Small, minority, women, disadvantaged and veteran owned businesses are an integral part of our lives, play an important role in the economy of the United States, and are considered by many as the heart of the free enterprise system by employing well over half of all working Americans. Bexar County is home to over 45,000 small businesses that provide products and services which support the community with a higher standard of living.
Bexar County desires to undertake all necessary and reasonable steps to ensure that small, disadvantaged, minority and woman owned businesses are afforded equitable opportunities to participate in local government and other contracts within the relevant marketplace from which the County routinely purchase significant quantities of goods and services. Commissioners Court established as a targeted goal, that a minimum of 20% of all procurement dollars in the areas of Commodities, Equipment, Professional and Personnel Services, Maintenance and Construction are spent with minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBE), and a minimum of 30% of those procurement dollars are spent with small business enterprises (SBE). The business environment in which the SMWBE/DBE Program operates is complex. A great deal of data is needed to support the Program's business requirements and reporting duties.
The Business Development and Procurement Programs are designed in an attempt to meet the needs of those in several areas:
- A person who owns a business that is available and has the capacity to do business with the public and private sector.
- A person who owns a business that is available, but needs help with building the capacity to do business with the public and private sector.
- A person who owns a business that is performing work in the private sector, but has not sought public sector opportunities (and vice versa).
- A person who owns a business and needs help by getting technical or financial assistance.
- A person who has the desire to start a business and would like to be prepared, know what opportunities and assistance are available.
- A person who may be working a job today, but would like to start a business one day in the future.
- A person who would like to network with other business owners, and public and private sector staff and leaders to enhance their development and overall quality of life.
On April 10, 2001, Bexar County Commissioners Court approved Administrative Policy 8.0 - Small, Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise Program, which established the County's program. A very significant component of the policy is to maximize area resources without duplicating services. With that in mind, the SMWBE Program staff works with the SMWBE Program Advisory Committee, Purchasing Department and other local governmental entities to develop and implement the various outreach and procurement programs.
The events are an opportunity for the county Purchasing Department to make direct contact with local vendors. SMWBEs can get their questions answered and meet the buyers. Our office has information for other county departments to regarding their services or programs. They include the County Clerk, Tax Office, District Attorney - Hot Checks Section, and Dispute Resolution Office.
- Serve as a clearinghouse for solicitations allowing SMWBE/DBE more access to formal or informal solicitations and professional services opportunities.
- Provide the notices to assist in outreach to disadvantaged, small, minority and woman-owned businesses.
- Review compliance and monitoring of solicitations and participation for bid response.
- Review and update codes SMWBE/DBE use to receive solicitations.
- Determine if SMWBE/DBE follow-up on notice of the opportunities.
- Determine if there are SMWBE/DBE vendors ready, willing, and able to provide the desired goods or services.
- Maintain and provide access to a database of vendors, suppliers and contractors that qualify as SMWBE/DBE, including their products and areas of expertise.
- Maintain a communication process with SMWBE/DBE vendors, suppliers, professionals and contractors to involve them in the procurement process.
- Provide SMWBE/DBE Participation Reports.
- To foster relationships in small group settings.
- To give SMWBE/DBE briefings on emerging issues that could impact their business.
- To identify actions to seize opportunities and avoid pitfalls in the changing business environment.
- To serve as SMWBE/DBE resource for technology, consulting, planning, implementation, and advancement.
- Work with county staff to maintain a dynamic SMWBE/DBE website presentation.
- To serve as the resource and information center for SMWBE/DBE, general contractors, local, state and federal agencies and the general business community.
On March 12, 2007 Commissioners Court adopted the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Local Area Management Agreement. Under this Agreement, the County is required to established a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program in accordance with regulations of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 49 CFR Part 26 . On June 5, 2007 Commissioners Court adopted the Texas Department of Transportation Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program. Administrative Policy 8.2 - DBE Program is necessary to provide guidance to Bexar County offices and departments and the general public.
It is the policy of Bexar County to ensure that DBEs as defined in CFR 49 Part 26 , have an equal opportunity to receive and participate in DOT-assisted contracts. In accordance with the MOU, it is Bexar County's policy:
- To ensure nondiscrimination in the award and administration of DOT - assisted contracts;
- To create a level playing field on which DBEs can compete fairly for DOT - assisted contracts;
- To ensure that the DBE Program is narrowly tailored in accordance with applicable law;
- To ensure that only firms that fully meet 49 CFR Part 26 eligibility standards are permitted to participate as DBEs;
- To help remove barriers to the participation of DBEs in DOT assisted contracts; and
- To assist the development of firms that can compete successfully in the market place outside the DBE Program.
The Small, Minority, Women and Disadvantaged Owned Business Enterprise Program (SMWDBE) Manager has been delegated as the DBE Liaison Officer. In that capacity, the SMWDBE Program Manager is responsible for implementing all aspects of the DBE program. Implementation of the DBE program is accorded the same priority as compliance with all other legal obligations incurred by Bexar County in its financial assistance agreements with the Department of Transportation. The duties and responsibilities include the following:
- Gathers and reports statistical data and other information as required by DOT from the appropriate officials and staff.
- Reviews third party contracts and purchase requisitions for compliance with this program.
- Coordinates participation by all departments to set overall annual and project goals.
- Ensures that bid notices and requests for proposals are available to DBEs in a timely manner.
- Identifies contracts and procurements so that DBE goals are included in solicitations both race-neutral methods and contract specific goals attainment.
- Analyzes Bexar County's progress toward attainment and identifies ways to improve progress.
- Participates in pre-bid meetings and bid-openings.
- Advises the CEO\governing body on DBE matters and achievement.
- Provides DBEs with information and assistance in preparing bids, obtaining bonding and insurance.
- Plans and participates in DBE training seminars.
- Monitors the certification process for DBEs according to the criteria set by USDOT and act as the liason to the Uniform Certification Process in Texas.
- Provides outreach to DBEs and community organizations to advise them of opportunities.
- Maintains Bexar County's updated directory on certified DBEs.