Xerox CEO headlines women, minority biz forum

Xerox CEO and Chairwoman Ursula Burns will speak at this year's NY forum for minority and women business owners.

New York’s largest annual networking event for minority- and women-owned business enterprises is scheduled for Oct. 1 and 2 at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany.

Designed to help small businesses from across New York navigate available state contracts, support organizations and other business-growth protocols, the event is slated to feature a number of heavy-hitting corporate and political guests.

Headlining the scheduled speakers are Xerox CEO and Chairwoman Ursula Burns, the first African American woman to serve as chief executive of a Fortune 500 company, and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, the first – and, to date, only – African American to occupy that office.

You can register here.

In a statement, Gov. Andrew Cuomo noted that his administration has taken “unprecedented steps” to ensure that minority businesses have the resources and information they need “to succeed, grow and create jobs,” including formation of the annual MWBE Forum.

“Minority- and woman-owned businesses play an important role in New York’s business community,” Cuomo said.

The forum will explore state-based opportunities in transportation, construction, finance, information technology and other professional areas. The event’s theme, “Opportunities Start Now,” reflects New York’s “commitment to exceeding its statewide MWBE procurement goal,” according to the governor’s office.

The two-day event will include panel discussions featuring state leaders and industry experts, who will chat up business-development opportunities attached to lucrative state initiatives such as the $4 billion LaGuardia Redevelopment Program and the state Gaming Commission’s $1.3 billion casino project.

Scheduled topics also include New York’s new protocols for identifying certified MWBEs and the Cuomo administration’s MWBE growth initiative, which focuses on creating new opportunities in industries with historically low MWBE utilization.

Also on the agenda are workshops designed specifically to introduce women and minority business owners to available state contracts, as well as a networking expo giving the business owners direct access to “public- and private-sector decision-makers working in a variety of industries,” according to the governor’s office – including representatives of global investment firm Goldman Sachs, office-furniture titan Herman Miller Inc. and nearly 50 other top-tier corporations.

More than 2,000 people registered for the 2014 forum, which showcased nearly $2 billion in state contracting opportunities, Cuomo’s office said.