Former Houston City Council Intern Karen Ben-Moyal: Research Publication Data, Findings, and Recommendations to Fix Houston’s MBE/WBE Program

The following Excerpt was pulled from former Houston City Council Intern: Karen Ben-Moyal’s Executive Summary incorporated into her Official Research Publication over her data findings and recommendations to fix the City of Houston’s MBE/WBE Program, which was originally created to exclusively grow and promote Houston’s small businesses that are owned and run by minorities and women only. Both the data and the proposal were presented by her former Employer, Houston City Councilman Mike Knox, to the Mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner, in January of 2017.

“According to the research recently conducted through use of Houston’s Office of Business Opportunities website within the last several months, studies showed that after calling 500 of the 1,929 M/WBE businesses listed on Houston’s OBO website, 1 in every 5 vendors was out of business. Additionally, other statistics acquired on Houston’s MBE/WBE program proved that 1 in every 3 listed OBO vendors were in business, but had not renewed their certification licenses in years. This report presents the findings collected from a number of issues derived from the city of Houston’s OBO program. It then discusses the recommendations for potential improvement and various plans towards success, for both contractors and subcontractors of Houston’s small businesses. These recommendations were based off the City of Chicago’s WBE/MBE Procurement program and website, as well as Chicago’s ordinances which were recently implemented. These recent implementations to Chicago’s OBO program proved to provide ground-breaking tools that not yet been surpassed in revenue and level of overall successes. These include helpful workshops and symposiums, which assist vendors in running their minority and/or women-owned businesses, regular auditing systems, financial reimbursement programs, and graduation programs; which allow subcontractors to quickly graduate and become prime vendors with ease. In sum, this report represents months of research, discussion, analysis, and outreach in further identifying opportunities to improve efficiency, increase accountability, and economize public funds in government procurement. The Office of Business Opportunities’ stated goal is about implementing innovative paths for growth, creating new ways to promote equal and fair opportunity in small businesses, and efficient ordinances introduced and maintained by the city. In order to stimulate efficiency in communication/collaboration, and to expand small-business vendors and jobs, a channel of local government must be willing to provide resources to businesses that currently lack the appropriate amount of courteous guidance, competitiveness, and financial assistance required to succeed in their local communities’ businesses. However, based on the findings from Houston, an apparent lack of coordination among qualified vendors directly impacts the vendor community. Complication and confusion created by varying processes and forms can create barriers to entry and frustration among businesses. This potentially results in a less competitive vendor pool. It also fuels the perception that Houston is a challenging city with which to do business. Contrastingly, one city that seems to have a successful procurement program is the City of Chicago’s M/WBE program. The City of Chicago’s plan highlights recurring opportunities for active vendors to reduce burden and cost through collaboration, joint purchasing, and shared services, as well as enact meaningful reforms. The City of Chicago’s efforts are intended to further current efforts to ensure that their policies and practices support competition, efficiency, transparency, integrity, and uniformity in procurement.”

In order to view the PDF files of both the physical data collected, as well as the official report on the findings of my research and the recommendations I came up with in response to these findings, please view the 2 followings links listed below:

  1. To view PDF file of the data pie chart used to project OBO Statistics collected, click here to openLink for Data Spread Sheet: Collection of OBO Statistics Prior to Writing Research on Findings and Recommendations
  2.    To view the PDF file of my executive summary, findings, and recommendations report, please click this: Link for Final Research Report Houston’s Office of Business Opportunities Program: Executive Summary, Findings, and Recommendations
Copyright: Karen Ben-Moyal, 2017
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