Published October 2016
After a decade of working to make her business grow, Delia Merritt made a small adjustment that led to noticeable expansion.
The adjustment? Merritt achieved Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) certification.
“I had been in business for 10 years,” says Merritt, owner of Communication By Hand, an Austin-based interpretation services provider for the deaf community. “Our success truly blossomed after we became HUB-certified. The HUB Certification Team at the Comptroller’s office … made the certification process so much easier.”
Administered by the Comptroller’s office, The Texas HUB program helps companies owned by women, minorities and veterans disabled in the line of duty sell their products or services to the state.
In the first half of fiscal 2016, the state spent nearly $1.1 billion with HUBs.
Texas has nearly 13,000 certified HUBs, and nearly one in four of them participated in state contracts in the first half of 2016.
Women-owned businesses accounted for the largest share of these contracts, with 5,609 certified as HUBs. Hispanic American-owned businesses account for 4,552, and 3,021 HUBs are Black American-owned. Service-disabled veteran enterprises comprised a small share, with 77 certified as HUBs, but that number is up from 44 in the past fiscal year.
Our staff helps HUBs gain access to the Centralized Master Bidders List. When any state entity is in the market for products or services that cost more than $5,000, they consult this resource. About 25 percent of certified HUBs are on this list.
The Comptroller’s office works with the Governor’s Economic Development and Tourism team to market the HUB program throughout Texas. In 2016 so far, the Comptroller’s office has hosted HUB seminars and expos in Beaumont, Irving and Austin.
With social media resources such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages, in addition to our agency’s newly revamped website, it’s never been easier for HUB vendors and those seeking HUB certification to find events and classes that will help them understand the state’s procurement process.
Texas also monitors a Mentor-Protégé Program and publishes lists of Mentor-Protégé Agreements between experienced prime state contractors with HUBs. These partnerships offer professional guidance and support to help smaller HUBs grow their businesses and become more competitive in the marketplace. Mentors also benefit because they can fulfill HUB subcontracting requirements by working with protégé companies.
Twenty-six other states have similar programs and state offices dedicated to assisting historically underutilized businesses to compete more successfully for government contracts.
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s HUBZone Program helps small businesses gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities. FN
In 2015, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 855, which requires state agencies to publish a list of the three most commonly used Web browsers on their websites. The Texas Comptroller’s most commonly used Web browsers are Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Apple Safari.