Today, we are continuing our discussion regarding the HUBZone Program. Our topic is going to concentrate on the HUBZone application. Now we will not go into how to fill out the application but will go through all the regulations governing the application process. This way you know what to expect as you are considering this program.
Where To Fill Out the Application?
One of the changes that SBA has made is to develop a new system for all their certifications. This new system is a database that is accessed through your web browser. The location is https://www.certify.sba.gov/.
What is great about this system is that you only have to upload your documents one time. So say that you want to be HUBZone certified. Then later you want to be 8(a) certified. Well, in the new system your documents are already uploaded so you can use them for all SBA certifications, to include the Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB) program. This saves you time and money.
Now if you prefer you can still fill out a paper application and send that into SBA. However, it may delay your processing time. The reason why? The systems SBA uses are all online and they don’t use paper copies. So someone within SBA will have to scan your application and upload it.
What Must I Submit To SBA?
We are not going to go into a great deal about what documents need to be sent to SBA. But we will be describing the application process. To become HUBZone certified by SBA you must complete the online application, upload the supporting documents and sign the representations. The representations is stating that to the best of your knowledge all information submit is true and complete. It also states that you will notify SBA of any material changes that would affect your eligibility. This also gives SBA the authority to process your application.
Now I do have to say that SBA does work hard to keep the mapping system up to date. This is hard to do when they receive the information from other federal agencies. I am not going to spend a ton of time on the maps except to say that if you disagree with the mapping system you can challenge the map! For example, the HUBZone program has been expanded to include military base closures. If the military closes a base next to your location and the closure impacts that local economy then you can challenge the map. You would need to contact the Department of Defense, Office of Economic Adjustment, or the military department responsible for closing that installation. Once you receive the information you will need to upload that information with your application.
The HUBZone office does provide eligibility assistance on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-3 p.m. Eastern time. Please call 1-202-765-1264 access code 6890124#. If you cannot attend one of their calls you can always contact your local SBA District Office for assistance. Also, we offer our services to assist you at a cost, if interested.
How Is My Application Processed?
SBA will process your application once you submit your application to them. In the meantime, you must notify SBA if you run into a circumstance where you are no longer eligible for the program. Now, if SBA decertified your business because you failed to notify SBA of a material change that affected your eligibility then you can re-apply to the program. However, you will need to submit a letter explaining why you did not notify SBA of that change that caused you to be no longer eligible for the program. It is up to SBA to accept your response. However, I have found that the HUBZone department of SBA is very forgiving.
Who Approves or Denies My Application?
The Director of the HUBZone Department or their designee are the only one to approve or decline HUBZone applications. The current Director of the HUBZone program is Mariana Pardo. She is extremely knowledgeable about the program and has been in charge of this program for years. If you ever have a chance to meet with her please do. If you do, tell her Nancy Byerly said hello. Now, SBA will review all applications and requested supporting documents when the application is received. Once SBA will start processing the application when they receive it. The decision of the Director of the HUBZone program or designee is the final agency decision.
The individual that is processing your application may require additional information or clarification of information that you previously submitted. They can request this additional information or clarification at any time. Unfortunately, the applicant has the burden to demonstrate that it meets the eligibility requirements. Please submit the requested information within the timeframe provided by SBA. Your application will be denied if you do not respond within the timeframe.
SBA has 90 days to process your application. To be on the safe side I would not expect to receive the final notice until 120 days after you submit your application. If you application is denied you must wait 90 calendar days before you can reapply.
Once SBA has made their final decision you will be notified by email. The email will contain a letter either approving or denying your certification. If you receive a denial letter it will contain all the findings on why would were not eligible. Once you can resolve those findings you can re-apply however you will have to wait 90 calendar days.
We hope you enjoyed today’s article. If you wish to read more please go to ByerlyEnterprises.com/Blog.