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HUBZone Program | Eligibility, Certification, Benefits & How to Apply ?

HUBZone Program

There is less competition because government agencies could even mandate businesses to be HUBZone members in order to submit bids for specific contracts. What you need to know about the HUBZone Program and whether your company qualifies is provided below.

What is the HUBZone Program ?


HUBZone is a United States SBA (Small Business Administration) program for small companies that operate and employ people in HUBZones (Historically Under-utilized Business Zones). The HUBZone program was created in response to the Historically Under-utilized Business Zone Empowerment Act created by the U.S. Congress in 1998.

Small firms can compete for significant government procurement opportunities with the help of HUBZone program, which also grants them pricing advantages over larger rivals and qualifies them for sole-source contracts.

With a target of allocating at least 3% of federal contract dollars to HUBZone certified businesses each year, the HUBZone program promotes small business development in previously underused business areas.

Businesses must fulfil a set of requirements as laid out by the U.S. Small Business Administration in order to participate. This involves retaining a corporate headquarters in a "historically underutilized business zone" and having majority ownership by American citizens or other qualified entities.

Key Facts of HUBZone Program


  • The HUBZone helps small businesses in underutilized areas achieve a competitive advantage in procuring government contracts.
  • Entities must fit the program's criteria of a "small business" and have their corporate headquarters in a "historically underutilized business zone" in order to be eligible.
  • The federal government aims to award 3% of contracts to HUBZone-certified companies.
  • Once an organization enrolls in the HUBZone program, it usually needs to recertify every year to keep that status.

How Does the HUBZone Program Work ?


The HUBZone program helps small businesses in rural and urban and communities gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities. A limited number of organizations that fit the SBA's requirements for business size and have their headquarters in less affluent urban and rural locations are eligible for the Historically Underserved Business Zone Program.

The federal government wants to give HUBZone qualified businesses at least 3% of all federal prime contracts. In an effort to achieve this goal, agencies may set aside contracts for which only HUBZone companies are permitted to submit bids or they may award sole-source contracts to HUBZone firms. In some instances of full and open contract contests and subcontracting opportunities, HUBZone-certified contractors may additionally be qualified for a 10% price evaluation advantage.

Who is Eligible for HUBZone Program ?


In order for federal agencies to locate possible suppliers, the U.S. Small Business Administration analyses whether businesses are qualified to receive contracts under the HUBZone program and maintains a list of those businesses on file.

To qualify for the Historically Underserved Business Zone (HUBZone) program, your business must :
  • Be a small business as defined by SBA size guidelines. (Size Standards Tool)
  • Be at least 51% owned and controlled by U.S. citizens, an agricultural cooperative, a Native Hawaiian organization, a Community Development Corporation, an Alaska Native corporation, or an Indian tribe.
  • Have its main office located in a HUBZone. (HUBZone Map)
  • Have a minimum of 35% of the employees residing in a HUBZone.

The full set of requirements can be found in Title 13 Part 126 Subpart B of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The SBA's Certify website also offers a preliminary evaluation of your eligibility.

What is the Benefit of a HUBZone Program ?


The government only allows companies in historically underutilized business zones to compete for some contracts. Additionally, it gives those companies that are engaged in full and transparent competition preference.

Your company becomes eligible to compete for the HUBZone program's set-aside contracts after you join. Additionally, complete and open contract contests give 10% price evaluation priority to HUBZone-certified companies. HUBZone-certified businesses are still eligible to bid for contracts under other socioeconomic programs.

Objective of HUBZone Program


The federal HUBZone program's goal is to aid small businesses in underserved regions of the country. The program aims to encourage entrepreneurship and increase employment in places where jobs are hard to come by by channeling a portion of government purchases to such organizations.

How to Apply for Get Certified as a HUBZone Small Business ?


However, prospective users must first have an active Dun & Bradstreet profile with a corresponding Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number in order to register. These distinct nine-digit numbers are provided by Dun & Bradstreet for each physical site that a business operates, and they are provided without charge to companies looking to receive orders from the federal government.

Companies requesting HUBZone certification must have an active System for Award Management (SAM) account with the US government. After gaining certification, you can alter your company's profile, if you already have one, to reflect that you own a HUBZone business.

You need to obtain SBA certification before you can take part in the HUBZone program. Follow these instructions to become HUBZone certified after reading the Top Tips for HUBZone Certification Tip Sheet.

  • Make sure you have an account on SAM.gov.
  • Ensure that you have an account with the General Login System.
  • Using the General Login System, apply for HUBZone certification. Sign in, choose "Access" and then "HUBZone" before completing the prompts.
  • For time-sensitive instructions to electronically verify your application within 2 business days, check your email (including the spam folder).
  • Before your submission may be allocated for eligibility evaluation, all necessary supporting documents must be submitted within three business days. Be prepared to reply within five business days to the HUBZone team's requests for more information. Your application can be declined or withdrawn if you don't comply.
  • Verify that your DSBS and SAM statuses have been updated. SBA will automatically update your status in DSBS and SAM within 48 hours of your approval.

Maintain HUBZone Certification


Once a year, you must recertify for the HUBZone program. As long as a business remains eligible, there is no temporal limit on how long it can take part. Every three years, a program examination will be necessary.

Businesses in HUBZones are required to notify the SBA if they are involved in a merger or acquisition or if their HUBZone residency falls below 20% while working on a HUBZone contract.

In order to confirm the veracity of any certifications given or information submitted as part of the HUBZone application or recertification process, SBA may conduct program examinations and unannounced site visits to HUBZone businesses. The Recertification Fact Sheet has more details about continued eligibility.

