Small Business / DBE Programs

METRO’s Small Business/Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (SB/DBE) programs operate in a race and gender-neutral manner and are open to participation without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national or ethnic origin, age or disability. Here’s what you can do on this page:

  • Apply for SBE (Small Business Enterprise) certification
  • Get information on training, including Small Business University (SBU)
  • Understand compliance monitoring – goals, reporting, invoicing
  • Connect to networking opportunities

If you have any questions, contact us at 713-739-4844 or 713-739-6032.

Gap List

With the goal of maximizing opportunities with the small business community, METRO is seeking to build capacity for the following types of work:

    • Rail construction
      • Overhead Catenary Systems (OCS)
      • Traction Power Substations (TPS)
      • Concrete pouring for platform construction
      • Laying track
      • Rail ties
    • Bridge construction
    • Boring and tunneling
    • Major IT equipment (authorized supplier)
    • IT (SAP certification and modules)
    • Private utilities
    • Street sweeping (with water and vacuum option)
    • Sound walls
    • Specialized trucks (waste removal, fuel tank cleaning, etc.)
    • Fuel transportation
    • Underground fuel storage tanks
    • Personal property claims (non-real estate property)
    • Bus wrapping
    • Solar energy provider/installer

    Certification


    Overview

    See key statistics, learn more about the benefits of certification and access our certified vendor database.

    Requirements

    Learn about requirements for certification and recertification, including document requirements, and access our online application guide.

    DBE and Inclusivity

    Learn about small, disadvantaged, women and minority business programs, and apply for DBE certification.

    Apply for Certification

    METRO’s Small Business Certification application process is online only. METRO doesn't accept hard copies of supporting documents via email or fax. Supporting documents may be submitted with your online application for certification or recertification.

    Small Business Education and Training

    METRO offers online training videos, classes and a mentorship program to support our small business partners. And you can request an appointment to get additional assistance with registration, certification and more.


    Video Training

    Watch free training videos to meet some of our staff members and get an overview of goals, requirements, certification, compliance, events and more.

    SBU

    Small Business University offers training on a variety of topics to companies that want to do business with METRO, with a focus on small businesses.

    IMPP

    The Interagency Mentor Protégé Program strengthens relationships between established companies and local agencies with emerging historically underutilized businesses.

    Help Center

    Contact our Help Center to get assistance with registration, certification, training, assessments, business development, navigating our website and more.

    Small Business Events

    Set yourself up for success by attending METRO’s Small Business events, offered year-round and covering a variety of topics, including certification, bidding and proposals, tips from strategic partners, OSHA training, safety, bonding and insurance, and more.


    Feb.
    8

    Pricing Your Proposal/Product

    In this workshop you'll hear from an expert who has been in the banking industry for over 30 years. There will be a hands-on exercise using the Bid Price Triangulation module to aid you with your bid/proposal calculations. Learn how to establish three Known Data Points, use the Mathematic Regression Process and triangulate a competitive bid/proposal price.

    You must be registered in order to attend. 

    Feb.
    21

    METRONext Business Now Update Event

    METRO will host this event discussing METRONext. You'll hear from METRO's President and CEO - Thomas Lambert and METRO's Executive Vice President of Planning, Engineering & Construction - Shrikanth (Shri) J. Reddy.

    Feb.
    21

    Meet METRONext Primes (In-Person)

    Come and meet some of the Prime Contractors who are doing work for METRO. They will each be stationed at a booth. Bring your business cards, have your capability statement and your elevator speech ready!

    You must be registered in order to attend.

    March
    8

    METRO's Meet the Buyers - Day 1

    You'll have an opportunity to virtually meet METRO’s buyers and Contract Administrators (CA’s) who procure METRO’s goods and services. This forum allows the business community, primes and subcontractors, an opportunity to meet our Procurement Team. Day One will focus on Professional Services, A&E’s, IT firms and General Services firms.

    You must be registered in order to attend.

    March
    9

    METRO's Meet the Buyers - Day 2

    You'll have an opportunity to virtually meet METRO’s buyers and Contract Administrators (CA’s) who procure METRO’s goods and services. This forum allows the business community, primes & subcontractors an opportunity to meet our Procurement Team. Day Two will focus on Construction, Supplies & Equipment and Materials Firms.

    You must be registered in order to attend. 

    March
    22

    Learn How to Do Business with METRO's HR Department

    Come hear from METRO’s Human Resources team and learn about the goods and services they need and use, in the areas of Staffing, Benefits, Insurance, Wellness, Training, Organizational Development, Equal Employment Opportunity and Employee Relations.

    You must be registered in order to attend. 

    March
    30

    METRO's Online SBE Certification Workshop

    In this workshop you'll learn about METRO’s Small Business Enterprise (SBE) online certification process and requirements.

    You must be registered in order to attend. 

    April
    12

    Understanding METRO's IT Process

    METRO’s IT managers will speak with you regarding departmental structure, operations, processes, departmental needs and anticipated IT opportunities.

    You must be registered in order to attend. 

    April
    26

    Discover the Added Value of METRO's "Certification" Partners

    Join us and virtually meet our partners (Port Houston, Houston Community College, Houston First and Fort Bend ISD) that accept METRO's Small Business Enterprise (SBE) certification and serve as additional business development resources to small business owners. You will also hear about their small business programs and contracting opportunities.

    You must be registered in order to attend. 

    May
    10

    Davis Bacon Workshop: Presented by the Department of Labor

    This workshop will provide basic information regarding the wages paid to workers on construction projects, in accordance with the Davis Bacon Act. This workshop is conducted by a representative from the Department of Labor. Come and enhance your Davis Bacon knowledge on Prevailing Wages and Fringe Benefits.

