This was the question we pondered here at WhirlWind Technologies, LLC. After all, we are a growing business, with federal clientele (and looking for more) and a commitment to positively impacting our local community, so why not become a HUBZone-certified company? Since the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) website does a great job in detailing the HUBZone program (benefits, requirements, FAQs, hotline, etc.), we’ll concentrate our answer to factors pertinent to WWT.
In short, we couldn’t find anything truly negative or a major consideration about SBA’s HUBZone program that would exclude us from certification. Two of the most common issues regarding HUBZone certification eligibility and maintaining its requirements are non-factors for WWT:
- Principal office location in a Historically Underutilized Business Zone: Since we are a distributed company, with the majority of our employees residing in commuting distance, potentially losing our principal office’s HUBZone designation in 2-3 years because of zoning re-designations will not severely impact our business.
- 35% employee residency within a HUBZone: This may seem challenging when your office is based in a popular metropolitan region such as Washington D.C. However, not only is WWT fortunate to already have talented employees that reside within surrounding HUBZone areas, we also like the idea of focusing future recruitment in underprivileged and underrepresented areas that show potential and whose labor force can be groomed into formidable talent that will help grow and conquer our business endeavors.
WWT views becoming a HUBZone-certified company as a “best of both worlds” situation, regarding federal contracting opportunities. We can take part in contracting opportunities offered to the general public and those exclusive to the HUBZone program since federal agencies have to meet a quota in awarding contracts to HUBZone-certified companies. Being certified gives us a competitive edge over our larger business and non-HUBZone-certified counterparts. Of course the most rewarding benefit is the fulfillment of social responsibility by promoting economic development and employment growth in economically disadvantaged communities. We’ve spoken to other HUBZone-certified companies who all had positive remarks about the HUBZone program, including that the process involves minimal paperwork, and may take as little as three days for processing (this varies according to company size). Our verdict: It’s a win-win scenario.
We want to hear from you! Is it beneficial for a company to acquire a HUBZone certification? Should you change your company structure, location, hiring process, etc. to reap the benefits of the HUBZone program? Share your thoughts and experiences below, and be sure to check out future posts about WhirlWind Technologies’ experience as we undergo the process of becoming a HUBZone-certified company.