It was a full house at Jones Futures Academy as attendees flowed into the school’s library to attend this month’s Workshop Wednesday to gain tips about certification and the requirements.
Representatives from the Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance, City of Houston, and Houston Minority Supplier Development Council shared tips with the crowd on how to become certified with their organizations, including the necessary requirements and the various types of certifications offered.
Any firm that is certified as a Minority- or Woman-owned Business Enterprise through one or more of these three agencies is automatically accepted as a registered M/WBE firm by HISD.
“The great thing about our organization is that the WBEA certification is recognized nationally,” Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance Certification and Business Development Director Kenya Williams said. “Remember that your certification is also a marketing tool.”
Williams said that to qualify with Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance, the prospective company must be run primarily by a woman.
“It’s nothing personal,” Williams said, smiling at the large group of men in the audience. “Both men and women can own the business, but the woman must be in charge.”
City of Houston Business Development Manager Will Norwood III told the crowd about the benefits of obtaining certification with the city’s Office of Business Opportunity.
“We assist those looking to start a business with the requirements that are needed to do so,” Norwood said. “Keep in mind that when the city hosts large events, such as the Super Bowl, Final Four, etc., we will reach out to small minority businesses in our directory for various services.”
In addition to the certification process and requirements, presenters talked about the vast network of large companies that certification holders would have access to, such as ExxonMobil, United Airlines, and Centerpoint Energy. All three are interested in doing business with minority- and women-owned businesses.
“Whether you decide to be an MBE or M/WBE, your opportunity to do business with a large corporation is high,” Houston Minority Supplier Development Council Certification Specialist Katherine Peacock said.
Golf Cars of Houston sales associate Abel Barrera said that although his company isn’t woman-owned, he still learned valuable information that he’ll be able to take back to his company.
“I think learning how to become certified with HISD is quite handy since you can submit for just about anything that may be needed in the future,” Barrera said.
HISD’s Business Solutions Supplier Diversity Department hosts workshops for minority and women-owned business enterprises on the first Wednesday of every month at different HISD campuses. Topics vary, but all workshops aim to help small business owners succeed.
For more information on upcoming workshops and networking opportunities, please contact the Business Assistance Supplier Diversity office at 713-556-7273 or BusinessAssistance@HoustonISD.org.