BWE Logo

Black Women Enterprises
A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation
730 Fulton Avenue - Hempstead, NY 11550
Phone: 516.485.5900 - Fax: 516.485.0423

Increasing Business Growth and Development

Programs & Services
Black Rose
Public Sector Procurement Opportunities & Small Business Certification Programs
Business Outreach Partners & Financial Resource Partners
Calendar of Events
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New York State Association of Black Women Owned Enterprises, Inc.

History and Mission

On January 23, 1989, The United States Supreme Court rendered a decision in City of Richmond v. J. A. Croson Co., 488 U.S. 469, 109 S. Ct. 706 (1989) ("Croson") which suspended enforcement of Article 15-A programs and determined that a state must show a compelling government interest to justify a program such as the Article 15-A of the New York State Executive Law, enacted in 1988. Therefore A Study of Racial and Sexual Discrimination Related to Government Contracting in New York State was conducted.

More than 250 witnesses, in interviews and public hearings throughout New York State, testified to numerous actual instances of racial discrimination against Black, Hispanic, Asian and Native American MBE's (Minority Owned Business Enterprises) and sexual discrimination against WBE's (Women Owned Business Enterprises) in connection with government contracting in New York State and private sector contracting as well. The findings clearly proved that MBE's and WBE's suffer pervasive discrimination in connection with heir businesses. However, Black Women Owned Enterprises were almost non-existent, they did not accumulate even 1% (one percent) total of the women participating in state contracting, the lowest percentage of participation of any minority group.

The then governor, Hon Mario Cuomo, asked Assemblywoman Earlene Hooper (D-Hempstead, 18th AD) "Where are the Black Women Business Owners?" Hon. Hooper contacted Phyllis Hill Slater, President, Hill Slater Inc., Engineering & Architectural firm and a national small business leader/advocate who stated, that there was not an organization for Black Women Business Owners. The Governor's reply was simple; "start one."

In 1993, The New York State Association of Black Women Owned Enterprises, Inc. (BWE) was founded by a dynamic trailblazing group of black women business leaders. Phyllis Hill Slater, President, Hill Slater Inc., as Chair, Vera Moore, President, Vera Moore Cosmetics, as Vice Chair, Viola Newton, President, VJ Newton Accounting, as Secretary-Treasurer and M. Vicki Wacksman, DPA, President, Wacksman Associates, was hired as President & CEO. The Honarable Earlene Hooper Hill, Assemblywoman of the 18th AD, obtained the initial operating funds from the New York State legislature. A corporate advisory board was established including, Bank of Americ, Citicorp, Roslyn Savings Bank, EAB, Long Island Savings Bank, Keyspan Energy, AT&T, and TIAA-Cref. There were fifteen charter members identified, including Gina Slater Parker, Vice President, Hill Slater Inc.

BWE is the only organization in the USA with a unique mission to:

Identify and remove the barriers that impede the success of black women business owners from participating in government and private sector procurement, promote equal access to capital, educate, advocate, reverse industry trends that foster business failure among black women business owners and serve as a clearing house for all information related to businesses owned by black women.

Although BWE's core mission is to serve Black Women Business Owners, we do not discriminate. All are welcome to join.

As of January 1, 2000, Gina Slater Parker, Vice President, Hill Slater Inc, a third generation seasoned business owner, is BWE's President & CEO. The forecast for BWE in the millennium is promising and productive. The membership benefits, programs and services are greater than ever and are having a positive effect on our member's bottom line. The membership has grown rapidly under Ms. Parker's leadership, from an inactive 100 members, to an active 2,400 members, making BWE New York State's largest woman business owner's association.

Today BWE is successfully fulfilling its mission and serving women business owners of color with valuable programs, services, and information, that all aim to increase a women-owned business's bottom line. The function of BWE is to be inclusive, educate, advocate, network, identify, and provide business/technical resources, equal access to financial assistance and access to government and private sector procurement for its members.

BWE successfully identifies active support and financial commitments from our Corporate Advisory Board, corporate sponsors, local, state and national government and private contributors. So far The Alliance for Excellent Education, Astoria Federal Savings, AT&T, Brookhaven National Labs, Canon, Charles B. Wang Foundation, Citibank, Community Development Corporation, Con-Edison, Euro-American Women's Council, The Finance Department, First Union , Fleet Bank, Fortunoff, Hofstra University, Independent Community Bank, IBM, JP Morgan Chase, Keyspan Energy, Long Island Development Corporation, Long Island Power Authority, Long Island Small Business Assistance Corporation, Molloy College, National Women Business Owners Corporation, New York State, New York Community Trust, Northrop Grumman, North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System, Olympic Airways, Philip Morris Companies, SCORE, TIAA-Cref, UPS and Verizon, Women Impact Public Policy support our mission.


According to: The Center for Women's Business Research (CWBR)
1411 K Street, NW, Suite 1350
Washington, DC 20005-3407

As of 2006 there are an estimated 2.4 million firms owned 50% or more by women of color in the United States, employing 1.6 million people and generating nearly $230 billion in sales.  

There are an estimated 2.1 million firms majority owned (51% or more) by women of color in the United Sates, employing nearly 1.1 million people and generating more than $161 billion in sales.

Firms majority owned (51% or more) by women of color now represent 21.4 percent of all privately-held, women-owned firms in the United States-meaning, that one in five women-owned firms is owned by a woman of color.

Between 1997 and 2006, the number of firms majority owned (51% or more) by women of color is estimated to have increased by 119.7 percent; employment by 38.4 percent and sales by 49.0 percent.

Women of color own a majority share in 39.8 percent of all firms majority owned by persons of color. Women of color also employ 21.0 percent of the workers and generate 20.4 percent of the sales of all firms owned by persons of color.

Thirty-seven percent (36.9%) of firms majority owned (51% or more) by women of color are owned by African Americans (770,396); 35.7 percent are owned by Hispanics (745,246); 20.9 percent are owned by Asian Americans (436,751); 5.7 percent are owned by American Indians or Alaska Natives (119,198); and 0.7 percent are owned by women of Native Hawaiin or Pacific Islander descent (15,258).

Eighty percent (80.1%) of  forms majority owned (51% or more) by women of color are in the service sector; 9.3 percent are in retiail trade; and 4.8 percent are in real estate, rental and leasing.

The greatest growth by industry in the number of firms majority owned (51% or more) by women of color form 1997 to 2006 occurred in the service industry (48.5% growth); followed by real estate, rental and leasing (42.1%); and wholesale trade (31.1%).

CWBR has found that women-owned firms in the United States are as financially strong and credit worthy as the average firm, regardless of the industry or size. Yet access to credit is still problematic for women of color.

Access to capital is more problematic for women of color. As of 1998, fully 60% of Caucasian women business owners had bank credit, compared to 50% of Hispanic, 45% of Asian, 42% of Native American and 38% of African American women owners.

There is a great need to service woman business owners of color. BWE fills the void in New York State.

Copyright (c) 2004 - 2008 The New York State Association of Black Women Owned Enterprises, Inc.