New York State’s primary business-aid agency, Empire State Development, is seeking requests for proposals for the creation of two new minority- and women-owned business enterprise programs.

The state initiatives, dubbed MWBE Business Growth Accelerator and Certification Assistance programs, would be designed to increase MWBE participation in state contracting. The initiatives will be overseen by Empire State Development’s Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development.

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The MWBE Business Growth Accelerator Program, an initiative first announced by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in the 2017 State of the State address, would grant up to five recipients the opportunity to implement an 18-month program that would provide MWBEs with technical assistance and business development training on various topics, including marketing, finance, contracting and sales. Colleges, universities or community-based nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply.

The MWBE Certification Assistance Program will identify up to five selected grantees to provide support to firms seeking NYS MWBE Certification. Both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations are eligible to apply, but not joint ventures of multiple organizations.

Proposals for the programs are due on June 5. For more information on the Business Growth Accelerator Program proposal requirements, visit: https://esd.ny.gov/sites/default/files/rfp/BusinessGrowthAccelerator_RFP.PDF. For the Certification Assistance Program, visit https://esd.ny.gov/sites/default/files/rfp/NYS_MWBECertificationAssistanceProgram_RFP.PDF.

Cuomo has pledged to increase MWBE certification by an additional 2,000 businesses by 2018 from the more than 5,500 that have been certified since 2011.