Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises

MWBE FAQ’s

Q. What offices at the NYC Department of Education (DOE) should I be familiar with?
A.
The Division of Contracts and Purchasing (DCP) is the procurement arm for the DOE. This office establishes contracts for all goods and services.

The Office of Equal Opportunity & Diversity Management (OEO) is the office committed to enhancing the ability of Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) to compete for contracts. OEO ensures that MWBEs have an equal opportunity to participate in the procurement process. OEO works closely with DCP.


Q. Does the DOE have any MWBE goals?

A.
DOE procurements are awarded to the lowest qualified/responsive bid(s) and are not subject to specific goals. The DOE recognizes the importance of diversity in procurement. As a result, the DOE engages in outreach initiatives to enhance the abilities of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) to compete and meaningfully participate in the DOE procurement process. The DOE has contracts with vendors to purchase the goods and services necessary to ensure that students receive the quality education they deserve. The agency strives to give all businesses, including MWBEs, an equal opportunity to compete for DOE procurements. The agency casts a wide net in search of talented vendors, seeking qualified suppliers from all segments of the community. The DOE’s mission is to provide equal access to procurement opportunities for all qualified vendors including MWBEs. The DOE works to enhance the ability of MWBE’s to compete for contracts and DOE is committed to ensuring that MWBEs fully participate in the procurement process.
 
Our objectives are to:

• Enhance the ability of MWBEs to compete for contracts and ensure their meaningful participation in our procurement process;
• Work to ensure that MWBEs are informed about the purchasing process and procurement opportunities with the DOE; and
• Provide educational assistance to MWBE suppliers on the methods of doing business with the DOE.


Q.  What kinds of goods and services are purchased by the DOE?


A.
The DOE purchases goods, including, but not limited to, textbooks/trade books, office supplies, medical supplies, art supplies, food, furniture, instructional software, and A/V equipment.

In addition, the DOE purchases professional services including, but not limited to, student support services, arts education services, occupational therapists, architects, engineers, and landscapers.

For illustrative examples, please view our current solicitations at:
Request for Proposals-
http://schools.nyc.gov/Offices/DCP/Vendor/RFP
MTAC -
http://schools.nyc.gov/Offices/DCP/Vendor/MTAC
Request for Bids-
http://schools.nyc.gov/Offices/DCP/Vendor/RFB


Q. Does the DOE purchase construction services?

A.
No. Construction related services are NOT contracted through the DOE. The School Construction Authority (SCA) manages the procurement process for construction related services. For more information, please visit the New York School Construction Authority at: http://www.nycsca.org/Pages/Welcome.aspx


Q. What procurement opportunities are currently available?

A.
To view a summary of the DOE’s current solicitations:
Request for Proposals -
http://schools.nyc.gov/Offices/DCP/Vendor/RFP
Request for Bids -
http://schools.nyc.gov/Offices/DCP/Vendor/RFB
MTACs-
http://schools.nyc.gov/Offices/DCP/Vendor/MTAC


Q. How can I learn about subcontracting opportunities?

A.
Please contact the Vendor Hotline at (718) 935-2300 or VendorHotline@schools.nyc.gov and request the name and contact information of the prime contractor for a specific solicitation. Alternatively, for Request for Proposals (RFP) and Request for Bids (RFB), vendors can attend the Pre-Bid Conferences. For Multiple Task Award Contracts (MTAC), vendors can attend the Pre-Proposal Conferences. Information regarding these conferences (i.e. the date and time) will be listed with the listing for the specific procurement opportunity.

Q. Where can I learn more about general procurement (outside of the DOE)?

A. Mayor’s Office of Contract Services- http://www.nyc.gov/mocs
City Record-
http://a856-internet.nyc.gov/nycvendoronline/home.html
NYC Small Business Services-
http://www.nyc.gov/sbs
NYS Office of General Services-
http://ogs.ny.gov/default.asp
NYS Contract Reporter –
www.nyscr.org


Q.
What is the Vendor Portal?

A. The Vendor Portal allows vendors to view current DOE solicitations and automatically receive notification of new solicitations as they become available. From the Vendor Portal, vendors can download solicitation documents and control which notifications of an upcoming solicitation (Letters of Interest) are emailed to them based on specific product/service categories.


Q. Who do I contact if I have any questions or concerns regarding procurement or regarding the Vendor Portal?


A. Please contact the Vendor Hotline at (718) 935-2000 or via email at
VendorHotline@schools.nyc.gov . The Vendor Hotline offers a single point of contact for vendors to communicate their questions, concerns, and needs. Acquiring a copy of a purchase order or to request details verifying the status of a payment can be directed to the Vendor Hotline. A live representative is available Monday thru Friday from 8:00am – 5:00pm.


