The Tyler Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce partnered with Kiss 107.3 radio station for the Small Biz Expo @ The Metro event on Tuesday at the Rose Garden Center.
The event was a way to spotlight qualified small businesses ready to do business with the state as a certified Historically Underutilized Businesses, also known as HUBs, while owners learned how to get designated contracts from $5,000 to $100,000.
The day-long event included a government procurement seminar, HUB small business awards luncheon and a vendor networking fair.
Kenya Rashard, owner of award-winning On Track Trucking School of Arlington, served as keynote speaker during the luncheon.
“The purpose of the event is for diverse minority-owned small businesses to learn about becoming a HUB and to network directly with purchasing directors from over ten government agencies. Texas agencies purchase everything from catering to polo shirts and construction services,” said Tyler Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Clover Bolden.
Bolden said she had seen the benefits of HUB certification first hand.
“I saw the success HUB certification could have on a struggling small business 20 years ago when I interned at Golden Triangle Minority Business Council. It was a revenue injection that took businesses from the kitchen table to a warehouse,” said Bolden. “When our board member Wendy Minix joined us after retiring from UT as HUB coordinator, it was a natural development to put her HUB expertise to good use for our members. The HUB program even has a mentor program to help small businesses.”
Bolden said the event not only helps small businesses but also the Tyler community.
“The Metro has helped a dozen businesses get HUB certified. We want to draw small businesses together to learn they are truly wanted for contracts. These are tax dollars funding contracts. They must be bid on and spent with transparency,” she said. “Our businesses are diverse and qualified to fulfill contracts, attract revenue into our community and do our duty to meet Texas’ needs. From construction, catering, personal hygiene, technology, leasing, the needs are vast and Tyler has the talent.”
Small business owner Tony Robinson, who owns R&R Farm and Produce, said the event was good to help small businesses in the area gain exposure.
“I decided to come out to promote my little family farm. We have been in business for about three years,” said Robinson. “Events like this are important to show people the local business of the area.”
Participating agencies and businesses included city of Tyler, Texas Comptroller’s Office, Texas Department of Information Resources, Texas Department of Criminal Justice Huntsville, UT Tyler, UT System HUB office, Project Control, Department of Family and Protective Services, Teacher Retirement System of Texas, ETX Entrepreneurship Center, Health and Human Services, Smith County Purchasing, Texas State Technical College, AshRoq Financial and KISS 107.3.