Taking Minority Business Development to the Next Level

Adopting Submittable saved HMSDC over two weeks of staff and reviewer time per award cycle—it also emptied inboxes, fueled savings, and supported their team’s mission-focus and awards program.

The Houston Minority Supplier Development Council (HMSDC) is a nonprofit focused on promoting fiscal growth among Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs). Each year, HMSDC facilitates a robust awards program that was becoming increasingly hard to organize manually. Using Submittable helped HMSDC streamline, scale, and save money on their awards nomination process.   

It’s been so helpful having a centralized platform where I can manage all of our award nominations. Submittable makes it easy for us to collect, analyze, and make use of data and it’s easy for our end users to access and utilize.

Ingrid M. Robinson

HMSDC President

Discovering better practices

HMSDC is one of the National Minority Supplier Development Council’s (NMSDC) 23 affiliates. Five other regional affiliates rely on Submittable and during a quarterly meeting in 2018 where best practices were shared, HMSDC President Ingrid M. Robinson was introduced to the software. The timing was good, as Robinson was looking to reduce inefficiencies in her awards workflow, as well as launch a new elections process.

“Our awards process before Submittable was very manual and very difficult to keep track of,” says Ingrid. HMSDC’s old award nomination involved two steps and Ingrid was caught between them. As she recalls, “I'd get about 400 emails a day. I’d have to go through them, find each nomination, and then send out the second component of it.”

Not only did Submittable offer the functionality Ingrid was seeking—it also fit HMSDC’s budget.  

“After reviewing the platform online, talking with a sales rep, and negotiating a price that was reasonable for us as a nonprofit, we decided Submittable was the right tool to help.”

Saving everyone time

Adopting Submittable has dramatically improved HMSDC’s efficiency. 

According to Ingrid, “Submittable easily saves us two and a half to three weeks of work sorting through nominations and questionnaires. Now, I can do that all through the system, identify where there are gaps, and send a quick note to those who haven't responded, reminding them of our deadline.”  

Ingrid depends on Submittable tools like messaging, filtering, and archiving, as well as auto-responses to nomination forms. 

“Submittable’s automatic reply feature removes me from the middle of the process,” says Ingrid, “and automatically creates a complete chain.”

HMSDC works to connect its supplier group—including Asian, Black, Hispanic and Native-American businesses in the Texas Gulf Coast area—with corporate council members in the state and beyond. Because these members make up HMSDC’s awards jury, review before Submittable was daunting.

“Since judges represent major corporations from around the country,” says Ingrid, “trying to get everybody in one place at one time is extremely difficult. With Submittable, they can judge wherever they happen to be in the country or world.”

Fulfilling ideals and fueling growth

HMSDC is a small team with serious time restrictions. Using Submittable’s Onboarding services to revisit their process in 2019 proved essential.  

“Because we're a nonprofit and our staff time is so limited,” says Ingrid, “having someone work behind the scenes to help us accomplish our vision, to get central components set up that I just don't have the time or staff resources to arrange, has been really critical for us.”

Submittable’s team helped HMSDC customize and improve both their internal process and applicant experience. “This service has ensured that Submittable is both useful for our organization and helpful for applicants.”

HMSDC Emerging 10 Award Winners

HMSDC Emerging 10 Award Winners

HMSDC has used Submittable to successfully launch a new elections process. They also plan to open award nominations year-round since the platform makes this feasible.

“As soon as something good happens,” Ingrid says, “people can put in a nomination. I'm hoping this will also help us increase the number of nominations we receive and make the experience even more user-friendly.”

Economizing and executing

Submittable helps protect HMSDC’s bottom line in a number of ways. “Being able to take the awards off the table quickly saves us time and money,” says Ingrid.

“We're no longer rushed to get awards printed at the last minute which involves a higher cost—we can finish the evaluation and select winners a month in advance, rather than a few weeks, which is much more cost-effective.”

With the resources they conserve using Submittable, the HMSDC team can focus on key priorities, like their yearly Gala (Texas’s largest trade fair). 

According to Ingrid, “We've spent the extra time Submittable saves us ensuring that our awards event and trade show run more smoothly.”

Get in touch with Submittable