Strategic Consulting Solutions, Inc.


Obtaining and Maintaining HUBZone Certification

If you’re trying to gain access to federal procurement opportunities in an underutilized business zone, you should consider the Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZones) program. Implemented and regulated by the Small Business Administration (SBA), HUBZone helps “promote economic development and employment growth in distressed areas by providing access to more federal contracting opportunities.”

Aimed at underutilized business areas in both urban and rural communities, the HUBZone program is a great way to gain preferential access to federal contracts. HUBZone-certified companies also receive competitive and sole source contracting, and a 10% price evaluation preference in full and open contract competitions and subcontracting opportunities.

HUBZone Eligibility

The Federal Government aims to award 3% of all federal prime contract dollars to HUBZone-certified small businesses. To be eligible for certification, a business (excluding tribally owned concerns) must meet the following requirements:

  • The business must be located in a HUBZone area on the HUBZone Map
  • Must be a small business by SBA’s standards
  • Must be owned and controlled at least 51% by U.S. citizens, or a Community Development Corporation, an agricultural cooperative, or an Indian tribe
  • The principal office must be located within a “Historically Underutilized Business Zone,” which includes lands considered “Indian Country” and military facilities closed by the Base Realignment and Closure Act
  • At least 35% of its employees must reside in a HUBZone

HUBZone Certification

Once you apply, a typical application timeline takes about 90 days. During any certification or recertification process, make sure to check your email (including SPAM folders) for any requests for clarification from the SBA. However, before the application process is started, each business must obtain the following registrations:

  • Dun and Bradstreet for a D&B ID number
  • System and Award Management (SAM) for a SAM profile and the firms Employee’s Identification Number/Tax Identification Number (EIN/TIN)
  • Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS)
  • General Login System (GLS)

The following applicants have different certification criteria for the HUBZone program:

How to Maintain Your HUBZone Certification

Once you obtain HUBZone certification, you can retain it as long as you and your company maintains compliance, continues to follow the HUBZone regulations, notifies the SBA of any material changes, and if you properly recertify. It’s important to understand that certification is not a lifetime certification. To maintain your HUBZone certification, a business must:

  • Recertify with the SBA every three years
  • Indicate a continued compliance with HUBZone requirements
  • Pass any conducted program examinations, including document reviews and/or site visits
  • Pass investigations of 3rd party referrals (Office of Inspector General, other federal agencies, Small Business Development Centers, Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, another office within the SBA, or the public) that suggest evidence of HUBZone non-compliance

The SBA will send you a notice around your third anniversary to signal that it’s time to recertify. There is no way for you to initiate the process. If you fail to recertify within 30 days of being prompted by the SBA, you will receive a notice of proposed decertification.

Decertification from HUBZone

Decertification can be a voluntarily action by the firm or a proposed action by the SBA. Regardless of the reason, a decertified firm is able to seek certification after 90 days from the date of decertification if the firm believes circumstances have changed, or if the firm is currently eligible.

During any certification or recertification process, make sure to check your email (including SPAM folders) for any requests for clarification from the SBA.

Resources

  1. The HUBZone Program – Documents and articles from the SBA.
  2. SBA’s HUBZone Video – Learn how HUBZone can help your small business.

 

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply