In the zone

When JDD Inc. received a janitorial contract from NASA Glenn, it was based on price and performance. The $7.3 million, three-year contract was awarded last year to the small Highland Heights cleaning company with help from the HUBZone program.

Highland Heights is part of 292 distressed areas in Ohio designated in need of economic development and employment. To be eligible for federal contracting opportunities through the HUBZone program, a company must be located in this type of historically underutilized business zone.

The company must also be wholly owned and managed by U.S. citizens and 35 percent of its workforce must live within the HUBZone county.

Once qualified, the business owner works with the U.S. Small Business Administration to receive certification and a listing in SBA’s Pro-Net data.

Along with more than $2 billion in potential contracts, the advantages of participation are that companies compete with other HUBZone organizations and receive a 10 percent price preference when competing against outside suppliers.

Cleveland-based General Metal Heat Treating Inc. recently became certified and Deborah Dougherty, vice president of administration and finance, says she anticipates it will increase the company’s customer base. General Metal is a heat treating company that works primarily with first tier contractors in the aircraft arena. End users are such industry players as Boeing Aircraft and Bell Helicopter.

“I don’t believe it will be a make or break decision for us,” she says. “Obviously, it’s up to us to market it. But it is something we can put in our tool box to make us that more marketable.”

Northeast Ohio HUBZone counties include Lorain, Huron, Summit, Cuyahoga, Stark, Mahoning, Trumbull, Lake and Ashtabula.

And, although the application for participation may seem cumbersome, filing can be done electronically as well as on paper. Currently, there are 129 HUBZone certified small businesses in Ohio.

How to reach:U.S. Small Business Administration’s Cleveland District Office, (216) 522-4180

SBA’s Hubzone site