MERCEDES, Texas – Minority-owned small businesses are encouraged to join a program currently underway to learn the skills necessary to compete and win state government contracts with the State of Texas HUB (Historically Underutilized Business) certification. 

The program is titled the Business in Development (BID) Academy and it is being coordinated by Prairie View A&M University Cooperative Extension, in conjunction with the Economic Development Corporation of Mercedes.

Megan Rodriguez, a community and economic development agent for Prairie View A&M University Cooperative Extension, said the academy is seeking to “level the playing field” so that more minority-owned small businesses can win government contracts.

“In 2009, there was a disparity study that was conducted. And they really gathered the data that some of the playing field for the government contracting was not level. And so we really make emphasis on that, just because we… the intention of the program is to be able to level out the playing field,” Rodriguez said.

“And so they (minority-owned businesses) get essentially the same opportunities that a different ethnicity group gets more often. And so that is basically where the State Comptroller’s office was able to design the HUB certification so that they provide these opportunities for those minorities that qualify for the certificate.”

The BID Academy is a seven session curriculum-based program that focuses on educating small business owners on the process and skills that are necessary to compete and win government contracts. The Academy also covers county procurement so small business owners can understand how to become a vendor in Hidalgo County. Another benefit is that all participants have a mentor provided by RGV SCORE for the duration of the program.

Areas covered 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

Here are video interviews with Michael Limas, a Brownsville entrepreneur who is participating in the BID Academy, and Rodriguez:


For questions or further information, call one of two a community and economic development agents for A&M Prairie View University Cooperative Extension. Rina Castillo serves Hidalgo County and can be reached at 956-383-1026. Megan Rodriguez serves Willacy County and can be reached at 956-689-2412.

About Prairie View A& M University 

Founded in 1876, Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) is the second oldest public institution of higher learning in the state of Texas located about 40 miles northwest of Houston. A Historically Black College and University (HBCU), with an established reputation for producing agriculturalists, engineers, nurses, and educators, PVAMU offers degrees across 36 bachelors, 30 master’s and 5 doctoral degree programs through eight colleges and schools. A member of The Texas A&M University System, the University is dedicated to fulfilling its land-grant mission of achieving excellence in teaching, research, and extension.

About the Cooperative Extension Program

Cooperative Extension Program delivers practical research-based knowledge to small farm producers, families, aspiring entrepreneurs, and youth in 41 Texas counties. We work with people who need us the most. Many of them have limited personal or family assets, limited opportunities or they come from communities that have limited resources. We offer programs that work for people in the areas of 4-H & Youth Development (4H), Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR), Community and Economic Development (CED) and Family and Community Health (FCH).