MWBE Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Article 15-A of the New York State Executive Law?

    Article 15-A of the New York State Executive Law, signed into law on July 19, 1988, requires State agencies to establish employment and business participation goals for minorities and women on State contracts.

  • Do MWBE firms have to be certified to receive goal credit?

    Yes. Only firms certified by Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), Division of Minority and Women's Business Development (DMWBD) can be utilized to meet MWBE participation goals on SUCF contracts at the time of submission. The use of non-NYS certified MWBEs will not be accepted for MWBE participation goal requirements.

  • How do I become New York State Certified?

    To obtain information on becoming certified in New York State as a minority or woman-owned business visit:

  • Once I submit an application to become certified can I participate and the prime get credit for my participation?

    No. There is no guarantee that filing an application will automatically result in certification. The process must be completed and a letter of certification issued. The New York State Contract System allows firms to monitor the certification process and interact directly with certification analyst. For more information visit:

  • Will the Fund accept my City, County or other small business certification toward MWBE goal credit?

    No. Your firm must be certified by NYS Empire State Development Corporation, Division of Minority and Women's Business Development.

  • If I am a MBE or WBE prime consultant or contractor can I count myself toward the MBE or WBE goals?

    You may count your MBE or WBE status toward the goals. Your participation is calculated based on work documented as self-performed by the MBE or WBE prime. In the spirit of the MWBE program, the Fund encourages MBE and WBE primes to provide opportunities to other MBE and WBE firms to participate in State procurement.

  • Can a prime combine the MBE goal and WBE goal?

    No. The goals are separate and each is expected to be met. In the event the prime is unable to meet the goals as stated, appropriate documentation should be submitted to justify the participation achieved. It is acceptable to exceed both goals where possible.

  • Can a dual certified (Minority-Female Owned) firm satisfy both the MBE and WBE goal?

    No. A firm must be designated as either MBE or WBE for a project and that designation remains for the life of the project.

  • Can a NYS certified MBE or WBE firm, who is also a NYS certified SDVOB, receive credit for both designations?

    Yes. If a firm is NYS certified as MBE or WBE and SDVOB, goal credit is given for both designations.

  • What constitutes a good faith effort to utilize a MWBE/SDVOB?

    Contractors are required to ensure that good faith efforts are made to include meaningful participation by MWBE and SDVOB firms in the Fund’s programs. Contractors must be diligent and creative in order to develop a plan that complies with the program. If your firm incurs difficulty, the Good Faith Efforts Guidelines will assist in preparing the documentation required to support your efforts. Responses to the information in the Guidelines must be provided to SUNY's Opportunities Programs Office in an item-by-item format following the numerical sequence as presented. Such documentation will also be required to support Utilization Plan approval prior to release of the Fund’s Notice of Award.

  • What is a Commercially Useful Function?

    The actual services provided by the MWBE and SDVOB firm must be essential in the performance of the scope of work for the applicable contract. Utilization of a certified MWBE or SDVOB firm as a conduit or pass through for participation credit is strictly prohibited. It is at the discretion of the Fund to determine whether services are essential in the performance of the scope of work and/or the appropriateness of work allowed for lower tier subcontracting in accordance with practices generally accepted in the construction industry. The services the MWBE and SDVOB firm will provide must be among those explicitly identified in the profile (codes) of firms as listed in the NYS directory of MWBE and/or SDVOB firms respectively. Firms that participate in the project outside of these conditions and without specific prior approval by the Fund will not be credited toward the participation goals for the contract.