The City University of New York and the City University Construction Fund, CUNY’s public benefit construction corporation, hosted a conference to afford businesses owned by minorities and women (MWBE) and service-disabled veterans (SDVOB) access to key contract decision-makers and procurement professionals representing all 24 CUNY campuses and selected contractors.

“To accelerate The City University of New York’s progress in the next decade, we will need to continue to innovate in ways that are central to our mission and that have major impact,” CUNY Chancellor James B. Milliken said.  “MWBE and SDVOB firms will play an active role in shaping the 21st-century CUNY, the connected university.”

“Accessing the full spectrum of talent and experience that New York has to offer is commonsense business practice,” said William C. Thompson Jr., Chairperson of the CUNY Board of Trustees.  “Creating gateways of opportunity for MWBEs and SVDOBs promotes CUNY’s own growth.”

More than 1,000 registered for the conference with the theme “Build Your Business,” which was held at John Jay College today and offered 70 exhibitors including CUNY and City University Construction Fund (CUCF) purchasing teams; representatives of other New York State/New York City agencies; architecture, engineering and construction management contractors doing business with CUNY; and business-resource organizations. A new CUNY and CUCF Help Desk, staffed by the Staten Island Small Business Development Center and LaGuardia Community College Procurement Technical Assistance Center, was available to provide guidance on how to do business with CUNY and CUCF.

“By increasing MWBE and SDVOB participation, we are helping these job-creating small businesses prosper and build New York State’s economy,” said Philip Berry, Acting Chairperson of the CUCF Board of Trustees.

Speakers at the conference included Chairperson Thompson; Chancellor Milliken; Acting CUCF Board Chairperson Berry; Alphonso B. David, Counsel to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo; John Jay College President Karol Mason, Gerrard P. Bushell, president and CEO of the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York and other distinguished guests.  Brooklyn Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte, Chair of the Assembly’s Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises Subcommittee, was Master of Ceremonies.

The full-day program included six business-development workshops, boot-camp intensives, exclusive business meet-ups for New York State-certified MWBE and SDVOB companies, and the Help Desk, which provided real-time, direct answers from business experts. The Marketplace Exhibit Hall features representatives of more than 70 public agencies, private contractors and nonprofit organizations providing direct, one-on-one networking and new business opportunities.

The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in 1847, the University comprises 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, CUNY Graduate Center, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, CUNY School of Law, CUNY School of Professional Studies and CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. The University serves more than 272,000 degree-seeking students. College Now, the University’s academic enrichment program, is offered at CUNY campuses and more than 400 high schools throughout the five boroughs. The University offers online baccalaureate and master’s degrees through the School of Professional Studies.