Small Business Administration partners with Great Streets to help small businesses

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On Wednesday April 6, 2011, the Great Streets Business Leadership Council (GS­BLC) in partnership with the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the US Depart­ment of the Treasury Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization hosted a community outreach event entitled “His­torically Underutilized Business Zones (HUB Zones) from Education to Job Creation.” The event was held at the Old Congress Heights School in ward 8 and guest speak­ers included Teresa Lewis, Director of the US Department of the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Small Business Programs, Marie Johns, Deputy Administrator for U.S. SBA and Dan Tangherlini, Assistant Secretary for Man­agement and Chief Performance Officer for the U.S. Treasury.

The event was held to match make HUBZone certified companies with federal agency contracts. Small businesses were able to bring their company to this event and speak directly with agencies and walk away with a contract in the same day! Tangherlini said that the event “pro­vided the opportunity to small and emerg­ing businesses” in the HUBZone areas throughout the city. He expressed that the U.S. Treasury is committed to exploring the best options for connecting with HUBZone companies.

The HUBZone program was cre­ated in 1997 as a way to provide federal contracts to small businesses located in historically underutilized business zones (HUBZones). It is a community based program that is committed to increasing employment opportunities, stimulating capital investments in those underrepre­sented areas and empowering communi­ties through economic leveraging. To join the program companies must be small by relevant SBA standards, own and control at least 51% of their company, have their principal office in a HUBZone and at least 35% of employees must reside in a HUB­Zone.

In Washington, D.C. alone there are 273 registered HUBZone businesses and two out of three jobs across the city are created from small businesses. Johns said that being a part of this program is “a terrific way to give your small business a competitive edge,” because the pro­gram “focuses on small business growth in traditionally untouched communities.”

It was fitting that the event was held in ward 8, where unemployment is astronomically high. This event was able to give small businesses in ward 8, a loca­tion categorized as a HUBZone, a com­petitive advantage because the SBA brought the contractors to them. Chinelo Cambron, a small technology information business owner in the Ward 8 HUBZone said that, “events like this give compa­nies like mine the one-on-one attention we need to learn about applying for a federal contract. I am so glad I decided to attend today’s event and even more relieved to know that the federal govern­ment is seriously committed to helping small businesses grow.”

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