Harlem Minority And Women Business Owners Received Less Than Fair Share (Update)

December 9, 2016


On Sunday, December 8th, 2016, Comptroller Scott Stringer hosted a Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) owned business round table hosted at Cheri Restaurant on Lenox Avenue in Harlem, New York.

The event was attended by dozens of small business owners from Harlem. The main points of discussion was procurement and city spending with minority and women owned businesses.

Below are some of the alarming statistics for Harlem spending by the city that were reported. When they looked at the Local Law 1 spending City agencies had last year, they found that:

  • Just $32 million – 0.6% of spending – went to African-American Firms;
  • $52 million – 1% of spending – went to Hispanic-Owned Firms;
  • $181 million – 3.6% of spending – went to Women-Owned firms;
  • $195 million – 3.9% of spending – went to Asian Owned Firms;
  • And $4.5 billion – 91% of spending – went to non-MWBE firms.

It seems that Harlem did not get its fair share in FY 2016. Lets look at the numbers, last year, in Harlem Community Board 9:

  • Only $4,300 went to two African-American Owned Firms;
  • $1,500 went to one Hispanic-Owned firm;
  • $600 went to one Woman-Owned firm;
  • Only 4 MWBEs received spending – just 15% of certified firms in CB 9.

And in Harlem Community Board 10:

  • Three African-American owned firms received $9,450;
  • There was no spending with Hispanic-owned firms;
  • $2.9 million went to two Women-Owned Firms.
  • Only 5 MWBEs received spending – less than 9% of the certified firms in CB10.

So, across Harlem, there seems to be inequity in the spending for resident business owners. Why is that the case? Harlem World asked Harlem businesses owner, accountant and HW food writer Lil Nickelson, who said:

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When you initially start your business you have to know what steps to take in getting our businesses certified, especially as a minority and/or woman owned business. So that you have your paperwork in order to file for certification.

If you are a business owner and have had similar or very different experience let us know in the comment box below.

Via Scott Stringer

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