Q.
Who do I contact if I have any questions regarding MWBE certification?

A. Please contact the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management:
Tiwana Barnes.- Diversity Specialist
TBarnes9@schools.nyc.gov
Odelia Levy, Esq.- Senior Associate Counsel/Associate Director OLevy@schools.nyc.gov


Q.
Where can a vendor view current solicitations without registering to the Vendor Portal?

A. A summary view of the DOE’s current solicitations can be found at:
Request for Proposals-
http://schools.nyc.gov/Offices/DCP/Vendor/RFP
MTAC -
http://schools.nyc.gov/Offices/DCP/Vendor/MTAC
Request for Bids-
http://schools.nyc.gov/Offices/DCP/Vendor/RFB


Q. Why do I need a Purchase Order?


A. A Purchase Order obligates the DOE to pay for the goods/services that are satisfactorily delivered. Without this document, a payment is not guaranteed. Do not deliver goods or services to the DOE before receiving a copy of the purchase order.


Q. Why do I need a contract to work with the DOE? Can I just deliver services?


A. For a vendor to have a contract with the DOE, the vendor would have gone through an extensive vetting process, including criminal and financial background checks. If a vendor does not have a contract, the school will have to solicit 3 bids from competing vendors, verify that a contract does not exist for the product for a lesser amount, fingerprint the vendor (if entering the school building), and request to add the vendor to FAMIS.


Q.
How can a vendor become certified as an MWBE?

A. MWBEs can become certified by New York City or New York State.
To learn more about MWBE certification, benefits of being certified, or apply for New York City or New York State certification:

NEW YORK CITY MWBE CERTIFICATION

Information about eligibility requirements and instructions on how to apply for certification can be found on the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) website: http://www.nyc.gov/sbs SBS offers live    workshops, resources, and assistance.

NEW YORK STATE MWBE CERTIFICATION

Information about eligibility requirements and instructions on how to apply for certification can be found on Empire State Development (ESD) website: www.esd.ny.gov. ESD offers special programs, classes, and networking events.


Q.
What are the benefits of being a certified MWBE?

A.The benefits of being a city certified MWBE include listing in vendor guides used by city agencies and private firms, discount purchasing programs, and other special programs.
The benefits of being a state certified MWBE include listing in state online directory of certified businesses, access to NYS Business First (business portal of NYS), and other special programs, classes and networking events.


Q.
What if I am an MWBE certified by the Federal government?

A.  Federal vendors are still required to be certified as an MWBE by New York City Small Business Services. These vendors can fast track their application to become city-certified. Please contact Small Business Services at 311 (or 212-NEW-YORK from outside NYC) or
http://www.nyc.gov/html/sbs/nycbiz/html/summary/certification.shtml .


Q.
Do I need to be certified by the DOE?

A. No. Although certification is not required to do business with DOE, the DOE encourages that MWBEs seek New York City or New York State certification. Being certified by the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) or NYS Empire State Development (ESD) is beneficial for vendors.
The benefits of being a city certified MWBE include listing in vendor guides used by city agencies and private firms, discount purchasing programs, and other special programs.
The benefits of being a state certified MWBE include listing in state online directory of certified businesses, access to NYS Business First (business portal of NYS), and other special programs, classes and networking events.

Q.
Can I do business directly with a school?

A. These types of purchases are micro purchases: a non-contracted purchase order of $250 or less for commodities; or $5,000 or less for professional services. These are purchases for commodities or services that do not require any competitive bidding. With the approval of the Principal (the head of school), schools create Purchase Orders (PO) by entering a request into the Financial Accounting Management Information System (FAMIS).

STEPS FOR A MICRO PURCHASE SOLICITATION

FIRST: A school has to establish a need for a micro purchase. The Principal and the Vendor establish contact and discuss the need for commodities or professional services.

SECOND: If a need is established, the Principal can approve the purchase of commodities or services. Cannot exceed the threshold of a micro purchase:
* Commodities – purchases of $250 or less
* Professional Services – purchases of $5,000 or less

With the approval of the Principal, a Purchase Order can be entered into FAMIS.

 

Q. I’m a new vendor, is there an entity that can help me review my submission to the DOE?


A. Yes. Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC) are federally- funded centers that can provide a wide range of procurement contract assistance. For example, these organizations can assist with MWBE certification, employee recruitment, and securing financing. Furthermore, these organizations can help new vendors by reviewing their bid documentation.

 

Manhattan
(212) 639-9675
www.nyc.gov/sbs

Brooklyn
Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation (BEDC)
(718) 368-6790
www.bedc.org

Queens
LaGuardia Community College
(718) 482-5306
www.laguardia.edu/ptac

Bronx Center
South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SoBRO)
(718) 292-3113
www.sobro.org

Staten Island

West Brighton Community Local Development Corporation (WBCLDC)
(718) 816-4775
www.westbrightonldc.com