DECEMBER 12, 2023 — Leaders from 24 local small businesses graduated from the inaugural UTSA Procurement Academy this month at a ceremony at the UTSA Downtown Campus. The unique program, offered by the UTSA Institute for Economic Development, gave the entrepreneurs knowledge, tools and support to successfully compete for state government contracts.
Through the academy, the UTSA SBDC Center for Government Contracting provided training in the public contracting process including the bidding process, documentation requirements, strategy plans, contract management and regulation compliance. The focus of the academy was state contracting, but the program also helped participants identify local and federal contracting opportunities.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and the San Antonio region is home to so many, brilliant, hard-working and entrepreneurial people,” said U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro. “Over the decades, opportunity in our city hasn’t always been even-handed, especially for minority- and women-owned businesses. I was proud to get nearly $600,00 in federal funding to help address this gap and get the UTSA Procurement Academy off the ground. As we celebrate the academy’s first cohort, I cannot wait to see all of the graduates use their new skills, connections and paths to successfully secure procurement contracts with federal, state and local stakeholders while creating jobs and building prosperity for our local economy.”
Twenty four local small businesses graduated from the inaugural UTSA Procurement Academy.
Brian McKinney, CEO and co-owner of Learn More Technologies LLC completed the Procurement Academy program. He commended the professional coaching team.
"The UTSA training introduced strategies for targeting specific government agencies that buy what you sell," said McKinney. "The program offered processes and procedures to help find government contracting segments that would be the best segment for you."
Carol Loveless, president and owner of Renovate Paint and Design, also participated in the academy. She says that she would recommend the academy for other small businesses that aspire to grow within the government contracting marketplace.
“With the federal government—the world’s largest purchaser of goods and services—plus state and local procurement contracting opportunities, there is so much opportunity,” said Loveless. “But the process for successfully acquiring these contracts is complicated. The Procurement Academy provides the insights, tools, techniques and support offered by experts to point businesses in the right direction.”
The inaugural cohort of participants represented two dozen businesses, including:
The UTSA Procurement Academy will welcome its next cohort on January 8, 2024, while its third cohort will begin on April 15, 2024. Forty companies are expected to participate in each cohort.
The UTSA Institute of Economic Development is a regional economic development hub offering programs and services to support small businesses. The hub collaborates with local and regional partners throughout South and West Texas, including Supply SA, a local organization that is advancing a modernized, coordinated, accessible and more effective procurement system for the San Antonio region.
Supply SA is supported by San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, Bexar County Judge Peter Sakai, LiftFund President and CEO Laurie Vignaud and Henry Cisneros, moderator of Supply SA. The Supply SA initiative brings together 14 public procurement agencies across Bexar County that purchase almost $9 billion of goods and services annually. Its goal is to keep more of those dollars circulating in the San Antonio economy and contract with small and minority owned firms.
“The UTSA Procurement Academy has been an amazing experience in helping Core Innovations learn how to navigate the government procurement marketplace,” said Jessie Figueroa, founder and CEO of Core Innovations and a Procurement Academy participant. “This training is truly a guiding light, providing clarity and direction on what to do and where to go next.”
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