Cuomo to launch statewide Mentor-Protégé program at annual MWBE forum

By Ryan Deffenbaugh

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo is looking for business owners, community leaders and anyone else interested to register for New York State’s Sixth Annual MWBE Forum, scheduled for Oct. 5-6 in Albany.

The forum, the state’s largest annual business event for minority- and women-owned business enterprises, helps small businesses navigate the state’s available contract opportunities. This year, the forum will unveil a new, statewide Mentor-Protégé program, as well as provide opportunities for small businesses to access billions of dollars in state contracts, according to a press release from Cuomo’s office.

“Minority and women owned businesses are the backbone of a strong and diverse workforce, and this administration led the nation in eliminating the barriers that have limited their participation in the public and private sectors,” Cuomo said in a statement.

The theme of this year’s forum is “Transformation 2016,” which the press release from Cuomo’s office says “highlights the advances MWBEs continue to make in New York and the positive changes they contribute to the state’s business environment.”

More than 2,000 people attended the forum in 2015, according to Cuomo’s office.

Early registration for the event is available through Sept. 23 and can be done online at  nysmwbeforum.org.

The new Mentor-Protégé program will be administered by the Empire State Development’s Division of Minority and Women Business Development. The program’s goal is to facilitate long-term relationships between minority- and women-owned businesses and contractors. It offers technical training and experience to help the business expand in areas of state contracting where MWBE is historically underrepresented, according to the press release.

The state is seeking businesses to serve as mentors in the program. Prospective mentors can contact the state’s Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development at mwbebusinessdev@esd.ny.gov.

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About the author

Ryan Deffenbaugh covers energy, education, food and beverage and the Sound Shore for the Westchester County Business Journal. He previously worked for Westchester Magazine and The Citizen daily newspaper (Auburn, N.Y.). He started with the Westchester County Business Journal in March 2016.

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