Program helping small owners

HUBZone teaching businesses about opportunities

A federal program helping small businesses take advantage of contract opportunities will be the focus of an informational meeting planned in May.

Information about the HUBZone program, regulated by the U.S. Small Business Administration, will be presented from 8 to 9:30 a.m. May 12 at Dorel Juvenile Group, 500 S. Gladstone Ave. HUBZone stands for Historically Underutilized Business Zones.

State Street encompasses a designated HUBZone area within Bartholomew County, said Bob Weimer, chapter chair of SCORE. Weimer said his organization helps mentor small businesses and provides assistance for those seeking to expand.

Representatives from SCORE, the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, Cummins and the SBA will present information at the meeting.

“All of us feel very strongly that there is an opportunity to do business with large corporations and government,” Weimer said.

Weimer noted there are more than 90 businesses located within the HUBZone in the State Street area.

“I think this opens doors and allows them to compete with large companies,” he said.

To qualify for the program, an entity has to meet criteria that includes being a small business by SBA standards, being owned and controlled at least 51 percent by U.S. citizens or a community development corporation, an agricultural cooperative or an Indian tribe. In addition, the business’ principal office must be located within the HUBZone and at least 35 percent of its employees must reside in a designated HUBZone area.

Eligible businesses must apply through the SBA website. The federal government has a goal of awarding 3 percent of dollars to HUBZone-certified small businesses, according to the SBA.

Cindy Frey, president of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, said she thinks the State Street corridor stands to benefit if businesses took advantage of the program. It could also spur more residential development in the area since the HUBZone program requires businesses to have at least 35 percent of its employees reside in the area.

“I think it’s a win not only for the businesses, but for the people in that region,” she said. “It’s really a surprisingly active business park.”

If you go

What: Information about the HUBZone program, which is regulated by the U.S. Small Business Association

Where: Dorel Juvenile Group, 500 S. Gladstone Ave.

When: 8 to 9:30 a.m. May 12

More information: Details on the HUBZone program can be found at www.sba.gov/contracting/government-contracting-programs/hubzone-program.

Author photo
Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com