San Antonio Housing Authority – Committed to working with local businesses

SAHA_LOGO_CMYK_HorizontalThe San Antonio Housing Authority’s (SAHA) Board of Commissioners has made working with small and minority-owned businesses a priority. One related initiative is the Business Opportunity Academy (BOA) for Small, Minority, Women, Veteran, Disabled Individual Business Enterprise, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and/or Historically Underutilized Business that are seeking help to grow their businesses.

Led by SAHA, the BOA provides 12 hours of instruction, presented through workshops, hands-on seminars and networking functions over a course of four weeks.

In 2013, SAHA awarded 77% of its contract awards to minority-owned or women-owned firms. With a number of local construction projects underway, SAHA continues to be committed to investing in the capacity of local businesses and engaging small, minority and women-owned businesses. SAHA is also committed to the Section 3 Program, a federal requirement and a priority for the Agency, which aims to ensure that job opportunities are generated by HUD-funded expenditures.

“I appreciate SAHA’s commitment to working with our small-, minority- and women-owned businesses,” says District Two City Councilwoman Ivy R. Taylor. “Their help in growing these businesses allows for more opportunities to be secured through contracts and subcontracts with prime firms that have viable, robust plans to hire Section 3 individuals.”

Local agencies involved in the Academy included VIA Metropolitan Transit, Alamo Colleges, UT Health Science Center, San Antonio Water System, Edwards Aquifer Authority, CPS Energy, Port San Antonio, San Antonio River Authority, University Health System, Bexar County, City of San Antonio and ACCION Women’s Business Center.

“SAHA is committed to investing our time and resources to help build the capacity of local businesses,” says Lourdes Castro Ramírez, SAHA president and CEO. “Through the BOA and our SAHA partners, we are working to maximize the achievements of small businesses.”

When Bryan Karp, co-owner of H. Karp Co., a 37-year-old small construction company, first heard about the BOA, he had some reservations. Brian Karp“I figured it was for startups and not for established businesses like mine,” said Karp. He was among the first 20 BOA participants who received 10 hours of instruction over a course of four weeks, including one-on-one assistance from lenders, accountants and surety underwriters, to help them on the path to secure bonding and greater financial viability.

“I was very impressed with the curriculum and I’ve learned the importance of networking and of diversifying the services we offer,” says Karp. “This course is vital for small businesses – old and new. Everybody needs to take it.”

For more information on the next Business Opportunity Academy, contact SAHA’s Business Opportunity Manager Tomas Larralde at 210-477-6550 or

SAWS M/WBE Program disparity study

180x150-SAWSSan Antonio Water System is currently embarking on a Minority and Woman-owned Business Disparity Study to help determine its utilization of Minority and Woman-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs). This study is part of the ongoing effort by the Board of Trustees and SAWS staff to ensure proper minority representation in contracts of all types that are awarded by SAWS. The Disparity Study will help to determine the availability of M/WBE businesses in the San Antonio area that are ready, willing, and able to contract with SAWS, and determine whether there are any gaps between M/WBE availability and the percentages of these firms utilized by SAWS.

To conduct this study effort, SAWS selected MGT of America. This firm will conduct telephone interviews with engineering firms, construction companies, and trade organizations in the San Antonio area. Here’s where we need your assistance: Starting the week of November 18, 2013, MGT of America will begin these telephone interviews. The interview will consist of 11 short questions that are critical to the success of this study, and will help gauge whether M/WBEs may be experiencing any barriers in doing business with SAWS. When a representative from MGT of America calls, we ask that you help us by participating in this short survey. Your honest feedback is critical, and the survey is completely confidential.

If you should have any questions regarding the survey or SAWS M/WBE Program Disparity Study, please contact Marisol Robles, SMWB Program Manager, at 210.233.3420 or