Vendor diversity encouraged by HUB/SB Program in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM) is celebrated annually from September 15 - October 15. To commemorate this occasion, the Financial and Administrative Services (FAS) Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee spoke with Tiffany Gibson, Director of the Historically Underutilized Business & Small Business (HUB/SB) program. The UT Austin HUB/SB Program is part of the university’s Procurement and Payment Services department within the FAS portfolio. Its goal is to increase the number of UT Austin business contracts awarded to businesses owned by minorities and women and ensure those businesses have access to the tools they need to be sustainable and profitable partners.

Our conversation with Tiffany covered the importance of supplier diversity, an often invisible but easy way to engage in EDI efforts, with a focus on our partnerships with Hispanic-owned businesses. Here is what we learned.

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Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs), including Hispanic-owned businesses, have a direct and positive impact on the communities in which they operate. Contrary to popular belief, they serve a broader constituency than only Hispanic customers. At UT Austin specifically, Hispanic-owned businesses assist in:

  • Building opportunities for business expansion.
  • Promoting innovation by leveraging diverse products, services and solutions.
  • Leveling the playing field and driving competition.

Austin is one of the top five cities for Hispanic entrepreneurship in the US, beating out Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and El Paso. According to the Comptroller of Public Accounts Fiscal Year 2019 Annual HUB Reports (Agency 721), in 2018-19, UT Austin spending with Hispanic firms represented 6.99% of UT Grand Total Expenditures, surpassing expenditures with Woman Owned firms, which was 6.57% that year.

Out of over 15,000 participants in UT’s HUB program in FY 2020-21, $38,116,534.51 was spent with the top 10 Hispanic firms. Top 10 Hispanic suppliers represented medical, lab research, safety, IT and construction industries.

What Can You Do to Diversify Partnerships?

It takes collaborative effort to enhance opportunities for all businesses. Consider helping UT Austin expand its Hispanic-owned business outreach this month and all year. Take a look at these four steps you can take today:

  1. Refer professional services to UT Austin.
    Tell others how to apply to become a certified HUB participant and encourage vendors to contact the HUB/SB office to obtain information about certification and/or previous solicitations to prepare for future opportunities.
  2. Participate in the Supplier Diversity Institute.
    As a nod to Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM), HUB will partner with the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement Supplier Diversity Institute at their initial quarterly forum.
  3. Commit to Creating Pathways for EDI in Daily Tasks.
    Contact vendors that fall under the HUB category when planning future purchases. Starting early allows consideration of a wider range of options including HUBs.
  4. Get to Know Vendors.
    Attend HUB/SB-hosted vendor fairs or request a departmental visit by the HUB office to review expenditure data and receive assistance in identifying where HUB vendors can be utilized.

To learn more about HHM, check out FAS past content: