Hubzones Help Business And Residents In Jackson County

The "Hubzone" or "Historically Under-Utilized Business Zone" is a federal program aimed at stimulating economic development in distressed areas of a city.

Some areas of Jackson County were just recently named "Hubzones," including the old International Paper Mill site in Moss Point.

The mill is coming down so an industrial park can go up.

Jackson County Economic development officials expect this area to attract even more industries now that it has been designated a "Hubzone."

"It's simply one more advantage, one more incentive we can use to lure new investment and job creation here on the property in Moss Point," George Freeland from the Jackson County Economic Development Authority says.

One more advantage because industries that locate in these areas and meet a few federal requirements will automatically have the upper hand in work contracts.

A "Hubzone" company can bid 10% more on federal contracts than a company that is not in the zone and still be considered for the job.

In return, companies that offer contracts to "Hubzone" businesses earn points from the federal government.

"Because of the point system, some of these businesses have to do business with disadvantage businesses and minority businesses." John Sykes says.

Sykes' company, Rainbow Springs Water, is located in a "Hubzone" area.

Though Sykes has been running his business smoothly for 30 years without the hubzone status, he's glad to take any new opportunities to grow.

Being in a "Hubzone" is not only good for companies. It could mean more jobs for residents.

Jackson County Development officials say if a company wants to have hubzone status, 35 % of its employees must live in a "Hubzone."