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The Westchester County Office of Economic Development today announced important changes to the County’s Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises program (MWBE).

“Westchester County is committed to creating a level playing field where all small businesses can succeed. The County’s MWBE program provides minority and women owned businesses the opportunity to compete in the marketplace by gaining access to County contracts,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer.

“Whether your business is just starting out or is a long-established business, the MBWE program is an excellent resource for minority- and women-owned businesses. The changes announced today will further enhance the many benefits of the MWBE program,” said Westchester County Office of Economic Development Director Bridget Gibbons.

Among the important changes to the MWBE program is the establishment of percentage goals for County contracts with MWBEs for construction, professional services and goods. The goals are 20 percent for construction; 20 percent for professional services and 10 percent for goods. These goals were established based on an analysis of prior percentages achieved and will be increased over time to be aligned with the NYS goals of 30 percent.  Percentages achieved will be monitored quarterly and a corrective action plan will be established for those not meeting their goals.

Another change in the MWBE program is the re-establishment of the Technical Assistance Plan Committee which is tasked to develop an educational, technical and informational assistance program targeting MWBEs. Technical Assistance Plan Committee Members are Sherry Brook, woman business owner; Susan Lara, Hispanic business owner, and Wiley Harrison, African American business owner, and County employees James Ferrara, Finance; Kerry Higgins, Parks; Patricia Sayers, Public Works.

There was also be an update on the MWBE registration process which now includes a short form for those businesses already Certified as an MWBE by New York State, and a longer form for those who are not. The Office of Economic Development is actively encouraging MWBEs to obtain NYS certification and will assist by providing a list of resources available.

Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins, who is chair of the MWBE Task Force, discussed the importance of the Task Force that was formed in 2018. “The MWBE Task Force serves as valuable platform to listen to the difficulties that face MWBEs and how best to improve the County’s program for the future,” he said.

Task Force members include Paul Williams, former President, Dormitory Authority of the State of New York; Liz Velez, President, Velez Organization; Anne Janiak, Founder and CEO, Women’s Enterprise Development Center; Elsa Rubin, Accounting Consultant; Deborah Bradley, Founder and President, Women’s Builders Council (WBC) and Founder of Deborah Bradley Construction & Management Services, Inc.; Sherry Bruck, Creative Director, Harquin Creative Group; Nora Madonick, President, Arch Street Communications; Dwight McLeod, CEO, Capstone Strategy; Bill Mooney, former President, Westchester County Association; Dr. Marsha Gordon, President and CEO, Business Council of Westchester; Ross Pepe, President, Construction Industry Council; Ximena Francella, Co-Chair, Hispanic Democrats of Westchester; Kim Jacobs, Executive Director, Community Capital New York; Susana Lara, Co-Owner, Sir Speedy.

The County also presented the first ever Lois Bronz Award to the Woman’s Enterprise Development Center (WEDC). WEDC CEO Anne M. Janiak accepted the award. WEDC empowers entrepreneurs to build successful businesses by providing high quality training programs, advisory services, and assistance with MWBE certifications and loan applications to generate economic growth in Westchester and the Hudson Valley. The award recognizes organizations that go above and beyond to promote women in business. The award is named after the late Lois Bronz, who was the first African American woman elected to the Westchester County Board of Legislators.

For more information about the MWBE program, visit