    You must be registered in order to attend. 

    May
    24

    Learn How METRO Procures Its Small Purchases (Under $50,000 and Under P.O.s)

    You'll learn about METRO’s small purchase procedures: How a firm is notified when contracting opportunities are available. Quote requirements for purchase orders (P.O.s) and if insurance is required on small purchases.

    You must be registered in order to attend. 

    June
    14

    Creating a METRO Safety Plan

    You'll hear "safety tips" from METRO's safety experts. You'll learn METRO's safety expectations and provide a "Sample METRO Safety Plan".

    You must be registered in order to attend. 

    June
    28

    METRO's Online SBE Certification Workshop

    In this workshop you'll learn about METRO’s Small Business Enterprise (SBE) online certification process and requirements.

    You must be registered in order to attend. 

    July
    12

    How to Do Business with METRO (with an emphasis on Procurement)

    This workshop is designed to inform certified and non-certified businesses on how to do business with METRO. The process for METRO SBE Certification and vendor registrations will also be covered. METRO's procurement staff will discuss how METRO procures its goods and services and the process used to award contracts. They'll also briefly talk about the different cooperatives (co-ops) METRO uses.

    You must be registered in order to attend. 

    July
    26

    METRO's Online SBE Certification Workshop

    In this workshop you'll learn about METRO’s Small Business Enterprise (SBE) online certification process and requirements.

    You must be registered in order to attend. 

    Aug.
    16

    Bonding & Insurance Workshop

    Bonding & Insurance experts will share the importance of bonding and the various type of bonds: Bid Bonds, Performance Bonds and Payment Bonds. You'll also hear from METRO's Risk Management office regarding METRO's insurance requirements for its contracts.

    You must be registered in order to attend. 

    Sept.
    6

    Hear From METRO's Strategic Partners (SCORE, PTAC, SBA, GHBPF)

    SCORE, PTAC, SBA and Milton Thibodeaux of Greater Houston Business Procurement Forum will be present to give you expert advice on bidding tips, briefly talk about their programs and encourage you to utilize free small business assistance.

    You must be registered in order to attend. 

    Sept.
    20

    METRO's Online SBE Certification Workshop

    In this workshop you'll learn about METRO’s Small Business Enterprise (SBE) online certification process and requirements.

    You must be registered in order to attend. 

    Participation of Disadvantaged Business Enterprises

    As required by Section 49 Code of Federal Regulations Part 26, the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County has determined a proposed overall goal of 16% for the participation of Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) in its FY23-FY25 contracts which are funded by U.S. Department of Transportation.

    Learn More

    Community Partners

    These community partners provide a variety of resources that can help your business establish a productive working relationship with METRO. When visiting these websites, you’ll be leaving the METRO website. Our provision of these links does not imply approval, warrant the accuracy of any information or endorse any opinions expressed on any outside website.


    Common Questions

    Certification

    The primary criteria for METRO’s SBE certification are company size and net worth of the owner(s). The size limits are determined by the SBA standards and the maximum net worth of the owner(s) is $1.32M.

    METRO accepts only the following certifications:

    • Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Certification – METRO ONLY
    • Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Certification – Any DBE certifying agency
    • 8 (a) Certification – Small Business Administration

    Learn more about the Texas Unified Certification Program (TUCP) and see the list of DBE certifying agencies in Texas.

    METRO Small Business Enterprise Certification is free of charge.

    Compliance

    During the solicitation process the following requirements are in place for primes responding to solicitations with small business goals:

    • All primes must submit their small business utilization plan
    • A Letter of Intent must be submitted for each certified and non-certified subcontractor and supplier
    • The prime must meet the minimum Small Business Participation goal in their response
    • Certified primes must subcontract a portion of their contract to other certified subcontractors and/or suppliers

    After the award of a contract, the prime must:

    • Adhere to all compliance requirements of the Small Business/Disadvantaged Enterprise Programs
    • Get pre-approval from the Office of Economic Business Opportunity (OEBO) prior to removing or adding certified and non-certified subcontractors to the team
    • Replace the removal of a certified firm with another certified firm (determined on a case-by-case basis) • Involve OEBO in the dispute resolution process on SB-related matters
    • Adhere to the Prompt Payment Policy on contracts with small business goals: prime must make payments to subcontractors within five business days of receipt of funds from METRO
    • Receive payment from METRO within 15 days of issuance of a properly prepared invoice
    • Meet their Small Business Goal Commitment or risk a negative OEBO evaluation on a new solicitation

    Contract Compliance staff monitor all Small Business/Disadvantaged Business Enterprise activity on all METRO contracts with Small Business goals and ensures compliance with all local and federal regulations.

    If you need assistance in regards to Small Business Contract Compliance, please contact Otis Johnson, Director of Small Business Compliance, at 713-615-6112 or via email at otis.johnson@ridemetro.org.

    Log in to the SB/DBE Contract Compliance System.

    Solicitations

    Detailed instructions for responding to a solicitation are included in the solicitation document(s). To facilitate the process, METRO recommends the following:

    1. Register as a Vendor for automatic email notifications of new solicitations and updates that are aligned with your company’s services.
    2. Check the METRO website for upcoming procurement opportunities.
    3. Attend METRO's pre-bid / pre-proposal conferences.

    For additional procurement information, call 713-739-4881.

    METRO’s SBE Business Assessment collects critical information to help craft the best recommendation on how your firm can effectively compete in the procurement process. This assessment is done via one-on-one sessions and the utilization of METRO's Online SBE Business Assessment Tool.

    Yes. Through our business networking forums, you can get tips on doing business with METRO and connecting with decision-makers.

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