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“There are vast untapped human resources and potential in Houston, and the people of Haiti are in need of our help. It only makes sense to bring the two together… ”

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Chairwoman of the Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection Subcommittee of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee, together with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the American Red Cross (ARC), will host a Symposium for local businesses on how to participate in the contracting process to assist Haiti to recover from the devastating earthquake. The Symposium, to be held Monday, June 21 from 9am to 12pm at the Good Hope Baptist Church at 3015 N. MacGregor Way in Houston, TX, will provide a unique opportunity for local small, minority and women-owned and disadvantaged businesses.

On the need to involve the people of Houston in the reconstruction effort, Congresswoman Jackson Lee stated, “There are vast untapped human resources and potential in Houston, and the people of Haiti are in need of our help. It only makes sense to bring the two together so that the hard working men and women of Houston have an opportunity to contribute to helping the people of Haiti rebuild their nation. USAID and the American Red Cross will help open the door for our local businesses including small, minority and women-owned and disadvantaged businesses to participate in something great, at the same time strengthening our own damaged economy. ”

The Symposium will be held for local businesses in the Greater Houston Metro area. Representatives from USAID and ARC will provide detailed information on strategies and requirements for procuring federal contracts for the reconstruction process in Haiti, as well as some of the logistical aspects of working in Haiti. USAID and ARC representatives both plan on emphasizing the need for greater transparency and public outreach in reconstruction efforts in Haiti.

The presenters will cover, among other topics:

1. Resources and contact information for communicating with USAID and ARC
2. Points of contact for submitting proposals and asking questions about procurement
3. Process for soliciting grants, contracts and submitting unsolicited proposals
4. Strategies for effectively marketing services to USAID and ARC
5. Specific information on how USAID works with small businesses

Participants will be able to take home detailed knowledge on how to navigate the federal procurement system, and will receive information that can help them put their unused resources and potential to work serving their Haitian neighbors in need, while also providing a much needed boost to their own local economy.

Regarding the efforts to increase small, minority and women-owned, and disadvantaged business participation in the reconstruction efforts in Haiti, Congresswoman Jackson Lee has stated: “Opportunity is one of the foundations of our democracy and our economy. This Symposium is providing an invaluable opportunity for the people and business community of Houston to learn about how they can get involved in rebuilding Haiti, and a critical opportunity to the people of Haiti to receive the assistance they need. ”

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