Local minority business program is best in nation for second year in a row

award presentation

Joe Urby Jr., president and CEO (left), and Bill Hernandez, COO, of Dependable Health Services

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(July 1, 2011)--For the second year in a row, the MBDA Business Center, a component of the UTSA Institute for Economic Development, has received the National Outstanding Performance Award.

The U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) made the announcement June 24 at the MBDA national training conference in Washington, D.C.

"We are thrilled to be the best in class, for the second year in a row," said Orestes Hubbard, director of the MBDA Business Center in San Antonio. "The credit goes to our hard-working staff and to the talent here at the UTSA Institute for Economic Development."

In 2010, clients of the San Antonio office of the MBDA Business Center (formerly known as the Minority Business Enterprise Center) secured more than $25 million in contracts and procurements and accessed more than $36 million in capital. The center served 117 new clients and helped create 238 jobs.

The majority of the MBDC Business Center clients are minority-owned businesses that are experiencing growth, especially through local federal contracting and sub-contracting opportunities, Hubbard said.

"Achievements like this help position UTSA as a Tier One university," said Robert McKinley, UTSA associate vice president for economic development. "Our goal is top-tier performance, versus our peers on a national level. This is a wonderful example of how we help UTSA create economic opportunity for our community."

One company that has become an advocate for San Antonio's MBDA Business Center is Dependable Health Services.

President/CEO Joe Urby credits the UTSA center with transforming his company from a six-figure revenue business to a multi-million dollar one. Urby said that from 1996 to 2007, Dependable Health Services had 20 employees providing medical staffing for local and state agencies. Revenue was about $400,000.

In 2008, the company began working with what was then called the Minority Business Enterprise Center on an application for the SBA 8(a) certification. The certification enabled the company to compete for various federal contracts. The process took about nine months.

Today, Dependable Health Services provides a variety of medical support staff to Department of Defense facilities around the country, including the Wounded Warrior Transition Brigade at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. With nearly 100 employees and revenues between $4 and $5 million, the company has a bright future.

"That kind of growth would never have happened without going through the 8(a) certification program," Urby said.

The MBDA Business Center is one of 13 programs and centers comprising the UTSA Institute for Economic Development.

"Being a part of an economic development institute that promotes collaboration has contributed to our ongoing success," Hubbard said. "We've been able to leverage opportunities with Startech and the Small Business Development Center programs located here as well."

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The University of Texas at San Antonio Institute for Economic Development is dedicated to creating jobs, growing businesses and fostering economic development. Its 12 centers and programs provide professional business advising, technical training, research, and strategic planning for entrepreneurs, business owners and community leaders.

Programs serve San Antonio and the Texas-Mexico border area as well as regional, national and international stakeholders. Together with federal, state and local governments, and private businesses, the UTSA Institute for Economic Development fosters economic and community development in support of UTSA's community engagement mission.