Agency Is Taking a New Look at HUBZone Program for Small Businesses

Although it is not giving much detail about precisely what it plans to do, the Small Business Administration has announced that it has been reviewing the processes and procedures that it uses for implementing its HUBZone program and that it has determined that several of the program’s regulations should be amended in order to resolve certain issues that have recently arisen. It did not say what those issues were.
HUBZone contractors are firms that serve Historically Underutilized Business Zones , which can be located in rural or urban areas. Since 1998, HUBZone contractors have received preferences in competitions for federal government opportunities and contracts. The preference program allows small businesses to obtain certification through the SBA as HUBZone contractors. They are required to hire 35 percent of their employees from these zones and to establish a principal office in these zones.
The SBA has announced that its review would constitute a comprehensive revision of part 126 of its regulations, which are the ones governing HUBZones. It would clarify current HUBZone program regulations and implement various new procedures.
The SBA’s review may constitute good news for small businesses that wish to be HUBZone contractors. The amendments, the agency says, “will serve to streamline the HUBZone program and ease program eligibility requirements, particularly those that the small business concerns perceive to be burdensome.” If the agency acts to reduce the record-keeping and eligibility burdens, those steps would be beneficial to those companies that wish to participate.
At the same time, the SBA says, it will maintain a framework that helps identify and reduce waste, fraud and abuse in the program. It plans to complete the process and issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by October 1, 2013.
We would encourage our readers who participate in the HUBZone program or are interested in the program to stay current with this issue and to make comments, if they wish, to the SBA. We can be of assistance to small businesses that wish to articulate their concerns or comments to the agency.
The agency’s contact is Mariana Pardo, Deputy Director, Office of HUBZone, Small Business Administration, 409 3rd Street SW., Washington, DC 20416, Phone: 202 205-2985, Email:

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