SBA is slowly going digital. The Agency rolled out Certify.SBA.gov last year and is in the process of transitioning all of its programs to the site. According to Certify.SBA.gov, the site is currently only available for Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) and Mentor Protégé programs. The timeline for fully incorporating the rest of the programs are as follows: 8(a) in Winter 2017; HUBZone in Spring 2017; and Dynamic Small Business Search in Summer 2017.
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The Historically Underutilized Business Zone or HUBZone program was created in 1997 to encourage economic development in HUBZones, which are areas that typically have low median household incomes and/or high unemployment.
In order to participate in the HUBZone program and take advantage of the program benefits (please visit our blog here to read about the program benefits), a company needs to meet a number of eligibility criteria, including:
We often hear about companies in year 5 (or later) of their 9-year 8(a) BD program term voluntarily withdraw from the program and/or express unhappiness with the program because they haven't yet received an 8(a) contract. More often than not, this situation is a result of a misconception on the firm's part that once in the 8(a) program, Federal contracts will just miraculously fall into their lap. The reality is that getting an 8(a) sole-source contract requires a lot of time and effort on the part of the 8(a) firm. This blog post will provide a general overview of the various paths to an 8(a) sole-source award.
Recent GAO Decision Reminds Us That 8(a) Sole-Source Contracts Are Difficult to Protest (And Prevail on)