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HUBzone Gives Firms Chance for Contracts

Sept. 20, 2005 – Virgin Islands companies will get preference on federal contracting opportunities if they hire 30 percent local workers and sign up to participate in the HUBzone program, said Delegate Donna M. Christensen in a news release issued Monday.
Carl Christensen, officer-in-charge of the U.S. Small Business Administration office on St. Croix, said it doesn't matter how long the employee has lived in the Virgin Islands to qualify as local.
While parts of St. Croix were designated a Historically Underutilized Business Zone in 1997, the SBA program in July expanded that designation to include the entire Virgin Islands. The program is referred to as HUBzone.
"HUB has decided that all of the territories are difficult development areas," Christensen spokesman, Monique Clendinen Watson, said Tuesday.
She said that although the HUBzone program allows Virgin Islands companies to apply to participate, it doesn't mean they'll be the successful bidders.
The program allows local businesses to tap into the $300 billion federal marketplace.
If a company qualifies in the Virgin Islands, it can bid on jobs in any other HUBzone around the country, Watson said. Six or seven St. Croix businesses already participate in the program.
Television viewers across the Virgin Islands can learn more about the program by watching "Highlights on the Hill." It will air on TV2 at 5:30 p.m. Sunday; at 9:30 p.m. Sept. 27; at 8:30 p.m. Sept. 28; at 11:30 p.m. Sept. 29; and at 9:30 p.m. Sept. 30.
In "Highlights on the Hill," Christensen interviews Allegra McCullough, who is the associate deputy administrator for the Office of Government Contracting and Business Development. Additionally, she'll interview HUBzone associate administrator Michael P. McHale.
Watson said Christensen plans to do similar television programs two or three times a year.

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