NEW YORK, NY — Capalino+Company, a government relations and strategic consulting firm, announced the launch of its MWBE Connect NY app that will help identify procurement opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs. Though the city have made some improvements in the last couple of years as a result of governmental leadership, in 2016, only 4.8 percent of city contracts were awarded to MWBEs. In order to help MWBEs access the $16 billion in awards earmarked by the city for minority and women business owners over the next 10 years – MWBE Connect NY provides unprecedented access to innovative bid matching technology developed by Capalino+Company.
“One of the biggest issues facing MWBEs is an inability to find contracts that match their capabilities,” Tunisha W. Walker, senior vice president and head of the MWBE Consulting Group at Capalino+Company. “MWBEs spend hours searching various portals and agency sites for opportunities that match their business’ services. They do not have a central location to go to that lists all available City and State RFPs in an easily searchable way. Instead they are forced to conduct a scattered search through multiple websites for opportunities to expand their business. For MWBEs, this current system can be overwhelming.”
Walker, along with Associate Vice President Safeena Mecklai created the first-of-its-kind mobile application to help MWBEs in New York find and apply to contractual opportunities that align with their businesses’ current scope of services. Walker’s proven track record of addressing the problems faced by MWBEs statewide and her experience of working with elected officials to address the needs of minority communities through her time in the New York State legislature as the Executive Director for the NYS Senate Conference of Black Senators combined with Mecklai’s expertise in digital strategy, community organizing and navigating government relations make this dynamic duo uniquely adept at addressing the issues of women and minority entrepreneurs.
“We wanted to make sure that MWBEs have the tools to find RFPs in a convenient way,” said Mecklai. “We have heard the same story over and over again: it is hard to find contracts, MWBEs have to look to multiple sites for information, and the information is often presented in a confusing way. This process is to too time consuming for them”.
The MWBE Connect NY app connects users to RFPs and opportunities that match exactly their capabilities, desired geographic coverage and contract size. The app employs an RFP matching algorithm to align users with procurement opportunities in New York City and State, information about the certification process, and MWBE-specific events. Once users build a company profile based on how they self-identify their business (e.g. industry, capabilities, contract size, etc.) they receive a curated list of RFP matches rated by how well they align with the size, scope and abilities of their business. Subscribers may then use a contract engagement tool to begin the application submission process. The app is also a comprehensive information hub that provides users with resources regarding City and State MWBE legislation.