Metropolitan Transportation Authority logo

MTA Federal Small Business Mentoring Program Awards First Contract

MTA Federal Small Business Mentoring Program Awards First Contract

We’ve awarded the first contract to a company participating in our new Federal Small Business Mentoring Program, created last year to foster small business participation in MTA contracting.

Under the contract, valued at $1.88 million, the Urban Group, Ltd., an MTA-certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise based in Woodhaven, Queens, will build facilities in Grand Central Terminal that will be part of the East Side Access megaproject. Urban Group workers will demolish an existing steel gantry crane and wall, install underground utilities and an underground concrete reinforced air duct, and build a concrete reinforced manhole.

The MTA’s Federal Small Business Mentoring Program is the first such program in the United States to receive Federal approval. The program is designed to stimulate the growth and development of small businesses including MTA-certified Disadvantaged Businesses Enterprises (DBEs). The focus and goal of the program is to develop a larger pool of qualified contractors, reduce MTA construction costs and ultimately create local middle-class jobs within the small business community.

“Federal approval of this program shows how our efforts are aligned with the Obama Administration’s focus on the growth and development of small businesses and job creation,” said MTA Acting Chairman Fernando Ferrer. “Governor Andrew Cuomo and the entire MTA Board strongly support implementing this program as we maximize direct prime contract opportunities to our emerging pool of small businesses, including disadvantaged businesses and minority and women-owned business enterprises.”

Governor Cuomo has established an overall MWBE goal of 20% participation for state agencies. The MTA has exceeded that goal, with 26% of its $ 590 million in state-funded contracts awarded to certified MWBEs in the most recent nine-month reporting period.

The Urban Group, Ltd., is a general purpose construction company founded in 2000 that employs 24 full-time employees year-round plus up to 45 employees in the field as dictated by project needs. The company had previously fulfilled two contracts for the MTA each valued at less than $100,000. This is the company’s first MTA contract valued at more than $1 million.  It is anticipated that a total of 47 jobs will be created and maintained due to the awarding of this contract.

The MTA’s Federal Small Business Mentoring Program is a set of initiatives that provide a supportive framework to help eligible small businesses including Disadvantaged Business Enterprises establish stable, long-term business relationships with the MTA as they develop and grow. The program’s components provide direct prime contract opportunities, access to small business loans, surety bonding assistance, technical assistance and classroom construction training.

A number of private companies have partnered with the MTA to assist the companies that participate in the program. Carver Federal Savings Bank issues small business loans. Willis of New York, Inc., and Avalon Risk LLC/Hanover Insurance Group provide surety bonding. TDX Construction Corp. provides prequalification support, construction management support and mentoring.

The MTA’s original program exceeded its initial targets. To date, $35.2 million in capital construction prime contracts has been awarded to 55 program participants. These projects have created 845 jobs. The MTA expects to award projects totaling $22.5 million through the summer of 2013.

In addition to expanding opportunity to historically disadvantaged communities, the program expands the overall pool of businesses that are bidding for MTA contracts. In general, increased competition for MTA contracts means higher quality of workmanship and lower project bid amounts. The program provides direct prime construction contacts up to $3 million.

The program has been recognized by the New York & New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council and by Anchin. The New York State-funded Small Business Mentoring program was created in 2010 following enabling legislation introduced in the New York State Senate by John L. Sampson, and in the New York State Assembly by Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright.