HISD seeking suppliers as diverse as the Houston community

The 2012 bond will create thousands of jobs over the next six to eight years as the Houston Independent School District embarks on a $1.89 billion program to repair or replace 38 schools, improve middle school restrooms and provide district-wide upgrades in technology, security, and athletic facilities.

As this work unfolds, the district wants to ensure fair and equitable opportunities for the participation of M/WBE firms, in the areas of procurement, construction, and professional services.

An M/WBE is defined as a business enterprise that is at least 51% owned, operated, managed, and controlled by one or more members of the following socially or economically disadvantaged groups: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian/Pacific Island Americans, native American Indians (American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, and native Hawaiians), and non‐minority women.

HISD’s minority- and woman-owned business enterprises program started in 1988. With the hiring of Alexis Licata as general manager of business assistance in 2009 and Leo Bobadilla as Chief Operating Officer in 2010, HISD has redoubled its efforts to increase M/WBE participation.

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HISD’s Business Assistance Supplier Diversity Department routinely works with HISD department heads to increase M/WBE participation in all district projects and contracts. The department assists minority businesses with navigating HISD’s bidding processes and requirements, and has strengthened the process for auditing and reporting on participation.

The department also hosts monthly “How to do business with HISD” workshops. The goal is to promote the growth and success of local companies by raising awareness of district bidding opportunities and providing resources for M/WBEs to network and partner with other contractors.

The district’s M/WBE participation goals are:

  • 20 percent for purchasing goods & non-professional services over $10,000
  • 20 percent for construction over $25,000
  • 25 percent for professional services over $25,000

To bid on HISD project as an M/WBE, companies must be certified with a qualifying agency including the City of Houston (MBE and/or WBE), the Houston Minority Supplier Development Council and the Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance. Although HISD is not a certifying agency, the Business Assistance team is available to assist companies through the process.

Once certified, M/WBEs are encouraged to visit the district’s procurement website  to register and view current opportunities for proposals.

Should you need further assistance,  please contact the Office of Business Assistance at 713-556-7273.