22 New Firms are Welcomed into 2010-2011 MWL Certificate/Mentorship Program

More than $21 million in construction contracts have been awarded to program participants by Columbia University and New York City

September 09, 2010

NEW YORK, September 9, 2010-Columbia University Facilities and the University's School of Continuing Education, in partnership with the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) and the Columbia-Harlem Small Business Development Center (SBDC), welcomed 22 new minority-, women-, and locally-owned (MWL) businesses to its 2010-2011 Construction Trades Management Certificate/Mentorship Program, during a kick-off orientation and networking reception. These firms comprise the third cohort of the two-year certificate/mentorship program, designed to help MWL-certified businesses in the construction field build capacity and access opportunities. 

"The economy of New York has changed significantly since we first envisioned and implemented our mentorship program," said Joe Ienuso, Executive Vice President of Columbia University Facilities. "It is more important than ever that small- and medium-sized firms receive academic and hands-on support to help strengthen and enhance their ability to effectively compete across the City. Thanks to this dynamic partnership, we are able to help open doors and allow these businesses to grow."

The program's curriculum begins with a year-long academic program, led by Columbia's School of Continuing Education, during which individuals receive assistance on understanding solicitations, pricing functions, and completing bids. After successful completion of the academic year, businesses receive a Columbia University certificate. During the second year of the program, participants are brought together on a quarterly basis for refresher courses and special topics, participate in bidding opportunities with the University and, if successful, begin working on projects with the University. Additional technical assistance is provided by the SBS or SBDC, the program's newest partner.

 "Columbia University has long been a strong partner with the City on economic development," said Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Robert W. Walsh. "Their commitment to this successful mentorship program demonstrates our shared vision of investing in the growth of local minority and women-owned businesses to create more opportunities to bid on contracts, expand their business, and help grow the local economy."

The goal of the Columbia University MWL Construction Trades Management Certificate/Mentorship Program is to provide academic training, technical assistance, and support, so firms can competitively bid on projects with Columbia, anywhere within New York City, and beyond. Since its launch in January 2008, 40 MWL firms remain active in the mentorship program. All active firms have had an opportunity to bid on Columbia University construction projects, and as of June 2010, firms have received more than $21 million in awards from the City and Columbia. Approximately 60% of the MWL firms from the certificate/mentorship program's first two cohorts have received technical assistance provided by SBS. For more information about the Columbia University MWL Construction Trades Management Certificate/Mentorship Program, visit http://facilities.columbia.edu/mentorshipprogram. For more information about Columbia University, visit http://www.columbia.edu/.

Columbia University's School of Continuing Education (SCE) mounts innovative instructional programs that meet Columbia's standard of excellence. SCE students are motivated, serious, academically-oriented people who seek professional, personal, or academic development in subjects that range from the sciences to the humanities to the arts. As a partner in the certificate/mentorship program, SCE oversees the mentorship program's academic portion. For more information on Columbia University's School of Continuing Education, visit http://ce.columbia.edu/.

The Department of Small Business Services' Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) Program helps certified businesses access city contracting opportunities and build capacity. To certify with the program, businesses must be in operation for at least one year; be at least 51% owned, operated, and controlled by a woman or a member of a recognized minority group; and be located or have a substantial business presence in the NYC metro area. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/getcertified.

The Columbia-Harlem Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is the certificate/mentorship program's newest partner and a member of a network of 24 regional small business development centers, organized through the New York State Small Business Development Center. These SBDCs deliver high quality business counseling and training to New Yorkers who want to start a business or improve the performance of an existing business. For more information, visit http://ctice.columbia.edu/content/columbia-harlem-small-business-development-center-sbdc-0