Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) are fast-growing, innovative, and represented in every industry sector in the United States. Houston, Texas is the most diverse city in the nation and is also a fast-growing hub for minority businesses and entrepreneurship, according to Census data.1
According to the Bureau of Business Research, minority-owned firms in Texas tend to form at higher rates than other forms but grow more slowly. Minority entrepreneurs also tend to keep their firms operating for longer than other entrepreneurs, which is a key predictor of success.2 In fact, Texas also remains one of the fastest growing states in the country, and according to an analysis by the Texas Demographic Center, 86.4% of the population growth in Texas in the past decade is among minority groups.3
“Being a business owner comes with its inherent challenges without considering being a minority,” says Quentin Howard, CEO of EA Plumbing & Property Services. “Once you add minority owned business, the challenges multiply exponentially. We strive to be present, transparent, and hold a high standard of safety and integrity to combat common stigmas and stereotypes associated with minorities.”
Howard, whose company provides maintenance and plumbing services, says there are many disadvantages that are inherent to owning a minority-owned business, but chooses a positive perspective. “Those disadvantages have made us resilient, and an unstoppable force as we continue to pursue opportunities,” he says. “Limited resources can pose a challenge as we strive to continue to scale up and grow our business; however, our team is committed, resourceful, and constantly strategically planning to overcome these common challenges.”
The construction industry is growing at a rapid pace, with new opportunities opening both in the public and private sectors, however, there’s a shortage of workers. This creates opportunities for women and minority-owned businesses who want to enter and achieve success in the construction industry.
“Our Founder/Chairman, William Sanchez, has seen different types of challenges for a minority small business throughout the years,” says Cristina Solis, Director of Marketing and Business Development for Oxford Builders, Inc. “Being resilient is what helped him stay in business all these years. Since starting with Oxford back in 2019, I have seen in our company alone an influx of many different types of minorities with diverse backgrounds join the construction industry in the past year. Last year, we had the first forewoman in our company and that was an immense minority milestone for us.”
Solis says that when she was growing up, construction was not a career considered for women.
“Now that I am in the industry and part of an ESOP company mainly employee-owned by minorities, I understand that the inclusion of all types of minorities is essential for everyone to see themselves as part of this industry,” continues Solis. “Being able to see how my daughters are understanding that being considered a minority is not a reason not to do what drives you or to be part of a certain industry, brings me hope for their future.”
Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Houston has a Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Committee that is responsible for evaluating, recommending, and implementing D&I programs and trainings, working with related committees to make D&I an integral part of ABC, informing membership of D&I development, and conducting campaigns to increase member awareness of the need to operate in a diverse and inclusive manner.
“Becoming an Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) Greater Houston member and actively participating on several of its committees has allowed me to do all of the above by forcing me to expand my comfort zone to work with and form friendships with business owners and professionals who may not look like me, but have the same interests,” says Darryl Samuels, Managing Partner for D. Samuels and Associates, and Co-Chair of ABC Greater Houston’s D&I Committee. “Hopefully, my involvement with ABC has allowed my fellow members to expand their comfort zones as well. “
To learn more about ABC’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, as well as additional resources for minority-owned businesses, visit www.abchouston.org.
- Kellison, Bruce. The IC2 Institute at the University of Texas at Austin. Nov. 17, 2020. https://ic2.utexas.edu/2020/11/17/bbr-research-on-minority-owned-firms-small-cities-in-texas/