Mayor Parker today announced major improvements in the certification process at the City’s Office of Business Opportunity (OBO).
“I promised minority and women-owned firms an office that is responsive to their needs and understands the difficulties they face,” said Mayor Parker. “Just five short months later, we are delivering on that promise with an OBO that is reenergized and cutting the bureaucracy. That will mean jobs and a positive impact for these businesses and our economy”
The changes underway include: A revamped certification application that is easier to complete; An new certification hotline (832-393-0600), which companies can call to learn about the certification process and check on the status of their applications; standard operating procedures with internal and external controls to ensure timely processing of all applications; and Expansion of the certification from one to three years.
OBO is finalizing a Memorandum of Understanding with other certifying entities – Houston Minority Supplier Diversity Council and Women Business Enterprise Alliance – to fast-track City certification for companies that are already certified with these organizations. Under the MOU, the City will focus only on validating the criteria that was not included in the certification process conducted by the other organizations. This will include geographic requirements, size standards and functional mission.
Mayor Parker also wants OBO to pursue partnerships with private and educational institutions for technical assistance, counseling and training that could help businesses grow to compete for opportunities at every level of City procurement.