Government contracting isn't all about guns and ammo and construction. Businesses like printers and restaurants can get in the game too – but it can take some convincing.

Jonnel Doris, senior adviser and director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women Owned Businesses, says he works every day to convince such enterprises to work with a city that’s trying to reach a high goal for MWBE contracting.

“You have to go and essentially change the culture, not only internally in the city, but the external culture and the awareness of what exactly the city has to offer for MWBEs,” Doris said. “That takes work.”

Doris was a panelist at City & State’s On Diversity conference on June 27 in a segment titled, “How MWBE Contracting Can Help Your Business.” He was joined by Andrew Hoan, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and Bomi Kim, director and senior vice president for the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s Opportunity M/W/DBE program. City & State staff reporter Jeff Coltin moderated the panel.

RELATED: Deputy Mayor Richard Buery: Diversity is not “a strong enough word”

The panelists discussed how a West Indian caterer got government contracts, what benefits MWBEs bring to the government and entities like the Brooklyn Chamber, and whether a new state law could help the city reach its high MWBE goals.

You can listen to the panel in full as an episode of the City & State Presents podcast below.

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