SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Aug. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, a member of President Obama's Cabinet and the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), announced today during a press conference that the former Roosevelt Roads Naval Station has been designated a Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone). This designation will help spur economic activity on the island, provide access to federal procurement opportunities for small and medium enterprises (SME) and create jobs in the community.
"The HUBZone Program is a dynamic SBA initiative assisting communities that statistically need the most help alleviating poverty and unemployment and has been a critical resource in creating jobs, reducing poverty, reducing unemployment and promoting economic prosperity in our nation's most vulnerable communities," said Contreras-Sweet. "Now that Roosevelt Roads has been designated a HUBZone, we will hold a Destination: HUB event there later this year to ensure that small businesses working with the government know about the opportunity here in Puerto Rico and opportunities across the U.S. for eligible small businesses."
"One year ago, in August 2014, we met with Administrator Contreras-Sweet and discussed the imminent need to unify our efforts to propel the creation of new small and medium enterprises, which are the engine to strengthen our economy. Since then, SBA and Fuerza Pymes have provided assistance to more than four thousand potential SMEs throughout Puerto Rico. Today, marks a new milestone in the development of Roosevelt Roads. The HUBZone Program will provide our local SMEs greater support to obtain federal government contracts and develop business plans, as well as increase participation from this sector in government procurement programs. Our common goal for jumpstarting the economic development of Puerto Rico and creating new jobs by betting on SMEs is a reality," stated the Speaker of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, Jaime R. Perelló-Borrás.
SBA's Puerto Rico District Office will assist eligible small businesses with learning how to obtain HUBZone certification and capitalize on contracting benefits through the HUBZone program and the Destination: HUB event planned for later this year.
Additionally, Contreras-Sweet announced that $220,000 in funding to assist Puerto Rico small businesses is being awarded to the Corporación para el Financiamiento Empresarial del Comercio y de las Comunidades (COFECC) through the agency's Office of Economic Opportunity. That package includes $170,000 from the Microloan Program and $50,000 from a PRIME discretionary award. Overall, this funding will provide technical assistance to small businesses in communities facing economic challenges, including those being impacted by the island's current drought.
The Destination: HUB program encourages economic development and employment growth in distressed areas by providing opportunities for firms to become active participants in the federal supply chain. The program promotes and highlights HUBZones for opportunities in federal procurement to ensure local economic development boards, government officials, federal buyers, and prime contractors work hand in hand to bring more sole-source and set-aside awards directly for these HUBZones.
Overall, Destination: HUB consists of three major components;
- An in-depth examination of successes and needs in the HUBZone program;
- Analysis of ideal situations for successful HUBZone collaboration, harnessing the power of our public-private partnerships and market research to recruit more firms for HUBZone participation; and
- Launching a broad grassroots educational initiative with community organizations, faith leaders, local economic development, and key stakeholders, to encourage participation in and inspire collective ownership of the HUBZone program at both the regional and national levels.
Destination: HUB furthers SBA's effort to improve access to capital and close opportunity gaps in communities of color, by empowering entrepreneurs and small business owners' economic and social mobility through employment and business growth.
The HUBZone program, enacted in 1997, helps small businesses located in areas that have been identified and designated as historically underutilized in both rural and urban communities, and on Indian reservations, receive contract help, thus promoting job growth, capital investment and economic development. The SBA regulates and implements the HUBZone Program and determines which businesses are eligible to receive HUBZone contracts. In FY 2014, the federal government awarded $6.97 billion to HUBZone firms. To see if your area is a designated HUBZone and to apply for the program, visit www.sba.gov/hubzone.
Release Number: 15-67
Miguel Ayala (202) 205-6420
Angelique Adjutant (787) 766-5570
Internet Address: http://www.sba.gov/news
SOURCE U.S. Small Business Administration