HMSDC expands program access with $500,000 grant from The Rockefeller Foundation

By Tonya McMurray 

A $500,000 grant from The Rockefeller Foundation will allow the Houston Minority Supplier Development Council to expand services to Black and Latinx small businesses that are not yet members of the Council, while also demonstrating the value of HMSDC membership. 

“The Rockefeller Foundation has built a reputation as a trailblazer that convenes unique partnerships and sparks innovation for transformative change,” said Dr. Sabeeta Bidasie-Singh, operations/projects director for HMSDC. “The grant will provide the Houston Minority Supplier Development Council with the support necessary to expand some of its member-only services to a cohort of nonmember Black, Indigenous and people of color small businesses and support local efforts to engage and build local Black and Latinx small business leadership networks.”

HMSDC will use the grant to recruit and enroll nonmember small businesses for its Pathways to Excellence, or P2E, and Total Business Development, or TBD, programs. To participate, a business must be a minority business enterprise with less than $2 million in annual receipts and operate in Houston or be majority-owned by Houston residents.

“Through this process, beneficiaries will also receive assistance in completing the necessary documents to be certified as a [minority business enterprise], which will allow them to pursue private and public sector contracts,” Bidasie-Singh said. “This will expand HMSDC’s network of small businesses and demonstrate the value to nonmember businesses of gaining membership.”

The P2E program is a business self-assessment and technical training program designed to help MBEs grow and develop. The program provides technical assistance and training to close identified gaps in standards and business practices used by major corporations and governmental entities in selecting suppliers. It also provides MBEs a strategic business development plan to improve their abilities to compete for bigger contracts.

“Upon completion of the P2E program, many businesses are prepared to gain certification as an MBE and begin pitching or responding to [requests for proposal] with potential partners,” Bidasie-Singh said. “However, some businesses will require additional support, so the Total Business Development program is designed to address business capability gaps, promote business growth and increase utilization of the professional services of certified MBEs.”

Expanding access

Through membership dues and support from the U.S. Small Business Administration, HMSDC currently offers the P2E program to 100 businesses each year. However, the current funding includes a requirement that businesses be HMSDC members.

The Rockefeller Foundation grant will allow the council to expand the programs beyond its membership, while offering the P2E program to an additional 20 businesses and the TBD program to an additional 40 businesses each year, Bidasie-Singh said. 

“This expansion will be supported by The Rockefeller Foundation for three years,” she said. “Through increased membership catalyzed by this expansion to nonmembers and rigorous monitoring and evaluation reports to demonstrate the utility of these programs to other funders, the HMSDC hopes to sustain the expansion of the program long term.”

The Council has several ongoing information sessions to help MBEs understand the program and its benefits. Houston area minority-owned businesses can learn more by emailing [email protected] or can apply to the P2E program at 

Supporting MBE development

HMSDC offers many other development opportunities for its MBE members, several of which are partially funded by HMSDC’s Annual Scholarship Fundraising Golf Tournament, scheduled for May 2 at the BlackHorse Golf Club in Cypress, Texas.

Bidasie-Singh said the Council expects more than 200 participants to attend this year’s event. It offers corporate members and prime contractors a way to support minority business development, while providing networking opportunities for corporations, prime contractors and MBEs in a relaxed environment. 

Since the event’s inception, HMSDC has awarded 812 scholarships — representing more than $1.8 million — to help minority businesses participate in development programs and opportunities. This year’s fundraising goal is $100,000.

Participation in the event is open to anyone, regardless of whether they are HMSDC members. To learn more, visit 

To learn more about the Houston Minority Supplier Development Council, visit

About The Rockefeller Foundation 

From its very first grant — to the American Red Cross more than a century ago — to today’s vast array of initiatives, The Rockefeller Foundation has built a reputation as a trailblazer that convenes unlikely partnerships and sparks innovations for transformative change. To learn more about The Rockefeller Foundation, please visit


Houston Minority Supplier Development Council HMSDC Houston The Rockefeller Foundation Black and Latinx small businesses Black small businesses Latinx small businesses Dr. Sabeeta Bidasie-Singh leadership networks Indigenous-owned small businesses grant Pathways to Excellence P2E Total Business Development TBD Houston residents minority business enterprise U.S. Small Business Administration American Red Cross

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