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Opportunities for minorities, women and veterans with service disabilities

Updated Mar 31, 2021
Guide to business opportunities with us

The MTA and its agencies provide equal access to procurement and contracting opportunities to business that are owned by minorities, women, and veterans with service-related disabilities.

The MTA's Department of Diversity and Civil Rights, 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, while the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program applies federal guidelines for providing eligible firms with these opportunities.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are M/WBEs, DBEs, and SDVOBs?

MBE and WBE certification is governed by Article 15-A of the Executive Law. To be eligible for MBE or WBE certification, a firm must be a small business that is at least 51 percent owned, operated, and controlled by minority group members and/or women who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States. 

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 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 $15 million after allowable deductions. 

How are M/WBEs, DBEs, and SDVOBs certified?

DBE certification is governed by federal regulations found at 49 CFR Part 26. To be eligible for DBE certification, a firm must be a small business concern that is at least 51 percent owned and controlled by individuals who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States 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. To be eligible for SDVOB certification, a firm must: 

  • Be independently owned and operated. 
  • Have no more than 300 employees. 
  • Have conducted business generally for at least one year prior to applying for certification. 
  • Have at least 51 percent ownership by one or more service-disabled veterans with a service-connected disability rating of 10 percent 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. 

In addition, the business must qualify as a small business under the New York State program and be located in New York State or have a significant presence in the state. Get more information

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 it is 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). And if a firm is seeking to perform work on a contract as an SDVOB, it must first obtain certification from the New York State Office of General Services, Division of Service-Disabled Veterans’ Business Development.

 

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. 

 

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. 

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.

 

How can a firm become certified as an M/WBE, a DBE, or an SDVOB?

 

For MBE or WBE Certification 

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 

Visit the website  

If you are located in any other part of New York State or represent 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 

Visit the website

 

For DBE Certification 

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.

Department of Diversity and Civil Rights
2 Broadway, 16th Floor
New York, NY, 10004,
For more information please contact: Zenaida Rodriguez at 646-252-1391

Email: DBEcertification@mtahq.org

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

Visit the website or email: Johnny.cisneros@dot.ny.gov 

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 

Visit the website or email: spremchan@panynj.gov

Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority 
EEO/Diversity Development Department 
181 Ellicott Street 
Buffalo, NY 14203 

Visit the website or email: Dejuan.Hardy@nfta.com 

For SDVOB Certification  

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