The City of New York Department of Sanitation (DSNY) announced the launch of its S.O.A.R (Sustainable Operations and Readiness/Resources) M/WBE program, an initiative that enables Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) to easily identify department procurement opportunities and take advantage of capacity building initiatives.
“We are committed to using minority and women-owned businesses to help us serve the city,” said DSNY Acting Commissioner Steven Costas in a statement. “Under the leadership of our chief supplier diversity officer and his team, we have already started working with more M/WBEs, and I look forward to the additional opportunities the S.O.A.R program will offer these businesses.”
“I’m very pleased to be able to create this expansive S.O.A.R. program at the Department of Sanitation,” said Kevin V.G. Wells, DSNY’s chief supplier diversity officer, in a statement. “While S.O.A.R. actively seeks to identify diverse vendors in the waste disposal and organics recycling areas, the program will also allow M/WBEs to be consistently highlighted to all of our various contracting bureaus when they are in need of specific goods and services. Additionally, it will increase the utilization of certified M/WBEs by creating initiatives that are innovative and sustainable.”
To achieve its goals, the S.O.A.R. program includes initiatives such as:
- Building a Business Capacity Statement and Database: The S.O.A.R program allows the department to easily identify M/WBEs that are able to provide relevant and needed services. To become a possible vendor, M/WBEs first complete an online Business Capacity Statement (BCS) that clearly identifies what goods and services that vendor is able to offer, among other details. Once added to an internal database, department bureaus searching for a specific good or service are able to find certified M/WBEs that meet those needs by accessing a condensed online dashboard. Additionally, the department will use the BCS to notify vendors of request for proposals or innovative opportunities via email alerts.
- S.O.A.R. Link-Up Events: Prime, or non-M/WBE, vendors involved in the P.R.E.P (Promotion, Readiness & Encouraging Partnerships) initiative will interview pre-identified M/WBEs for future projects as potential partners. The events create active engagement between M/WBE and Prime vendors and promote emerging M/WBEs. M/WBEs will also have opportunities to identify other M/WBE partners at separate events.
- S.O.A.R.ing M/WBEs Video Gallery: M/WBEs providing goods and services to the department for various contracts share their best business practices on the S.O.A.R. video gallery. The gallery highlights M/WBEs that have gained capacity by winning larger contracts or strategically diversifying their operations to become more competitive.
- S.O.A.R. Exploratory Workshop Series: Presented by department bureaus, the workshops allow a targeted pool of M/WBEs to learn more about an upcoming solicitation. Last month, the department hosted its first workshop—a creative marketing and marketing research workshop presented by panelists from the Bureau of Recycling and Sustainability who were seeking to determine a targeted pool of diverse vendors. More than 135 M/WBEs attended. DSNY also hosted a similar event via webinar on information technology needs. The department uses the Business Capacity Statement database to invite M/WBEs to attend relevant workshops.
- Micro-hauling/ Composting Committee: M/WBEs and diverse vendors currently performing micro-hauling/composting, or interested in such services, meet regularly to address specific capacity building needs. Committee participants include NYC Small Business Services, private sector strategic partners and other municipal agencies. The committee creates active engagement between these small vendors and DSNY for the mutually beneficial goal of gaining vendor inclusion in organic waste disposal contracts.
“At the Department of Small Business Services, we are committed to equipping M/WBEs with the tools and resources needed to land lucrative contracts and grow their businesses,” said Gregg Bishop, commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Service, in a statement. “The S.O.A.R. M/WBE program will go a long way to continue to help M/WBEs position themselves for success.”