Company Uses SBA 8(a), HUBZone and PPP to Grow and Survive the Pandemic

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Since 1986, Grōt, Incorporated has provided electrical and IT work for building construction, industrial and commercial projects. In 2002, the company became SBA HUBZone certified. Realizing that there could be many other opportunities to grow, owner Jerry Grot contacted the SBA Kentucky District Office to see how he could leverage the various business development programs and services. 

SBA provided Jerry with guidance on how to obtain 8(a) Business Development Program Certification. The company successfully received the 8(a) certification and diversified into the federal market space, offering general contractor work, including roofing, carpentry, demolition, etc., design-build construction, structured cabling, CCTV and Fire Alarm systems. Grōt is a recent SBA 8(a) graduate and still HUBZone certified firm.

Then COVID-19 struck. The pandemic shut down construction, like most other industries, almost overnight. However,  Grōt adapted quickly and began to get back on track with contract obligations and timelines. The company implemented the practice of social distancing and use of more personal protective equipment (PPE), like masks, on all federal projects to increase safety.

Grōt, Inc. received a PPP forgivable loan in April 2020. Paperwork was processed within 48 hours. This allowed Grōt to maintain its 23-person workforce during most of the pandemic. With the Second Draw PPP in February 2021, the company was able to keep the remaining 10 employees after a contract concluded in March 2021. The Second Draw was approved and deposited within 8 hours. Both PPP loans were processed by Central Bank in Lexington, KY.

Jerry stated, “I cannot stress this enough: the PPP was a lifeline for all small businesses. We wanted to keep our employees working, continue to provide health insurance and other benefits. Industry price spikes also hurt. The PPP allowed us and millions of other small businesses to keep people employed and pay bills. This program was a blessing.”

He also commented on how dramatically the construction industry has changed in the past 20 years. Grōt, Inc. is a recent graduate from the SBA 8(a) business development program. Jerry attributes much of his company’s success to both the 8(a) and HUBZone programs and encourages others to consider these programs.

Discussing the guidance provided by SBA, Jerry said that former SBA Kentucky Business Opportunity Specialist Cherie Guilford was crucial to his company’s success. “Cherie possesses a great deal of knowledge not only about the small business world but also about federal contracting. And I told her that 8(a) graduates like Grōt can provide crucial mentoring and teach new 8(a) participants how to reap the benefits and leverage their financial assets, employee assets and other strengths to be successful.”

Jerry continued, “We small business owners must position ourselves to assist each other to capture the federal market space revenues. This helps us become more successful. We should promote SBA and its  programs that assist us and seek not only goals but mandates for each agency to meet.”

This article does not constitute or imply an endorsement by the SBA of any opinions, products, or services of any private individual or entity.