NYC Leading the Way to Support M/WBEs


It’s no surprise that more women are leading successful science and technology businesses in the United States, so many cities, like New York City, are doing whatever they can to encourage minority-and women-owned businesses to expand and grow through certification and access to government contracts.
Earlier this month, New York City announced a $40 million loan investment that provides affordable loans to M/WBE and small businesses of any kind. In addition, a new website and advertising campaign provides information, resources and opportunities to help certified firms in all types of ventures succeed in a very competitive market.
Other New York City programs specifically target STEM businesses, including electrical construction. The MTA supports M/WBEs through its Tier 1 Small Business Mentoring Program, in which Turtle & Hughes participates as a mentor. We provide technical services, engineering expertise and equipment for the scheduling, design and installation of fiber and copper communications projects.

Women in STEM

This is good news for women in STEM who continue to gain ground, as demonstrated on the annual list of the 50 Fastest Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies. For the last ten years, the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and AMEX have sponsored a list of the fastest growing female-owned or led businesses in the United States.
These companies on the list generated a combined $7.2 billion in revenues and employed around 46,000 people. Those revenues and staff levels are almost double what they were five years ago in 2012’s list, when the figures were $4 billion and 26,883, respectively.


Female entrepreneurship is growing and there’s evidence that the push to get women into STEM-related industries is paying off. “In the last three years, three of the top five winners of the 50 Fastest Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies were in STEM industries,” says Dr. Marsha Firestone, the president and founder of the WPO. “This represents approximately six percent of the total number of businesses that are owned and led by women entrepreneurs and is a definite change over years ago.”

Techies Needed

The developed world is set to experience a growing shortage of STEM workers as technological progress continues to outpace educational reform. In simple terms, while advances in science and technology are creating new specialties practically every other week, high schools and universities struggle to turn out the STEM-trained graduates needed for these new jobs. Cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, big data and other technologies are rapidly evolving and require new skillsets that can only be provided by those with a solid base in STEM education.


According to the American Action Forum (AAF), the United States will be short over a million STEM workers overall by 2024 if current trends continue. There are a number of responses to this crisis, but one part of the solution is to encourage more women and girls into the industry.


“Women entrepreneurs want to see the younger generation succeed,” says Firestone. “In scaling their businesses, the most important factors in helping them grow their enterprises are deregulation, an increase in the number of women entering STEM industries, prominent media coverage of women business owners, availability of mentorship programs and networks of women entrepreneurs and access to capital.”
While most of the conversation around STEM shortfalls is focused on employees rather than entrepreneurs, these success stories can be a real eye-opener for women and girls that these fields are a place where their talents can thrive — as well as for those looking to hire qualified women-owned firms.
And, with cities like New York leading the way in their support of  M/WBEs, women now have many more opportunities than ever to establish and grow a business, not only in STEM, but in any area that challenges them to succeed.

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