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By Kaylen Auer
PBN Web Editor
By Kaylen Auer
PBN Web Editor
CENTRAL FALLS – The U.S. Small Business Administration will partner with the city of Central Falls and Navigant Credit Union to provide free training aimed at helping small businesses explore federal government contracting opportunities.
Seth A. Goodall, New England regional administrator of the SBA, Central Falls Mayor James A. Diossa, and Gary E. Furtado, president and CEO of Navigant Credit Union, signed the Central Falls Federal Contractor Development Program co-sponsorship agreement during a ceremony held Tuesday at Navigant Credit Union’s Central Falls branch office.
“The federal government is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world. We must do all we can to make certain that small businesses get their fair share of the contracting dollars,” said Goodall in a prepared statement. “The Central Falls Federal Contractor Development Program will give small businesses the tools they need to explore contracting opportunities that will potentially create more jobs and contribute to economic growth for the city.”
Under the agreement, the SBA will provide training to Central Falls small businesses located in the city’s four federally designated Historically Underutilized Business Zones or “HUBZones.” The zones represent specially designated census tracts, and there are more than 50 HUBZones in Rhode Island, according to SBA economic development specialist Matthew Spoehr.
In addition to the four Central Falls HUBZones, which cover most of the city, there are HUBZones located in Pawtucket, Providence, West Warwick, Woonsocket, parts of Point Judith in Narragansett and an area near Naval Station Newport, Spoehr said.
Certified small businesses operating within these HUBZones are eligible to bid for contracts specially set aside for HUBZone businesses by federal agencies and prime contractors, but Spoehr said many businesses are not aware that this opportunity exists.
The Central Falls Federal Contractor Development Program training will include sessions introducing small businesses to HUBZone opportunities and to the 8(a) Business Development program, which provides one-on-one counseling, workshops, and other management and technical assistance to help businesses started by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals gain access to federal and private procurement markets.
“Central Falls is built on small businesses, and they are vital to our growth,” said Diossa. “As we continue to improve the quality of life and the quality of services in our city, we are proud to have in Navigant Credit Union and the SBA partners who understand what our small businesses need to thrive.”
The first HUBZone introduction workshop will be held Dec. 11, and the first 8(a) training session will be held Dec. 18. After each session, SBA economic development specialists will review the documents needed for eligible businesses to begin the online application process for HUBZone and 8(a) certification.
All workshop sessions will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. in the Navigant Credit Union Community Room in the Central Falls branch office located at 693 Broad St.
“We are excited that the SBA will be hosting these important workshops in Central Falls,” said Furtado. “Navigating through the process of becoming a federal contractor is a daunting task and having the SBA educate our small businesses in the process is a tremendous opportunity for the Central Falls economy.”
Due to limited space, Central Falls businesses must pre-register for the SBA workshops. To register for these free programs, contact the SBA Rhode Island District Office at (401) 528-4561 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SBA provides similar training for HUBZone businesses in Providence – which boasts the largest number of HUBZones in Rhode Island, at more than 30 – and also plans to launch a training program in Pawtucket, Spoehr said.
To see if your business is located within a federally designated HUBZone, visit www.sba.gov.