Build Up Houston

Press Release

City of Houston and University of Houston-Downtown Launch, "Build Up Houston"
City of Houston's Office of Business Opportunity, University of Houston-Downtown and Interise Partner to Increase the Capacity of the Small Businesses Powering Houston's Construction Boom

November 5, 2014 -- Owners of small businesses in Houston’s construction service industry will soon have access to an award-winning program designed to build their operational capacity, increase revenues, and create sustainable jobs in the region, local and national leaders announced today.

The City of Houston’s Office of Business Opportunity, University of Houston-Downtown (UHD), and Boston based nonprofit, Interise jointly announced the launch of “Build Up Houston” the city’s new executive education program that supports construction companies currently operating and doing business in the City of Houston.

Since 2012, the Office of Business Opportunity has provided educational opportunities for construction firms in Houston in order to help them overcome construction industry challenges and share best practices. With its initial program yielding strong results, the Office of Business Opportunity seeks to enhance its initiative with the addition of Build Up Houston, launching November 18, 2014.

Build Up Houston is a comprehensive seven month program that will cover financial management, marketing and sales, human resources tactics, business strategy development, and access to capital and new contracts.   Utilizing an interactive curriculum format, participants will get the tools, know-how, and confidence to take the next step in their own growth trajectories. The program will utilize an award-winning curriculum developed and refined by Interise, an innovative nonprofit. Over the past 10 years, Interise has established itself as a results-driven national leader in helping established small business owners get to the next level of success and growth.

"The City of Houston is pleased to partner with the University of Houston Downtown and Interise to bring this capacity building program to our great city,” said Mayor Annise D. Parker. “With over 8,000 small construction companies in the Houston-Galveston region these companies are not only helping to keep our economy strong they are also employing over 166,000 Houstonians.”

“Interise is very fortunate to expand our impact to Houston especially during this time of remarkable growth,” said Jean Horstman, CEO of Interise. “As partners we are aligned in our beliefs that local small business growth and practical business education is the key to job growth and economic resilience.”

“The Office of Business Opportunity is always looking for new ways to develop and assist small businesses in the greater Houston area,” said Director Carlecia Wright of the Office of Business Opportunity. “Interise has a proven track record of success in other cities in terms of growing the capacity of small businesses and we are looking forward to bringing this opportunity to Houston with the partnership of University of Houston Downtown.”

“UHD is proud to be a partner with the City of Houston and Interise to develop organizational capacity for Houston’s booming construction service industry,” said Bill Flores, Ph.D., president of the University of Houston-Downtown. “Together, we will provide participants with tools and training to help them grow their businesses as they do business with the City of Houston.”

Interise’s StreetWise ‘MBA’™ curriculum is already offered in 36 communities across the nation, including in Dallas through both the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Executive Education Program and Small Business Administration’s Emerging Leaders program. The City of Houston will now join a network of providers that also includes the City of New York Small Business Services, City of Portland Procurement Services, and the Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council.

Recent graduate of the program in Dallas, Dustin Gadberry, CEO of Gadberry General Contracting and Construction attended today's press conference to discuss the impact that Interise's Street Wise MBA has had on his business. "Because of Interise my business was able to expand from the Dallas area to opening an office here in Houston. We are one of the fastest growing businesses in Texas and Interise helped us do that." said, Dustin Gadberry.

Of the over 8,000 small construction companies in the greater Houston area, nearly  97 percent of those businesses have fewer than 100 employees, but opportunities to  build capacity open the door for greater opportunities to employment. More than 24 percent of Houston’s 2013 job hires were made by small businesses. By supporting small businesses, the City of Houston, the University of Houston-Downtown and Interise aim to strengthen neighborhoods across the Houston area region.

The Office of Business Opportunity has begun accepting applications which are due no later than November 7, 2014.

Anyone interested in learning more about the program or becoming a part of it can learn more at:

The City of Houston’s Office of Business Opportunity (OBO) is committed to creating a competitive and diverse business environment in the City of Houston by promoting the growth and success of local and small businesses through a wide range of services from startup business assistance to certification for established businesses seeking contract opportunities with the City. Through OBO’s Houston Business Solutions Center, we provide resources that help with the start-up, sustainability, and growth of businesses. For more information about the Office of Business Opportunity and our suite of services, please visit or call 832.393.0600.

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD), founded in 1974, is one of four distinct universities in the University of Houston System, and is the second largest university in Houston and the 15th largest four-year, public university in Texas. One of the most ethnically diverse universities in the country, UHD ranks 43rd nationally for graduating Hispanic students with bachelor’s degrees and 49th nationally for graduating African-American students with bachelor’s degrees. For more information about UHD, please visit

Since 2004, Interise has taken an innovative approach to economic development in lower-income communities by helping existing small business owners plan, achieve, and manage the long-term growth of their business.  More than 2,100 entrepreneurs in over 36 locations across the country have completed the StreetWise ‘MBA’™ curriculum with extraordinary results. Historically, Interise graduates created jobs at nearly 10x the rate of the private sector as a whole. More information can be found at @StreetWiseMBA.

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