About 200 local business owners, city and county agency representatives — including HISD’s Business Assistance Supplier Diversity team — were on hand last week for the inaugural “Gateway to Local Government” luncheon, hosted by the Greater Heights Area Chamber of Commerce.
During the event, business enterprises from across the city were given the opportunity to meet and network with a variety of government departments, managing organizations and elected officials. Representatives from HISD, TXDOT, Port of Houston and more gave participants helpful tips on how to successfully network, sell their products and services, and discuss specific issues on a one-on-one basis.
“This is an opportunity to reach out to the Houston business community to let them know more about what HISD offers in terms of helping M/WBEs improve business plans and leverage new opportunities,” said Alexis Licata, general manager of Business Assistance at HISD.
The HISD Business Assistance office currently sponsors a minority- and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBE) program for business owners. Participants at the luncheon were able to learn more about doing business with HISD and programs hosted by the district, including its monthly Workshop Wednesday.
Houston Mayor Annise Parker addressed the audience by delivering the keynote address on the many opportunities and challenges ahead for the region.
“We have a problem that most cities in America don’t have,” Parker said. “We have more jobs than we do people to fill them.”
Parker also discussed the rapid growth of the local economy and encouraged businesses at the event to connect with the City of Houston and other government agencies.
“We have the highest commitment to minority and women businesses, contracting and purchasing, in the United States,” said Parker. “We want to do business with Houston firms.”
Other officials were present at the event, including Harris County Sherriff Adrian Garcia, Texas Representative Sylvester Turner and U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.