Historically Underutilized Business Program

Q: I own a small business. I’ve heard the state has a program for businesses owned by minorities and women. How does it work?

A: This is called the Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) program. The goal of the HUB program is to foster participation in state purchasing and contracting by businesses that have traditionally not participated in the process.

HUBs are businesses that are at least 51 percent owned by minorities and/or women. The owners must show active participation in the control, operation, and management of the affairs of the firm. A HUB must have its principal place of business in Texas and must be a for-profit concern.
My agency is an active participant m the HUB program. In Fiscal Year 2000, we purchased more than $11 million in goods and services from HUB vendors, which accounts form more than 28 percent of all agency expenditures. In some instances, the HUB vendor was a subcontractor on a purchase made by this agency.

Q: How do I sign up for the program?

A: All businesses that want to participate in the HUB program must be certified by the Texas General Services Commission (GSC), the agency that oversees most purchasing for the state. There is no fee to become certified as a HUB vendor, and all certified businesses are listed in a database that is accessible to all state agencies. For more information on becoming certified as a HUB, contact GSC at 1711 San Jacinto, Austin, Texas 78711 or call (888) 472-0500. You can also find information on the program at GSC’s Web site at www.gsc.state.tx.us.

For more information about the Attorney General’s HUB program, write to us at HUB Coordinator, Office of the Attorney General, P.O. Box 12548, Austin, Texas 78711-2548. You can also reach the HUB coordinator by e-mail at hubprogram@oag.state.tx.us or by phone at (512) 475-4411.

Q: Can you send someone to discuss the HUB program with our business group?

A: Yes. We have an active outreach program to assist businesses in joining the HUB program. Our HUB coordinator works on a daily basis with current and potential HUB vendors to ensure their access to the program. We also have a mentor-protégé program for HUBs. This program seeks to build long-term relationships between primary agency contractors and historically underutilized businesses to increase the ability of HUBs to win state contracts or participate as subcontractors. Contact our HUB coordinator for more information on both of these initiatives.

My agency takes part in HUB forums around the state on a regular basis. These forums serve both to educate potential HUB vendors about doing business with the state and to offer opportunities to network with other vendors. In some cases, contract awards are made to vendors at these forums. A schedule of upcoming HUB forums can be found on the General Services Commission Web site.

The Office of the Attorney General also has an active outreach program covering a wide range of other topics. We can provide your group or organization with speakers on matters such as consumer protection, crime victims’ compensation, child support enforcement, and the Texas Exile crime-control program. Outreach representatives also conduct workshops for the public and staff booths at conventions and conferences around the state. For more information or to schedule a speaker, contact Kevin OKeeffe, the Director of Outreach, at (512) 936-1870 or e-mail him at Kevin.Okeefe@oag.state.tx.us.