March 23, 2009 – Mayor Domenic J. Sarno announced today that the City has awarded a contract to Royal & Munnings, LLC, in a joint venture with the New England Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc., to provide consulting services and assistance with the State Office of Minority and Women Business Assistance (SOMWBA)/DBE certifications and public procurement opportunities for women and minority businesses in Springfield. The estimated cost of the project is not to exceed $25,000.
“I am very pleased with the recommendation made by the City’s Chief Procurement Officer, Maria Lopez-Santiago,” stated Mayor Sarno. Mayor Sarno stated that “This joint venture will provide necessary assistance to women and minority businesses in Springfield.”
Royal & Munnings, LLC, is a women-owned limited liability company that operates as a law firm and has offices in Springfield and Northampton that focuses its practice on providing representation and counseling to businesses on a variety of legal issues affecting them, with a special emphasis on assisting women and minority owned businesses. The firm offers a full range of business services, which includes assisting women and minority owned businesses in obtaining certification with the state and federal government as well as in responding to procurement opportunities. The firm’s founders, Aimee Griffin Munnings and Amy B. Royal, specifically founded the firm to help promote the development of businesses owned by women and minorities.
The Small Business Administration awarded Aimee Griffin Munnins, as the Executive Director of the New England Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc., the Minority Small Business Champion award for both Massachusetts and New England for the work that has been done in regards to providing access and opportunity to minority and women businesses.
The New England Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc., (NEBCC) has a history of providing technical support to women and minorities committed to building business enterprises. The NEBCC has the ability to support contractors in overcoming barriers and has access to capital through the strategic partnerships that have been created with the Western Massachusetts Enterprise Fund and the Community Development Financing Institute.
As part of their plan, the NEBCC has a developed infrastructure that incorporates relationships and technology that will outreach to more than 500 constituents. The NEBCC proposes to enhance the services and experiences that have been developed to focus with specificity on the needs of the City of Springfield’s women and minority contractors. The service delivery will include legal capacity building workshops, outreach networking events, a small business development conference, SOMWBA facilitation workshops, and financing awareness events.
In December 2008, Mayor Sarno hosted a State Office of Minority and Women Business Assistance Seminar to provide the City of Springfield, particularly those departments that have services where minority and women businesses can provide services to Springfield, with an understanding of reaching out to and being more inclusive of this population. Mayor Sarno stated that “The City’s goal is to increase and make available opportunities that will help the City achieve its goal of 20% minority awarded contracts.”