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Mastering the City: A Guide to Doing Business with Houston Government with Porscha Jackson

Mastering the City: A Guide to Doing Business with Houston Government

Have you ever considered doing business with the city government? If you're a small business owner looking for opportunities to grow and expand your reach, tapping into government contracts can be a game-changer. In this article, we will explore how you can navigate the process of doing business with the city of Houston, Texas. We will be joined by Dr. Porsha Jackson, the Business Development Manager for the City of Houston's Office of Business Opportunity, who will provide valuable insights and guidance.

About Dr. Porsha Jackson

Dr. Porsha Jackson is the Business Development Manager for the City of Houston's Office of Business Opportunity. Her role is to ensure that small businesses, especially those owned by historically marginalized groups, have equal opportunities to thrive. She oversees the Business Development segment of the office, which includes providing information and assisting businesses in navigating the process of doing business with the city.

Programs and Opportunities

The Office of Business Opportunity offers various programs and services to support small businesses. The programs cover four core areas: Business Development, Certifications, Contract Compliance, and Department Services through the OBO Solutions Center. Here are some highlights of the programs available:

  1. Certifications: The city of Houston certifies businesses in six areas: Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), Women Business Enterprise (WBE), Small Business Enterprise (SBE), Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), Persons with Disabilities Business Enterprise (PDBE), and Airport Concessions DBE. These certifications open doors to larger contracts and subcontracting opportunities.

  2. Business Development: The Office of Business Opportunity offers signature programs tailored to businesses at different stages, from start-ups to scaling enterprises. Programs like the Liftoff Houston Business Plan Competition and Capstone Programs provide training, resources, and mentorship to help businesses grow and succeed.

  3. Contract Opportunities: The City of Houston has a significant budget allocated for procurement, which provides opportunities for businesses of all types. The procurement process includes informal, formal, and Request for Proposal (RFP) opportunities. Registering as a vendor is the first step to access these opportunities.

  4. Networking Events and Meet the Buyer: The Office of Business Opportunity organizes events like Meet the Buyer, which brings together buyers, prime contractors, and small businesses. These events provide a platform for networking, learning about opportunities, and connecting with potential partners or clients.

How to Get Started

To get started, businesses interested in working with the City of Houston need to register as a vendor. This registration can be done online through the City's website. Once registered, businesses can search for bid opportunities and actively participate in the procurement process. It is important to stay informed about upcoming events, programs, and bid opportunities by subscribing to the Office of Business Opportunity's weekly e-blast.

The Procurement Process

The procurement process typically involves attending pre-bid conferences, conducting necessary research, submitting bids, and, if successful, entering into contracts. It is essential to carefully review bid solicitations for each opportunity and understand the specific requirements. Proper documentation, such as licenses and certifications, may be necessary depending on the contract type.

Payments and Prompt Payment

Once awarded a contract, it is important to be aware of payment timelines. While the City of Houston does not currently have a prompt payment policy, efforts are underway to ensure timely payments for small businesses. However, it is advised to have sufficient funds to sustain operations during the payment period, which can take up to 90 days or longer for large contracts.

Reach Out and Connect

Dr. Porsha Jackson and the Office of Business Opportunity are here to support and guide businesses interested in working with the City of Houston. If you have any questions or need assistance, feel free to reach out via email at porsha.jackson@houstontx.gov or connect with Dr. Porsha Jackson on LinkedIn.

Keywords

Houston government, small business opportunities, Office of Business Opportunity, certifications, procurement process, networking events, contract opportunities, vendor registration, payments, prompt payment, outreach, support.

FAQ

Q: Can businesses located outside of Houston work with the City of Houston? A: Yes, businesses outside of Houston can work with the City of Houston. While there are local certifications available, businesses can still participate in contract opportunities as registered vendors.

Q: Are there opportunities for transportation and hauling services? A: Yes, there are opportunities for transportation and hauling services, especially in the aftermath of events like flooding or natural disasters. Such services are crucial for maintaining the city's infrastructure.

Q: Can cleaning agencies find contracts with the City of Houston? A: Absolutely, the City of Houston contracts cleaning agencies to maintain and clean various facilities throughout the city. It is a significant need within the general Services Department.

Q: How can I find education-related opportunities with the city? A: The City of Houston operates independently from school districts. To find education-related opportunities, it is recommended to reach out to the specific school district you are interested in working with and inquire about their procurement or vendor opportunities.

Q: Are there specific licenses required for construction and roofing contracts? A: The specific licensing requirements for construction and roofing contracts may vary depending on the project's scope and nature. It is crucial to carefully review the bid solicitations for specific licensing requirements.

Q: Will this video be posted for later viewing? A: Yes, all videos from the Government Coins podcast are stored on the YouTube channel and can be accessed for viewing at any time.

Please note that the information provided here is based on the conversation with Dr. Porsha Jackson and the Office of Business Opportunity at the time of this article's creation. It is always recommended to refer to their official website and contact the office directly for the most up-to-date information and guidance.