AABE Survey

The Bexar County UTSA African-American Business Enterprise (AABE) Survey was performed by the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Center for Community and Business Research in coordination with the Bexar County Small Business & Entrepreneurship Department in 2016 as an effort to identify African-American Businesses and the challenges they face when doing business with Bexar County and other government agencies.

The survey identified more than 7,000 AABEs in Bexar County, making up a total of 3.8% of all firms in the Bexar Metro Service Area. The key issues discovered are: 
  • Few AABEs had paid employees
  • Limited financial capacity and cash flow 
  • Limited bonding experience
  • Limited networking & marketing capabilities
  • Limited administrative capacity 
    • Few firms have more than 5 employees

Through this survey, we have identified that there is not parity between the number of AABEs (3.8% of all businesses) and the African-American population at large (7% of population in 2012). More than 80% of respondents do not have prior experience with Bexar County, and 65% of them did not submit a bid in 2015. Primary concerns of AABE survey respondents were as follows: 

  • Requested feedback on bidding results or rejection
  • Transparency in the bidding process
  • Perceptions of unfairness, even when applying as subcontractors
  • Concerns of "one size fits all" prequalification requirements
    • Bonding, past performance, credit
  • Confusion about minority certification and vendor registration
    • Bexar County accepts all certifications
Barrier
Recommendation
Administrative Capacity Management Assistance & Training
Productive & Financial Capacity
(i.e. loans, bonding & insurance)
Debundling Projects, Teaming & Business
Development (build financial capacity)
Government Contracting Experience Build Qualifications & Educate

Marketing Capacity
Matchmaking Events Through SBED Office
(e.g. annual SMWVBO Conference) and 
Build Marketing Capacity
Industrial Category Mismatch Increase transferal capacity (transfer skills
and resources for County needs)

Bexar County SBED is committed to working with AABEs & all small, minority, and women-owned businesses to assist in overcoming these barriers with capacity-building programs focused on education & training, peer-to-peer round tables, and collaborative efforts & events. By enabling AABEs to work with Bexar County, we will build a robust, diverse pool of businesses and resources to meet the needs of our residents. 

For more information on capacity-building and information on the services of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Department, contact Shantana Robinson at (210) 335-0709 or at [email protected]