Event’s Theme — “Building an Equitable Future” — Focuses on Eliminating Barriers and Redefining Access for MWBEs

Panel Discussions will Outline Contracting Opportunities and Assistance Accessing Capital

Register Online for October 6-7 Event Here

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that the 2022 Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Forum will be held October 6-7 at the Albany Capital Center. The theme for this year’s forum is “Building an Equitable Future.” The annual New York State Minority-and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Forum provides opportunities across industries to forge new professional connections and become more competitive in an ever-changing market. This year’s forum will utilize a hybrid format with virtual sessions and in-person opportunities, with attendees representing small businesses, prime contractors, lenders, elected officials, and members of the Governor’s cabinet to discuss state contracting opportunities.

“This annual forum has served as an important resource to help make contracting and procurement easier, fairer, and more accessible for New York’s minority- and women-owned businesses,” Governor Hochul said. “Now in its twelfth year, our MWBE forum will bring together business leaders, state officials, and other industry experts to discuss how we build a more equitable future in New York. I’m proud to host this year’s forum, and I urge members of New York’s business community to register today and join us.”

The 2022 Forum will be a multi-day hybrid approach, mixing in-person events and online sessions. Programs will include panels, working sessions, and both live and virtual meetups for networking opportunities. The growing list of programs will address a wide range of topics, from accessing capital to emerging opportunities for MWBEs in the growing cannabis industry. Learn more about the forum and register here.

Chief Diversity Officer Julissa Gutierrez said, “Governor Hochul is dedicated to expanding opportunity and fostering economic growth while advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion for all New Yorkers. MWBEs are a vital part of economic development and we continue to strengthen access to contracting opportunities and capital so that MWBEs can truly forge ahead. The annual MWBE forum provides an opportunity to connect talented and entrepreneurial MWBEs with state opportunities that will put them on a path to success.”

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “New York State has made it an economic development priority to provide MWBEs with the tools they need to get certified and connect to state contracting opportunities. This year’s Forum will act as a vibrant hybrid hub, giving businesses the information and networking that is critical to their success.”

Division of Minority-and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Development Executive Director Jerome DuVal said, “Last year, we reached a historic utilization rate for our MWBE program, but our important work continues. This year’s Forum will showcase our mission of building a truly equitable future for New York State’s MWBEs and the programs and initiatives that we have introduced and supported to make that future a reality. We are proud to host the nation’s largest event connecting MWBEs and the private and public sectors with state contracting opportunities that will give businesses an equitable opportunity for economic growth.”

Planned sessions include:

Access to Capital with New York State

Having access to capital at the right time can propel a business to new heights or prevent a business from closing its doors. In this session, we will discuss current lending programs offered through NYS for MWBEs and how MWBEs can access these programs for business growth.

Cultivating the Next Generation of Women Leaders & Entrepreneurs

New women entrepreneurs will learn about the plethora of opportunities available to women-owned businesses in New York State and how they can be used to grow a new generation of women leaders in business.

Lean on Your Community: Using Community Business Lending to Fund the Future of Your Business

Community Business Lending is a catalyst to launch economic development and therefore it is vital MWBE firms know about as many lending resources in their community. In this session, Community Lenders will discuss how they assist with facilitating MWBE business growth.

Invest in Your Community: New Workforce Development Initiatives and the Benefits to MWBEs

In April of this year, Governor Hochul announced the creation of the New York State Office of Strategic Workforce Development, which will be charged with improving the State’s workforce development programs and practices to better align with the needs and priorities of today’s employers. This session will introduce the key workforce development initiatives under this new office, resources available to MWBEs seeking talent and how the office is partnering with key NYS stakeholders to deliver positive outcomes for employers and employees.

How New York State Plans to Create Equity in the Cannabis Industry

Participants will learn about the various approaches governments have been taking or should be taking through policy and regulations in social equity initiatives. Discussion will center around what makes these initiatives successful and how the Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act will establish the nation’s strongest social equity program.