Columbia University Facilities and City of New York Announce Pilot Program to Foster Growth of MWL-Owned Business- Jan 15, 2008

Columbia University and New York City Launch Innovative Program for Minority, Women and Locally Owned Small Businesses

First of its kind pilot program between New York City and a university will provide training, assistance, and access to Columbia contracting opportunities

Columbia University and the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) launched a pioneering mentorship program Jan. 10 to help minority, women-owned and local businesses build capacity and earn contracting opportunities at the University.

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Program participants, including Columbia University facilities directors and New York City Department of Small Business Services officials and executive staff
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The one-year pilot program will provide 22 businesses currently certified with the City as minority or woman-owned with a series of courses to learn about managing the full project life cycle. Upon completion of the first set of courses, Columbia will designate a series of University projects on which the participants will bid, with guidance in bidding and meeting contract requirements.

"The University is pleased to partner with Small Business Services in furthering our continued commitment to the growth of the City's minority, women-owned and locally-based businesses," said Joe Ienuso, executive vice president of Columbia University Facilities.

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"We already have a strong record of providing opportunities for MWL firms. This program's unique combination of classroom training, one-on-one mentoring with University project managers, and contracting opportunities will help more of these businesses achieve success in bidding and performing on larger, more complex projects."

Columbia University consistently surpasses its goal of 25 percent minority, women-owned and locally based (MWL) on all construction contracts. From 2002 to 2005, more than $112 million - about 36 percent - of Columbia's major construction contracts went to MWL firms. In 2006, Columbia contracted for more than $65 million in small construction projects, repair and maintenance services with MWL firms - more than one-third of the total spending for these purposes.

"This innovative program marks the first time the City has partnered with a private university to give minority and women-owned businesses a complete program of education, assistance, and access to help them realize their full potential," said Robert Walsh, commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services. "Each of the participating firms was selected because they have the resources and performance history to do this type of work. With the right tools and relationships, we believe they will succeed."

The SBS Mentorship 1-Year Program at Columbia University will begin with Fundamental of Construction Management, a series of free courses that include such topics as: Construction Law; Blue-Print Reading and Construction Cost Estimating; Project Planning, Scheduling, and Control; Risk Management and Project Closeout. All classes will take place on Columbia's Morningside campus.