HUBZone Eligibility Workbook Tool


A new eligibility workbook tool being tested by the SBA is intended to assist applicants in gathering, organizing, and presenting data regarding their principal office and employee residency. The SBA will review your HUBZone application more quickly if you complete the workbook tool and upload it with your application.

If you want to use the workbook, click the link above, download it in Excel to your computer, fill it out according to the directions on the first tab, save it to your computer, and then submit it together with the other necessary files as part of your application submission.

Reach out to hubzone@sba.gov or use the toll-free number 208-391-5817 with Conference ID 278 449 067, if you have any inquiries about the workbook tool.

Types of HUBZone Contracts


The form of contract to employ when awarding to a HUBZone business must be decided by you, the contracting officer. You can use a variety of contracts, including:

  • If the contracting officer has a reasonable expectation that at least two trustworthy HUBZone small businesses will make offers and that the resulting contract can be granted at a fair market price, then a competitive HUBZone set-aside contract may be awarded. Additionally, set-asides can be made for particular orders under multiple award contracts that were chosen after a fair and open bidding process.
  • If the contracting officer believes that the qualified HUBZone small business is responsible, believes that the contract can be awarded at a reasonable price, and does not have a reasonable expectation that two or more qualified HUBZone small businesses will submit offers, a sole-source HUBZone contract may be awarded. The government's estimate is limited to $4.5 million for general requirements and $7 million for industrial needs.
  • HUBZone small firms may be given precedence in price evaluation when awarding a contract after a complete and open competition. If the offer from the HUBZone small business is not more than 10% greater than the offer from the non-HUBZone/non-small business, it must be regarded as being lower.

Contracts with a value of at least $250,000 are automatically reserved for small firms. You may decide to put it aside particularly for companies participating in socioeconomic programs like HUBZone, if that is possible. Additionally, if you have a reasonable anticipation that at least two small businesses will submit bids, you must hold aside contracts worth more than $250,000.

For set-aside or sole-source contracts over $250,000, you must first take into account socioeconomic programs in accordance with both SBA standards and the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). The programs are not prioritized in any particular sequence.

The contract file must contain a statement of your decision-making process. Include details about your study as well as evidence of the certified status of the winning contractor in the System for Award Management.

How to Find HUBZone Contractors ?


Using the SBA's Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS), you can locate HUBZone-certified companies as part of your market research and confirm their certification. Prior to issuing an award under a HUBZone set-aside procedure or an award where a price evaluation preference was used, contracting officers must make sure that an apparent awardee is HUBZone certified.

Furthermore, you can :

Contact HUBZone Program


On a weekly basis (Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-3 p.m. E.T.), members of the HUBZone team provide answers to queries to assist businesses with the certification procedure.

Call 208-391-5817 and enter the Skype conference ID 278449067, or find a local number.

Frequently Asked Questions


What does the HUBZone mean?
Small businesses in urban and rural locations can benefit from preferential access to federal procurement opportunities with the help of to Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) program.

Will the current HUBZone Map freeze be extended?
The 2020 Census information needed to update the HUBZone Maps won't be available in time for the map to be updated on January 1, 2022, as required by the present HUBZone laws, SBA has been informed. In order to inform the public that the HUBZone Map would be modified on July 1, 2023, SBA published a notice in the Federal Register.

How can I verify HUBZone?
Using the SBA's Dynamic Small Business Search, you can locate HUBZone-certified companies and confirm their certification as part of your market research.

How many years is HUBZone certification valid?
For one year, all HUBZone contracts are eligible.

How can I know if my company is located in a HUBZone?
You can use the HUBZone Mapping Application to determine whether a specific place of business or employee housing is located within a HUBZone. To determine which HUBZone locations are contained inside a wider area of interest, you can use use HUBZone Mapping.

What is HUBZone employee?
Since the certification, that person has continued to work for the HUBZone-certified small business firm. Therefore, the person would still be considered a HUBZone employee as long as they lived in a HUBZone for at least 180 days after the certification date.

What are the HUBZone residents?
You are likely already aware of the requirement that at least 35% of your whole workforce resides in a HUBZone. The term "total employees" refers to each and every employee, regardless of location, who clocks in at least 40 hours every month.

Do part-time workers qualify for HUBZone?
All individuals who are employed on a full-time, part-time, or other basis are considered employees for the purposes of examination for HUBZone certification. Additionally, those people had to have put in at least 40 hours of work in the four weeks prior to the review's pertinent date.

What does HUBZone expiration mean?
If a location has an expiration date, it signifies that it is currently eligible for the HUBZone program but will lose that eligibility after that date.

Can startup business apply for HUBZone certification?
Yes, As long as it satisfies all of the Hubzone eligibility standards and can deliver the necessary things needed by the SBA, a startup business can apply for Hubzone Certification and obtain certification.

Can I become Hubzone certified, if I don't have a commercial office space?
Yes, If you run your business out of your primary house, you must include a copy of the lease or deed for that property as well as a utility bill for the entire time your application was being electronically verified.

Can I get HUBZone certified, if I am the only owner/employee and do not pay myself a salary?
Yes, Whether or not the person receives paid, an individual is regarded as an employee if they have an ownership interest in the company and put in at least 40 hours a month.

How long does it usually take after an application is submitted to become Hubzone certified?
The SBA gives you up to 10 business days after your electronic Hubzone application is approved for processing to upload all supporting papers. At this point, your SBA reviewer has the right to ask for more details in order to address any concerns they may have. We prepare all official responses to the SBA as part of our Hubzone Application Completion Service if you hire us to prepare your Hubzone Application. It will take between 90 and 120 days to receive notice of the SBA's decision after it has concluded that your Hubzone Application is complete.

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