project Portfolio

Wary of signing onto a construction project with a Project Labor Agreement (PLA)? This session will introduce you to the art and science of navigating a PLA. Topics include: understanding the short and long-term value of a PLA, the role that PLAs play in creating new and sustainable relationships and how to protect and negotiate your position when a dispute or claim occurs.


Ready to CONNECT WITH OPPORTUNITIES and meet your next business relationship? Sign up for “In the Booth” Meetups with public and private sector organizations. You must pre-register, bring your capability statement and have your impactful introductory pitch ready to make the best connection. Remember, there are no waitlists today, so be on time and prepared for your appointment.

Make time to visit the special NYS MWBE Forum Chat Room and connect with other MWBEs and find new teaming partners.

After networking, close out the 2020 Forum with a special MWBE Champion Awards Reception, starting live at 2:30 p.m.

9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

“In the Booth” Meetups

This is your unique opportunity to virtually meet New York State private sector corporations and New York State public sector authorities and agencies. These 10-minute sessions will provide you the opportunity to introduce your company and learn more about potential contract opportunities. Meeting opportunities are limited, and you need to sign up early for an “In the Booth” Meetup.

You must pre-register online on Day 1 to participate in this opportunity of the conference. Meetings are scheduled through the virtual platform at exhibitor booths. Meetings are scheduled on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Meet with procurement decision makers in the following market sectors:

  • Architecture & Engineering
  • Construction and Commodities (Construction)
  • Commodities and Services (Non-Construction)
  • Information Technology
  • Professional Services including Financial, Accounting and Auditing Services
  • Transportation and Recovery, Resiliency and Community Redevelopment

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

MWBE to MWBE in the NYS MWBE Forum Chat Room

A signature session at the Forum, MWBE to MWBE is an opportunity for certified firms to meet with one another to explore potential partnerships. This virtual networking session is for MWBEs who are seeking to build their capacity through teaming and creating strategic alliances with other MWBEs. Check out the NYS MWBE Forum Chat Room to find out who is ready to take a meeting.

1:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

NYS Small Business Roundtable

NEW! This intimate roundtable will include a thought-provoking conversation between MWBEs and New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. Key takeaways will include how certified firms are partnering with NYS agencies and authorities to build their businesses better, as well as how these firms are pivoting throughout 2020.

2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

MWBE Champion Awards Reception

Every year, the NYS MWBE Forum celebrates the industry’s leading public service professionals, honoring them for their commitment to increasing opportunities for certified firms. End your Forum experience with this exciting, virtual awards reception!

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are several areas of Frequently Asked Questions that will help you navigate the new virtual 2020 NYS MWBE Forum portal. If your question is not answered below, please email us at info@nysmwbeforum.orgor visit the Help Desk on the portal.


The event lobby can be interacted either by clicking on the individual locations on the screen, such as the exhibit hall or auditorium, or by using the navigation bar at the top of the screen.
If you are currently logged into the event and having problems within the conference portal, please click on the Help Desk in the Lobby or select the Help Desk option at the top in the Navigation Bar. If you are not able to enter the conference, please email info@nysmwbeforum.orgor call (212) 756-1236 ext. 104 for assistance.
The Program/Agenda is located at the top in the Navigation Bar.
Please email info@nysmwbeforum.org with your name, email, phone number, and registration info and we will assist in getting you into the event.Assistance is also available via phone at (212) 756-1236 ext. 104


Select either the Auditorium in the Lobby or above in the Navigation Bar and you will be able to see the current webinar being broadcasted. You will also see the full schedule for the rest of the day .
Previous sessions may be available immediately since they take time to download. You will be able to access all previous live sessions 24 hours after the event.
Webinars will become “on demand”, meaning can be watched at any time, 24 hours after they have been “live”. Please note all event content will be available for 30 days after the event. With your credentials, you can log in and download webinars and materials to your personal files.
Yes, you can place your questions in the Chat function during the webinar and the panelists will be able to see and respond. Once a webinar goes to “on demand” please be aware that questions cannot be entered in as it is a recording of a previous session. However, you can email your question to info@nysmwbeforum.org and we will try to get you an answer.

Please explain the different types of webinars and my options for asking questions.
  • Live – a live webinar is occurring in real time and the moderator/panelists can see questions in the chat window and answer in real time.
  • Semi-Live – a recorded webinar followed by the moderator/panelists can see questions in the chat window and answer in real time.
  • On Demand – a recorded webinar that can be viewed at any time. Questions are not able to be asked/answered.


To see and interact with exhibitors, either click on Exhibit Hall in the Lobby or select it on the Navigation Bar.
Once you enter the Exhibit Hall, a list of all exhibitors will appear on the lower left-hand corner of the Hall. You can also scroll through the booths by highlighting the right arrow in the exhibitor area and moving through the different exhibitor booths.
Once you select a booth, there will be a chat function available to speak with the booth’s staff either via a text/chat box or video.
You are able to visit a booth and download videos and documents to your Document folder. Under Documents in the Exhibit Booth you can use the button to the right of the document called “Briefcase” and it will store the information provided in the booth. If you do not save information immediately, you must return at the end of the event to download the information.
Select “Briefcase” in the Navigation Bar and you will be able to see all the different assets collected from the exhibit booths. You can either email or print any or all documents from this screen.


Meetings can be done via the Exhibit Booth of the agency or company that you would like to meet. A sign in sheet will be available the morning of the event. The schedule is based on the Exhibitor’s availability
You can upload your capability statement in the following way: in each exhibitor’s booth there is a “contact us” button that will allow you to email the exhibitor directly. We recommend creating a cover letter, attaching your capability statement, and using a clear and precise subject line so that the exhibitor can located your information in their email.
Yes, if you have a scheduled meeting, you will be able to deliver you elevator pitch to the intended exhibitor. Be sure to keep it short and have some questions prepared so that you can keep you meeting tightly timed and impactful.
One-On-One meetings are always limited and subject to availability, whether at a live or a virtual event. If you find a specific exhibitor has a no additional availability, use the “contact us” button and you will be able to email the exhibitor to set up a meeting outside of the event.


The help desk can provide information on where specific exhibitors or sessions are located or occurring. The help desk can also help with some technical issues that attendees might have during the conference.