Harris County EEO’s Vendor Diversity Department serves as a connector linking Women, Minority, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises with Harris County contracting opportunities. Harris County encourages equal opportunity for all businesses and individuals in the Harris County marketplace. The Harris County Commissioners Court established the program in November 2020 and charged the Department of Economic Equity and Opportunity with administering the program in direct response to a disparity study conducted by Colette Holt & Associates. The study analyzed Harris County’s contracting practices and found that only 9% of the county’s contracting dollars went towards M/WBEs though these firms made up 28% of the available market. As a result, Harris County has an overall, Annual Aspirational Goal of 30% of total spending for MWDBE participation on County contracts
Harris County is committed to mitigating the inequities of the past and present for Women, Minority, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises.
M/WBE Program Resources
The Vendor Diversity Department’s M/WBE Program Objectives:
- Ensure non-discrimination in the award and administration of Harris County Contracts.
- Create a level playing field on which M/WBEs can compete fairly for Harris County Contracts.
- Ensure that the M/WBE Program is narrowly tailored in accordance with applicable law.
- Ensure that only firms that are Certified by public M/WBE certifying agencies are permitted to participate as M/WBEs.
- Help to remove barriers to the participation of M/WBEs in Harris County funded Contracts.
- Assist the development of firms that can compete successfully in the marketplace outside the M/WBE Program.
The Vendor Diversity Department’s responsibilities include:
- Monitor M/WBE participation and payments reported to listed M/WBE firms as well as payments confirmed by M/WBEs (Minority and Women Business Enterprise) and DBEs.
- Review and provide recommendations for all change/modification requests to the County contract’s M/WBE participation.
- Conduct site visits to ensure listed M/WBE vendors are performing a CUF (Commercially Useful Function) as required per the Harris County M/WBE policy.
- Evaluate the Contractor’s Good Faith Efforts by emphasizing quality quantity and intensity when soliciting opportunities to M/WDBEs and throughout the partnership with the said M/WDBE(s) for the duration of the County contract.
Certified Firms Registry
Harris County does not possess a certifying agency and instead recognizes designations from the City of Houston’s certification directory. For information on how to become a certified firm in one or more areas recognized by the County, please contact the City of Houston’s OBO (Office of Business Opportunity).
The DEEO also accepts certifications from the State of Texas and Federal agencies. These certifications can be obtained through those agencies as well as other local agencies that provide those certifications such as WBEA, HMSDC, etc.
Harris County only recognizes five (5) designations for M/WBE credit:
- MBE (City of Houston)
- WBE (City of Houston)
- DBE (Federal)
- HUB (State of Texas)
- 8(a) Certifications (SBA)