Local minority and women owned businesses recognized

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – County Executive Adam Bello says since starting the local Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises Certification Program (MWBE), they now have well over 200 members. Some of the minority owned business owners here say this program has not only broken barriers but it’s also opened doors for others in the community.

“Well, it’s important because we’ve seen barriers to success, particularly for small businesses, particularly MWBEs and one of our jobs is to tear down those barriers,” said Adam Bello-Monroe County executive.

Bello says the purpose of the certification program is also to help connect these business owners to other opportunities within the community.

“Small businesses are MWBE businesses are the backbone of this economy, they’re what’s growing the economy, especially during the hard times when you know you look at the financial meltdown that happened about 10 years ago. The MWBEs were the ones that were growing at the time and they’re still growing today.”

Impacting business owners like Vargas Financial Services owner Nakia Vargas who was recognized, but says she wishes things didn’t have to be so complicated.

“It’s honestly a good feeling. I wish that it didn’t have to be a recognition because outside of my color and my gender, I am awesome and it shouldn’t be this hard, but I am grateful for the initiative in making sure that I have a fair chance.”

Khara Grant was also recognized, and she says being able to network to create even more opportunities is the key.

“Well for me it’s a real honor to be in Rochester New York and be able to directly impact the economic development using my business, right, and then to come into a room full of 200 people who are also going to impact Rochester in a positive way; I’m speechless, I’m overwhelmed.”

Since the start of the program, Bello says it was important for them to take it a step further with yet another certification program through the county.

“Monroe County now offers a new certification program for MWBEs that certifies you literally in just a couple of days if you’re eligible. We help to advertise your business and it also helps the county and other local governments with their utilization goals that we have to be able to support those small businesses and MWBEs.”

Anyone interested in becoming an MWBE member can do so here.