NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City LGBTQ business owners are getting some help when it comes to competing for lucrative city contracts; the city is giving them specific minority designations.

Daniele Kucera owns Etcetera Etcetera Restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen.

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“If you are a hard worker, you should be able to succeed,” he told CBS2’s Dave Carlin.

As a gay businessman, he’s glad the city is now reaching out to include LGBT company bids for contracts.

In Kucera’s case, it could be a contract for the catering of a big city event that he’d likely never even try for in the past.

“And grow our business where before we didn’t have that chance,” he said.

That’s because before, the process for city contracts did not officially attach minority status to LGBT applicants.

The new designation is in partnership with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce and overseen by New York City’s department of small business services.

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Lucas Mendieta and Nathan Perry are the owners of Cutting Edge Elite, a staffing agency for events that is branching out into COVID vaccine response.

“Completely ecstatic that we can finally throw our hat in the ring and be considered for these contracts,” Mendieta said. “Last week, we got the phone call to say that we were selected and that we will be part of the vaccine rollout plan.”

“Even if people don’t see the value at first, you can always convince them,” Perry said.

“This does not mean a handout. It does not mean a guarantee,” said Jonathan Lovitz, senior vice president of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce. “When more diverse companies can compete for city contracts, bid prices come down. That means greater competition.”

Jonnel Doris, the commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services, said, “A diverse vendor pool makes a stronger New York City, and we are excited to maximize the inclusion of LGBTQ certified firms into the City’s certification process.”

Other cities with similar designations and partnerships include Chicago, Orlando and Nashville.

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