The Historically Underutilized Business Zones or HUBZone Program is a small business Federal contracting program that was created in 1997 to encourage economic development in HUBZones. These areas typically have low median household incomes and/or high unemployment rates. HUBZone program benefits include set-aside and sole-source opportunities, a 10% price evaluation preference in full and open contract competitions, and subcontracting opportunities. Unlike self-certifying programs, there is an application process for the HUBZone program so it’s important that you’re prepared for it.
2.Review SBA’s Guides and Checklists – Take a look at SBA’s HUBZone application resources by clicking here. SBA’s “Application Guide” includes all of the questions on the online application. Sine the online application is timed, it’s best to have all the information readily available when you start. SBA also provides various “Supporting Document Requests” lists for each type of business structure. These requests include a detailed list and explanation of the documents required to complete your application. Again, because there are strict time limits (see below) established during the application process, make sure you have these documents readily available and before you complete your online application.
3.Complete the Online Application – Currently, the HUBZone online application is done on SBA’s General Login System (GLS). The online application includes general business information as well as employee and financial information. The online application is timed, so you have to complete the application at one time. You can’t save the application and log back in at a later time to complete it. After completing all sections of the online application and then submitting it on GLS, you must electronically verify your application. SBA will email you instructions to verify your application. You must verify your application within 10 business days of submitting your online application. SBA will not process your application if it is not verified.
4.Submit Supporting Documents – After your online application is verified, you have 10 business days to submit all supporting documents electronically to SBA. SBA’s “Supporting Document Requests,” as noted above, includes instructions for submitting those documents. Make sure you follow these instructions very closely as SBA does require some documents to cover specific time periods (i.e. electronic verification date) or include specific information (i.e. employee ID with physical home address).
5.Address SBA questions – SBA will email you if you they have any questions or need additional documentation. Since all correspondence will be done via email, make sure you check your e-mail, including your SPAM folder, and meet the deadlines established by SBA.
After SBA completes their review of your application, they will e-mail you a decision. According to SBA, complete applications are finalized in roughly 90 days. However, the timeline varies depending on the business and its particular circumstances.
For more information on this or other issues relevant to small businesses in Federal contracting, please contact us at (808) 369-9710 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.