Build Up Houston

Press Release

Mayor Turner Is Looking For Small Businesses To Help Build Up Houston

January 3, 2018 -- For the past three years, the City of Houston’s Office of Business Opportunity has managed an executive education program called Build Up Houston that supports construction companies currently operating and doing business in the Greater Houston Area. Since its inception, 23 small businesses have graduated from this intense seven-month program with the most recent cohort collectively being awarded over $10MM in new contracts while participating in the program.

“Houston has a long road to recovery after Harvey.” said Mayor Turner. “A record number 51 inches of rain and 15 trillion gallons of water was dumped on this region. More than ever, we need our local business community; especially our small businesses, to play a major role in our housing repairs and infrastructure. The City of Houston is committed to increasing the capacity of our small business community and their access to our contracting opportunities.”

Building on the success of previous cohorts and in response to the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, the program has expanded its class size and industry focus to include Architectural and Engineering firms. Build Up Houston utilizes Interise’s award-winning Streetwise 'MBA'™ curriculum and covers topics such as business development, strategic planning, access to capital, government contacts, financials, marketing and sales, and human resources. Classes will meet bi-weekly starting in February 2018 at the Houston Community College Central Campus.

“As our City recovers from a historic hurricane and flood, we want to make sure our small, minority, and women owned businesses are well prepared and positioned to participate on the upcoming disaster recovery focused contracts. Participating in Build Up Houston will help companies develop a strategy to scale their companies so that they can respond to the recovery efforts.” said Carlecia D. Wright, Director of the Office of Business Opportunity.

The program will be facilitated by Arquella Hargrove, CEO of EPIC Collaborative Advisors. Arquella Hargrove brings a successful 20-year track record of supporting both established organizations and entrepreneurial ventures - advising them through their stages of creation, growth, and stabilization. Each participating company in Build Up Houston is a live-case, using their own experiences as a case study. As business owners learn about each topic, they can instantly apply the lessons to their business and implement changes. The program provides the time and framework for business owners to work "on" their business instead of "in" it.

"More than ever, Houston needs small businesses to create new jobs, stabilize local employment, and strengthen the economic and social resilience of low-income and minority neighborhoods. Inclusive of business participation in local government procurement and contracting is an important source of income and jobs. We know that companies with contracts not only create jobs the fastest, but they create better jobs -- with higher wages, salaries, and benefits. Build Up Houston enables established small businesses to leverage this contracting factor in neighborhoods where sustainable, good jobs are needed most." said Jean Hortsman, CEO of Interise.

“We are delighted to partner again with the City of Houston and Interise to deliver an outstanding training program for the construction industry! Houston Community College is committed to providing the best training to build a qualified, talented workforce and business community." said Dr. Maya Durnovo, Chief Entrepreneurial Initiatives Officer, Houston Community College. Other Build Up Houston partners committed to developing small businesses include Houston Business Development, Inc., Tetra Tech, and MBDA Business Center operated by Houston Community College.

For more information on Build Up Houston or to apply for the program, please visit

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.

Houston Community College (HCC) is composed of 13 Centers of Excellence and numerous satellite centers that serve the diverse communities in the Greater Houston area by preparing individuals to live and work in an increasingly international and technological society. HCC is one of the country’s largest single-accredited, open-admission, community colleges offering associate degrees, certificates, workforce training, and lifelong learning opportunities. To learn more, visit

Interise is the go-to partner with a proven model for accelerating economic and small business growth in low- to moderate-income communities. Interise’s StreetWise 'MBA'™ provides small business owners with the business knowledge, management know-how and relationships they need to scale using a peer-based, experiential learning method. Alumni historically create new jobs at 5x the rate of the private sector as a whole and have secured over $3 billion in government and institutional contracts. As alumni grow, they contribute to economic development, job creation, and social resilience within their local community. More information can be found at @StreetWiseMBA and at