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2023 MWBE Conference Offers Business Opportunities


Constance Mitchell-Jefferson. Photo provided.

Local and New York State minority and women businesses owners are invited to attend the City of Rochester’s Upstate NY MWBE Conference taking place March 22nd through 24th at the Hotel and Wegman’s Conference Center.


The event, traditionally held at the State level, was recently announced by Mayor Malik Evans and is developed to engage businesses to be certified vendors to do business with government contracts offered at the city, county and state levels.


As a member of the Upstate MWBE Consortium, Constance Mitchell-Jefferson, Purchasing Agent for the City of Rochester is responsible for the procurement contracts for the City of Rochester to include commodities, services, as well as public works contracts.


“The Upstate MWBE Consortium identified an opportunity to focus on the Upstate market of businesses to increase their understanding and participation in obtaining the available government contracts. With a recommendation to the Director of the Empire State Development this conference was born,” Mitchell-Jefferson said.


The theme of the 2023 City of Rochester and Upstate NY MWBE Conference is “Community, Growth and Opportunity.” Each day will have a single focus that will explore how business owners can increase their business.


Day 1 “Community”: an evening kick-off providing attendees with an opportunity to socialize and network with current MWBE members and non-members, MWBE administrators, funders and other beneficial resources. A jazz reception followed by an Awards Dinner at the elegant Strathallan Hotel.


Day 2 “Growth”: is a full day consisting of an opening continental breakfast session followed by two workshops to “learn” from the resources which include curriculum for construction and non-construction MWBE certified vendors which include consulting, services, commodity vendors, wholesalers, suppliers, general contractors and more. The audience will be divided into two sections that will speak specifically to their category.


Day 3 “Opportunity”: the final conference day begins with a continental breakfast, panel discussion with businesses who have achieved the “Prime Contractor” position to share how they achieved their status with the audience, followed by lunch and an MWBE Expo of resources to help connect the businesses with the necessary resources to build their business. Registration will end March 10, 2023 and can be done at: cityofrochester.gov/MWBE-Conference-2023.


“As a result of COVID many businesses were affected, and need to rebuild… We want to assist businesses as our priority,” said Mitchell-Jefferson.


The MWBE Bureau is taking a comprehensive approach to help businesses by connecting the resources, services, technical assistance providers and funders with businesses who want and need these business contracts. Additionally, partnerships with Work Force services and other support organizations are enlisted to help businesses compete for the available contracts. Additionally, incentives are being offered to do business as an MWBE vendor.


“Many businesses have stated that they found the process to become MWBE certified was difficult. We want to help those businesses become certified by helping with the resources to make the process smoother,” added Mitchell-Jefferson.


The conference is structured to focus on the MWBE community, as well as other small businesses who might be interested in being MWBE certified, a sub-contractor, learn how and what they may need to do to get jobs or to interact with government contracts, City or County, but to understand the process.


Additional support will be added by the presence of the political community such as the Mayor, County Executive, County Legislators and City Council members who are in leadership positions to provide the opportunities for businesses to thrive. The City of Rochester encourages entrepreneurial and MWBE opportunities.


Business owners and even those interested in providing a service, should take advantage of this three-day opportunity to learn how to increase their business, re-brand, or connect with the resources that are available for New York State, or just to attend a valuable business conference.


Conference attendees will also have an opportunity to provide feedback on-site after each session, which will be reviewed and addressed by the event producers. Information and topics provided by the attendee feedback will be used in the 12-month programming follow-up.


“There are so many independent opportunities for small businesses and those who want to have a business that exist in Upstate New York. You have to be versatile and be willing to increase your marketability,” commented Mitchell-Jefferson.


For more information call (585)428-9855 or visit cityofrochester.gov/MWBE-Conference-2023.

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