ASCEND Regional NY/NJ/LI Business Development Program Graduates Its First Cohort of Minority Business Enterprises

October 20, 2022

22 minority business enterprises (MBEs), part of Ascend Regional NY/NJ/LI's first cohort, were celebrated at a graduation ceremony held on September 29 at Columbia University's Studebaker building for completing the business development program.  

Launched as a pilot program in 2021 by the national initiative of Ascend, the Ascend Regional NY/NJ/LI program provides participating businesses with contract opportunities by connecting them with Opportunity Partners looking to diversify their supply chain and that have committed to providing the firms contract opportunities.   

"The Ascend Regional program has helped me and Johnson Security achieve significant breakthroughs", says Jessica Johnson, CEO and President of Johnson Security Bureau, Inc. "In addition to helping our team move closer to our sales and impact goals for this year, the program helped us build and strengthen relationships within several program opportunity partners, which included many of the leading construction-related firms in the New York City metropolitan area." 

Columbia University served as a Founding Regional Opportunity Partner and Co-Program Consultant with the President and CEO of Sacks Communications, Renee Sacks, Ph.D. Other Opportunity Partners include Lendlease, 84 Lumber, DASNY, Gilbane, Holt Construction, McKissack & McKissack, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, OmniBuild, Skanska, Tishman Speyer, and Turner Construction. Together, the Opportunity Partners helped to generate collective impact and increase market access for BIPOC businesses, growing networks that will have a lasting effect on the communities that need it most.  

Throughout the 18-month-long program, businesses learned how to pre‐qualify and identify the right contracting opportunities, understand the legal framework for teaming, form joint ventures, build strategic affiliations, and present effective bids for projects, among other ways to grow their businesses. By the program's completion, $51M in contracts were awarded through the pipeline, with 21 of the firms becoming approved vendors for Columbia University. 

The graduating firms include: 

  1. Brano Design, LLC 

  1. Brantley Brothers Moving & Storage 

  1. CleanWork Solutions, LLC 

  1. County Cleaners Corp. 

  1. Dirty Gloves Drain Services LLC 

  1. ESC Cabling 

  1. Evans Electrical Services Inc 

  1. Genesis Signs & Graphics 

  1. Integrity Communication Technologies 

  1. J.W.P. Corp. 

  1. Johnson Security Bureau, Inc. 

  1. JPR Builders 07 Inc. 

  1. KCM Contracting, Inc. 

  1. Malcolm Patrick Corporation 

  1. MKB Construction USA 

  1. MZM Construction Co. Inc. 

  1. Scrub Clean Maintenance Corp. 

  1. SJR Security Consultants 

  1. Sullivan-Hernandez Agency, Inc. 

  1. Certa-Pro Painters 

  1. US Aerials & Equipment 

  1. Zion Contracting, LLC 

For more information about the Ascend Regional NY/NJ/LI Program in New York City, visit