The HUBZone program is another set-aside program that is available to small businesses. This program is one of the most difficult ones to qualify for as your principal business has to be located in a qualifying area and 35% of your employees must also reside in a qualifying area. It is not necessary for the employees to reside in the same area as the principal business.
What is the HUBZone program?
The HUBZone program stands for Historically Under-Utilized Business Zones. Congress created this set-aside program in order to revitalize sections of cities or counties that experienced high employment rates and low to moderate income. These areas are typically found in inner cities, by universities or colleges, Indian Reservations or areas where the government has closed military installations.
Each year the federal government has a goal to set-aside 3% of all prime contracting dollars to businesses that have been certified by SBA as meeting the HUBZone status.
What are the benefits are getting certified as a HUBZone company?
As contracting officers limit contracts to this set-aside program only firms that have been certified by SBA can compete on these contracts. In addition, as a HUBZone company, you are also given preferential consideration to businesses that are competing on full and open competition. Your business could qualify for a 10 percent price evaluation preference in full and open contract competitions.
HUBZone-certified businesses can still compete for contract awards under other socio-economic programs they qualify for.
HUBZone program qualifications
To qualify for the HUBZone program, your business must:
- Be a small business
- Be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by U.S. citizens, a Community Development Corporation, an agricultural cooperative, a Native Hawaiian organization, or an Indian tribe
- Have its principal office located in a qualifying HUBZone
- Have at least 35 percent of its employees live in a HUBZone
You can also get a preliminary assessment of whether you qualify at the SBA’s Certify website.