Zane Networks and SBA: Together, Improving the Health of the Healthcare Industry

Alexandra Jellerette co-founded Zane Networks, LLC (aka ZaneNet) in January 2000, intending to leverage technology to help organizations deliver better patient care through health IT, software applications, technical assistance, telehealth, remote patient monitoring, and work with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). She went on to graduate from SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program; co-founder Luigi Leblanc was an alumnus of the SBA’s Emerging Leaders Initiative (an advanced executive training program involving about 100 hours of classroom work for several weeks). According to Alexandra, the programs “reinforced what we were doing in terms of strategizing, planning, and financing our operations.” She also found value in the networks created through their interactions with fellow participants, as the company has been able to apply for contracting opportunities as part of a team with other Emerging Leaders graduates. Moreover, ZaneNet’s HUBZone and EDWOSB certifications have helped the company qualify for additional set-aside contracts and teaming opportunities. The COVID-19 pandemic created havoc across the healthcare industry, putting new pressures on existing systems and structures in ways previously unimaginable. Would ZaneNet be able to address these sudden challenges or succumb to the changing landscape?

Alexandra and Luigi knew they had to act quickly and strategically to navigate this new environment, while still offering the best support possible to their existing clients in the healthcare field. Maintaining the company’s sales revenue suddenly became more important than ever. “The Economic Injury Disaster Loan [EIDL] program and Paycheck Protection Program [PPP] really allowed us, as a small business, to make the necessary investments in our people and technology to grow to the next level,” Alexandra observes. “It allowed us to take risks to develop new methods and systems that have enabled the company to develop in ways that would not have otherwise been possible.” With offices in Washington, D.C. and in Silver Spring, Maryland, the company looks to expand into Washington, D.C.’s Anacostia neighborhood within the coming months. Alexandra is quick to credit the Washington, D.C., SBDC at Howard University for helping guide their expansion into the Washington, D.C. market.

Between the training and networking provided by the SBA, in addition to the SBA-backed loans made available through the EIDL program and PPP, Zane Networks is once again on solid footing. Before becoming an active firm in the 8(a) Business Development Program, the company had a staff of five and generated annual sales of under $1 million. Today, Alexandra and Luigi employ over 30 workers and generate about $3.5 million in sales.

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