Neil McDonnell, founder of the HUBZone Chamber of Commerce, discusses the $13 billion HUBZone contracting program, and the success his organization has in bringing communities, industry and agencies closer together.
The Small Business Administration is devising ways to encourage economic development in areas across the country. The agency’s HUBZone program is one of these outreach efforts, sending federal contracting money to companies that set up shop in Historically Underutilized Business areas. The initiative has been seeing results, but only half of the $13 billion fund is being utilized. The HUBZone Chamber of Commerce is an organization dedicated to getting the rest of these funds from the government to industry members, and the communities they serve. Neil McDonnell, founder of the HUBZone Chamber of Commerce, says that they’ve already had some success stories. “July 28, we had a large federal agency reach out to us. They said they had this opportunity, it has been out there for weeks and they were trying to get HUBZone to express interest and capability. Hardly any responded. They asked us if we could help, and within 24 hours, we had almost 100 companies respond to this opportunity,” said McDonnell. “On August 1, the State Department set it aside for HUBZone companies. It was a $200 million opportunity that would have gone anywhere but HUBZone.”