Deco Collage for MWBE and SDVOB

Department of Empowerment, Compliance and Opportunity (DECO)

Department of Empowerment, Compliance and Opportunity (DECO)

Our Mission

The Department of Empowerment, Compliance, and Opportunity’s (“DECO”) mission is to promote equality of economic opportunities for Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (“MWBEs”), Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (“SDVOBs”), and historically disadvantaged small businesses and to eliminate barriers to their participation in state contracting.


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What is an MWBE?

MWBE is the acronym for Minority- and/or Women-owned Business Enterprise. MWBE refers to a business entity certified as a Minority- and/or Women-owned Business Enterprise by NYS Empire State Development's (ESD) Division of Minority and Women's Business Development. 

What is an SDVOB?

The Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Act, signed into law on May 12, 2014, allows eligible Veteran business owners to get certified as a New York State Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business (SDVOB). The Act encourages and supports eligible SDVOBs to play a more significant role in the state's economy by increasing their participation in New York State's contracting opportunities. The OGS Division of Service-Disabled Veteran's Business Development is responsible for certifying eligible SDVOBs and assisting and promoting their involvement in the state's procurement activities.

About Our Services

The Department of Empowerment, Compliance, and Opportunities (DECO) is responsible for ensuring that New York State Homes and Community Renewal and its hosted agencies comply with the provisions of New York State Executive Law, Article 15A, and the rules and regulations outlined in 5NYCRR, Part 140 – 145 and New York State Executive Law, 17-B and the rules and regulations outlined in 9NYCRR, G I 252. These policies promote and encourage participation by minority and women-owned businesses and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses in state contracting opportunities. Our services include:  

Policy Analysis and Review - DECO works closely with other HCR business units and state agencies to clarify, streamline, and standardize the procurement process to reduce barriers to MWBE and SDVOB participation in state bid opportunities. 

Goal Setting - DECO establishes a percentage goal for MWBE and SDVOB participation for all applicable contracts. These goals are incorporated in the solicitation for bids and resultant contracts. 

Reporting Results - DECO prepares reports for Empire State Development that present HCR's performance results relative to MWBE participation goals. In addition, our staff prepares reports for OGS’s Division of Service-Disabled Veterans Business Development that demonstrate the agency's performance results relative to SDVOB participation goals. Our team examines and interprets the data to identify opportunities to improve. 

Compliance Monitoring - DECO follows up with contractors and vendors to track whether MWBE and SDVOB participation goals are being met and help to address challenges. 

Outreach and Education - DECO sponsors and participates in conferences, webinars, and other forums around the state, to increase awareness and educate communities about the state's MWBE and SDVOB programs and how to do business with New York State. 

Certification Assistance - DECO responds to questions about the MWBE certification process and refers businesses to ESD, which receives and reviews applications and issues certifications. In addition, our staff can submit "Expedite Requests" to support companies seeking to finalize their pending application for certification.  

Become a New York State Certified MWBE

Qualifications for NYS MWBE Certification

To qualify for New York State certification as a minority and/or women-owned business enterprise (MWBE), an applicant must successfully demonstrate the following through the production of relevant documentation: 

  • Ownership, Operation, and Control: All firms seeking MBE, WBE, or MWBE certification must be independently owned, operated, and controlled by minority members and/or women.​ The ownership must be accurate, substantial, and continuing, and the minority members and/or women must exercise the authority to control the day-to-day business decisions independently. 
  • Personal Net Worth Restriction: Each minority or woman owner (on whom certification is based) cannot have a personal net worth exceeding $15 Million after allowable deductions. 
  • Mandatory Supporting Documents: For each minority or woman owner on whom certification is based, Current Personal and Business Federal and State Taxes (Including all schedules, statements, and amendments) 
  • Small Business Restriction: Firms must employ at most 300 individuals. The Division of Minority and Women's Business Development calculates the number of employees of a business based on the average total employees over four calendar quarters. 
  • Independent, Active, and One year in Business: ​The firm must operate independently of other firms, demonstrate it is an active business, and generally, the company must be in operation for at least one year. 
  • Out-of-State Firms: Out-of-state applicants should be certified as an MWBE in their home state, if a similar process exists, before applying for MWBE certification in New York State. 

**All applicants must have "Authority to do Business in NYS" from the New York Department of State    before applying for MWBE certification. 

** The review process can take up to 3 months to 2 years. 


The Benefits:
  • Your certified firm is listed in the public Directory of Certified Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises
  • Your firm attracts new business.
  • The discretionary purchasing threshold for agencies and authorities will be increased from 200,000 to 5000,000 without a formal competitive requirement for commodities, services and technology that are recycled or remanufactured.
  • Your firm can access all MWBE procurement and/or contracting opportunities with NYS Agencies and Authorities is listed in the NYS Contract Reporter.
  • Your firm can access a statewide network of services and support for MWBEs: invitations for business development workshops, webinars, classes, and customized technical assistance targeted to MWBEs.
  • You can access lending and bonding programs created for state certified MWBEs.

For additional information on NYS MWBE Certification requirements, and for assistance, click here.

Become a New York State-certified SDVOB

Qualifications for NYS SDVOB Certification

New York State small business minimum eligibility requirements:

  • The business is independently owned and operated.
  • The business has no more than 300 employees and has a significant business presence in the state but is not dominant in the field.

If you have any questions about this eligibility requirement, contact OGS at 518-474-2015.


Certification Eligibility
  • The business must be independently owned and operated and have a significant presence in New York State.
  • One or more service-disabled veterans, with a service-connected disability rating of 10% or more from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (or the New York State Division of Veterans Affairs for National Guard veterans), must own at least 51% of the business.
  • Service-disabled veteran ownership must be accurate, substantial, and continuing.
  • The eligible service-disabled veteran owner(s) must have (and exercise) authority to control the day-to-day business decisions independently.
  • The business must qualify as a small business* under the New York State program.
  • See additional eligibility requirements in New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations: Part 252 Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Enterprise Program:


The Benefits:
  • Priority when you bid on contracts for other federal or state government agencies.
  • Tax relief
  • Better access to capital
  • Your certified firm is listed in the public:

Your firm attracts new business.

Agency Transparency

With the passage of A00989/S00841 on March 3rd, 2023, we are dedicated to enhancing the transparency of MWBE (Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises) goal waivers. Under the updated legislation, section 311.3(K) of Article 15-A mandates the transparent disclosure of records pertaining to waivers of compliance. These records will provide comprehensive insights into the rationale behind waiver denials. Moving forward, we will be posting quarterly utilization plans and waivers on this platform, ensuring that denied waivers are included. We remain committed to ensuring compliance with these reforms and fostering transparency and accountability. 

HFA Utilization Plans

HTFC Utilization Plans