MERCEDES, Texas – The latest Business in Development (BID) Academy kicks off in Mercedes, Texas, on Feb. 7.

BID Academy is a government procurement workshop series for small businesses sponsored by the Economic Development Corporation of Mercedes and coordinated by Prairie View A&M University Cooperative Extension.

The academy will host a series of workshops at the offices of the Economic Development Corporation of Mercedes. Their address is 320 S. Ohio Avenue in Mercedes. The first one takes place between 12 noon and 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 7.

Mercedes Mayor Oscar Montoya said there will be seven curriculum-based workshops focusing on educating small business owners on the process and skills that are necessary to compete and win state government contracts via State of Texas HUB (Historically Underutilized Business) certification. 

“The City of Mercedes is excited to fully support this initiative. It is a great opportunity for local companies to do business with government agencies. It levels out the playing field and really teaches them effective skills and strategies,” Montoya said.

Rina Castillo (pictured above) is a community and economic development agent for Hidalgo County. Castillo said the BID Academy will also include a session on county procurement so small business owners can understand how to become a vendor in Hidalgo County. 

“Another great benefit of this academy is that all participants will have a mentor from the beginning of the academy until as long as they need it, thanks to RGV SCORE,” Castillo told the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service

Castillo pointed out that there are over 300 state agencies in Texas.

“And all of them, including universities, are required to make a good-faith effort to include HUB certified vendors in their procurement opportunities. That is why the BID Academy is so important for small businesses. It allows them to get the necessary knowledge on how to get HUB certified and how to use the HUB certificate,” Castillo said.

Castillo said the series of workshops will be presented by the Texas Department of Transportation, LiftFund, UTRGV-Small Business Development Center, U.S. Small Business Association, Hidalgo County’s procurement department, UTRGV HUB, and RGV SCORE. 

“Each session will welcome guest speakers and facilitators to discuss each topic. Sessions will take place every Tuesday and Thursday in February starting on February 7 from 12 noon to 1:30 PM. The program ends with a graduation dinner in March. The fee for this academy is sponsored by the EDC of Mercedes so it won’t create any barriers for business owners,” Castillo said.

Areas covered will include: 

·      Historically Underutilized Business Overview/Navigating the new Comptroller’s website. 

·      Business Planning/Marketing, Capability Statements

·      Keep Your Books: Basics Bookkeeping 

·      Pitch Writing

·      Access to Alternative Capital

·      Supplier Diversity, Subcontracting Plans & Proposals

·      Graduation/Pitch Contest/Mixer

Upon program completion, participants can become HUB Certified and will be included on Prairie View’s exclusive list of trained vendors as well as free business marketing through their various multimedia outlets and network of State purchasers.

“Are you ready to take your business to the next level?” Castillo asked. “Everyone is welcome to attend at no charge. But, pre-registration is required due to limited seating.”

Editor’s Note: Click here to register for the BID Academy. For more information, call Rina Castillo at 956-383-1026 or Megan Rodriguez at 956-689-2412.

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