LITTLE GUYS GET IN GAME
Big Super Bowl push
PHYLLIS FURMAN NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
THE SUPER BOWL is expected to bring between $550 million and $600 million in economic activity to the New York area -- and Sandra Wilkin is looking to cash in. Wilkin doesn't own a restaurant chain or one of the hotels sure to capitalize on the hundreds of thousands of visitors who will be swarming into the region in February when Super Bowl XLVIII comes to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
She's a local small-business owner who's been chosen to participate in a program aimed at giving little guys a shot at winning the big game, too. The NFL and Super Bowl Host Committee initiative, called Business Connect, has assembled a group of hundreds of New Yorkarea minority group- and female-owned businesses -- including Wilkin's Manhattan-based Bradford Construction -- that will get a head start in accessing lucrative contracts associated with the game.
"It's a way of opening the door," Wilkin said. The program, sponsored by Goldman Sachs, is doing a number of things to help these businesses stand out.
Participants go to training sessions on procurement and attend matchmaking events where they connect with prospective customers. The Business Connect vendors also are listed on a special database at nynjsuperbowl.com. "We want to make sure that we are giving as much business as we can to local businesses," Super Bowl Host Company President Alfred Kelly told the Daily News.
Part icipat ing in Business Connect is no guarantee that a local small business will score a contract.
But the program, which has been running for the past 15 years, has helped minorityand female-owned businesses in other cities during past Super Bowls. "At the New Orleans tailgate party (this past February), the vast majority of the catering came from a company in the Business Connect program," Kelly said. Potential customers include the NFL, its contractors, the host committee and corporate sponsors.
The types of companies they will be looking to hire run the gamut from security firms to food service providers and florists. Wilkin is leaving nothing to chance in her bid for a Super Bowl victory. The construction company business owner has partnered with a local architect, March Architects, to create a joint venture, Mo-Bowl. They've already come up with designs for temporary structures that they will be pitching to Super Bowl partners.
"Leading up to the Super Bowl, there will be events around the New York area," Wilkin said. "We can help with everything from getting permits to putting up the structures. "We are ready, willing and able."
Here's the score
Who's eligible: Businesses with MBE/WBE (minority/female) certification in New York and northern New Jersey areas. How it works: Companies chosen are put on a preferred list of Super Bowl vendors, attend matchmaking events and learn how to best position themselves for nailing contracts.
Manhattan construction company owner Sandra Wilkin is aiming, with the aid of a program for minority group- and female-owned businesses, for a touchdown in February's Super Bowl.
Photo by Jeff Bachner