Rockland County Executive’s Corner: Opening the Door

By County Executive Ed Day

As Rockland County continues forward with our revitalization, repurposing and renaissance we must ensure that the opportunities presented are available equally to all our residents. In that vein, I have positive news that I would like to share. Earlier this week, we again submitted a resolution to the Rockland County Legislature to amend the county’s procurement policy.

What does that mean you might ask?

Simply put we are adding “Best Value” procedures and raising the threshold before bonding is required to assist small, minority and women-owned businesses in competing for public works contracts. I look forward to working with Legislator Aney Paul to pass this resolution as she has vocally and formally supported minority and women-owned businesses in the past. In fact, I expect the full support of each and every Legislator on this resolution that will provide concrete assistance to minority and women-owned businesses.

As my administration works every day to attract new investment and grow our existing economy, we never lose sight of the importance of expanding opportunities for minority and women entrepreneurs.

Ensuring equal access across all modes of local government is more than a moral imperative – it’s the right thing to do. We must address economic inequities and build for a stronger and healthier Rockland county – a county that provides the same ladder of opportunity for all.

Rockland County’s business environment is as diverse as its population! It is only fair that participation in small business opportunities and government contracting reflect this diversity.

There are more than 300 small businesses in this county, and it’s critically important that we support and nourish the growth of these businesses. To do so, we’re helping our women and minority business owners and entrepreneurs who aspire to excellence by providing them with the resources they need to grow a successful firm.

Entrepreneurship is a key driver of prosperity and competitiveness throughout the United States. Women’s entrepreneurship, in particular, has been on the rise in the U.S. for the last two decades.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, as of January 2017, there are an estimated 11.6 million (11,615,600) women-owned businesses in the United States that employ nearly 9 million (8,985,200) people and generate more than $1.7 trillion ($1,663,991,700,000) in revenues.

Women entrepreneurs have come a long way over the course of the last 20 years but there are miles to go. The share of women-owned firms has grown much faster by number of firms than by employment and revenues. Indeed, while the share of number of firms from 1997 to 2017 grew from 26% to 39%, the share for employment only grew from 7% to 8% and for revenues, the share declined slightly from 4.4% to 4.2%.

These numbers clearly show that the system is locking these hard-working entrepreneurs out and our goal here in Rockland must be to throw that door wide open, to give minority and women-owned businesses access to the same opportunities as everyone else.

Since 1997, whether its numbers of firms, employment or revenue, the rate of growth of women-owned businesses has been outstanding. However, if women-owned businesses’ share of employment (8%) and revenues (4.2%) were similar to their share of firms (39%), they could make a much greater impact on our economy.

Our ultimate goal here in Rockland is to plug more minority and women-owned business enterprises into the economy through access to government contracts and capital.

Together, we are embarking on the Renaissance of Rockland County. Closing the gaps between who we are, and who we want to be. Opportunity is knocking, let’s go open the door.

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