Strength in numbers

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Business owners attend the Texas Procurement and Support Services’ HUBEXPO in Irving earlier this year. The expo is a conference which provides information to minority- and women-owned businesses about Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) certification programs and other opportunities.
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HUB Program helps businesses owned by minorities, women

Historically Underutilized Business, or HUB, certifications can help minority- and women-owned businesses grow.

Many minority- and women-owned businesses have an opportunity to grow their businesses by adding a HUB certification to their business plans. As a HUB, businesses can gain opportunities through Texas’ procurement process, which offers more exposure and more chances to obtain bids or contracts with the state.

As an owner of a firm that sells marketing products and services, Cathy Frazier said there are benefits to becoming HUB certified.

“[For] the Super Bowl, that was the only way I was able to get chosen to do the speaker gifts,” she said.

In 2011, Frazier’s BizSource Marketing was one of about 900 businesses that participated in the NFL’s Emerging Business Program, which not only spotlighted minority- and women-owned businesses in the North Texas area but also allowed them to nab lucrative NFL contracts when the Super Bowl came to Arlington that year.

“That was probably how I met a lot of people, a lot of players,” Frazier said. “I was interviewed by the NFL panel, [and] I would not have had that opportunity if I was not HUB certified.”

Frazier’s business has been open since 2000, and she acquired her HUB certification seven years ago. Frazier renews her HUB certification every four years as required by the state. She also makes sure her information is on the state’s Centralized Master Bidders List, which has a registration fee of $70. When the state plans to buy goods and services costing more than $5,000, it must search the list for potential CMBL vendors, according to the comptroller’s website.

“It has definitely helped my business,” Frazier said. “You don’t get all of them [contracts], but it helps me for sure.”

 

By the numbers

Like Frazier, more business owners have began to understand the importance of acquiring their HUB certification. Northern Denton County has 127 minority-owned and Historically Underutilized Businesses registered in the program.

Of the businesses listed, 78 are women-owned, two are owned by an Asian female, five are owned by an Asian male, 15 are owned by black males, eight are owned by black females, six are owned by Latina females and 11 businesses are owned by Latino males, according to data acquired from the HUB directory posted on the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts website.

No HUB businesses were listed in Shady Shores, Copper Canyon or Dish, according to the data provided.

In order to become certified, a business has to be:

* at least 51 percent owned by an Asian-Pacific American, black American, Hispanic American, Native American and/or American woman;

* a for-profit entity that has not exceeded the size standards prescribed in the Texas Administrative Code (Title 34, Rule 20.23), and has its principal place of business in Texas; and

* owned by a resident in Texas with a proportionate interest that actively participates in the control, operations and management of the entity’s affairs.

In 2008, the Texas Office of the Comptroller’s Texas Procurement and Support Services Division began administering the HUB program. Each October and March, the division provides a report to the legislature on its educational and outreach efforts to reach minority- and  women-owned businesses to inform them about the state’s procurement process.

Ron Pigott, director of the Texas Procurement and Support Services division, said there has definitely been a growth in businesses that have applied to become HUB-certified since his division began administering the program.

Pigott said when the state comptroller’s office began administering the program in 2008, there were 13,824 HUB-certified businesses. Now, there are 16,985. In 2011, there were 16,710 HUB-certified businesses.

To inform businesses of potential opportunities, the division provides seminars and training on the available opportunities. Events like HUBEXPO inform vendors of the state’s procurement process. It also allows business owners to interact with state HUB coordinators and purchases as well as letting them know how they can be on the Centralized Master Bidders List.

“We do all of that, but we also work with the University of North Texas, Texas A&M, the Texas Department of Transportation and 11 contracted chambers of commerce,” Pigott said, adding that the outreach is conducted both at the state and local level.

In addition to getting information about HUB-related resources, businesses also get training, including how to manage their businesses and their capital.

In fiscal year 2012, which ended Aug. 31, the Texas Procurement and Support Services conducted more than 106 events and HUB discussion sessions and provided more than 149 outreach activities, according to the Fiscal 2012 Education and Outreach Report for the Statewide Historically Underutilized HUB Program report.

“The feedback [from business owners] has been completely positive,” Pigott said.

The HUB program saw a 14.45 percent decrease in the number of new certification applications received. In July 2012, 844 minority- and women-owned businesses were registered as new Texas certified HUBs directly with the comptroller’s office. Through its third-party entities, another 822 registered to become certified, according to the report.

 

Local efforts

Eddie Reyes, director of HUB Administration at the University of North Texas, works with businesses in the North Texas area that want to become HUB certified.

In the nine years that he has been involved with the HUB program, he said women-owned businesses have continued to do fairly well. But women do have to make a crucial decision.

“If you apply, [you’re going to] have to make a choice of how you want to be certified — either putting down Hispanic or women, you cannot be both,” he said. “You are going to be counted as Hispanic or a woman, but not Hispanic woman-[owned]. That is the law. … You have to decide as you are filling this out, you need to decide which is more advantageous to you.”

It depends on the industry, Reyes said, encouraging women businesses owners to look at the advantages.

During his time as coordinator of the HUB program at UNT, Reyes has also seen an increase in the number of women-owned certified businesses especially in construction, architecture and engineering. He has also seen an increase in the number of Latina-owned businesses.

“Women architects are breaking away from their own firms, and starting their own businesses,” Reyes said.

UNT awarded 282 contracts to minority- and women-owned businesses, reaching a total of around $28 million for this fiscal year 2012, according to comptroller reports. Texas Woman’s University awarded 125 contracts totaling around $6 million, according to data from the comptroller’s office.

Michelle Cunningham, business development officer with Denton’s economic development office, said once local businesses are part of the state’s HUB contractors list, they are notified by e-mail of bid opportunities that could be available citywide.

She also cautioned business owners to be proactive.

“Just because you are HUB-certified, it doesn’t mean people will call you and provide you with business,” she said. “You are also responsible for looking and finding those opportunities.”

KARINA RAMÍREZ can be reached at 940-566-6878. Her e-mail address is kramirez@dentonrc.com.

 

ON THE WEB

Historically Underutilized Business Program: www.window.state.tx.us/procurement/prog/hub/

Historically Underutilized Business certification and Centralized Master Bidders List registration: www.window.state.tx.us/procurement/prog/hub/hub-forms/HUBCertificationAppSoleProprietorship1009.pdf

How to register as a Texas vendor: www.window.state.tx.us/procurement/registration


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