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Members of HISD’s Supplier Diversity department gathered with local business owners and vendors on Wednesday to provide them with tips for successfully submitting required Minority & Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) reports to the district.
HISD established the M/WBE program in 1988 to advocate fair and equitable opportunities for the participation of M/WBE firms or companies. The M/WBE participation report makes it possible for smaller businesses to gain contracts within the district after all requirements have been met.
“Take time to look at our website. This way, you can get a better idea of what we’re looking for,” Business Solutions General Manager Yesenia Taylor said during the monthly Workshop Wednesday session. “We want to ensure that when you are bidding for projects, you are prepared to handle the work.”
Taylor told the group that they can submit M/WBE participation reports under four categories: nonprofit government entity, certified M/WBE company, subcontracting, and subcontracting based on a point value system.
When creating a proposal, Taylor said, it’s important for the proposer to get familiar with the format, required documents, and evaluation criteria. She encouraged prospective bidders to attend pre-bid meetings to get clarification on the scope of work and any other details the request may include.
“I can’t tell you how important it is to attend a pre-bid,” Taylor said. “That’s your time to ask questions and make connections.”
Taylor said companies interested in doing business with the district are not required to have M/WBE certification. But if they are hiring subcontractors, those subcontractors must have an M/WBE certification from either the City of Houston, the National Minority Supplier Development Council or the Women’s Business Enterprise National Counsel.
EMC School Educational Sales Consultant Joni Dodson said she already is a current HISD vendor, but came to the event to learn new information.
“I try to come to meetings every few months just to ensure we’re compliant with what HISD needs,” said Dodson, who sells curriculum to the district. “It’s nice to give the information to the other companies I work with.”
HISD’s Business Assistance Supplier Diversity department hosts Workshop Wednesday on the first Wednesday of each month. The free event covers various topics that are targeted to provide relevant information and assistance to minority- and women-owned companies interested in doing business with the district.
For more information on upcoming workshops and networking opportunities, contact the Business Assistance Supplier Diversity office at 713-556-7273 or firstname.lastname@example.org