SBA announces significant changes coming to the HUBZone Program, expands opportunities to participate

“The U.S. Small Business Administration today issued a final rule that will implement changes to the Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) program that will make the program more attractive to small businesses and encourage them to invest in HUBZone communities and hire HUBZone residents. The new rule changes will also make it easier for federal contracting officers to identify and work with HUBZone-certified small businesses. The rule is published in the Federal Register and effective December 26, 2019.”

“The exciting improvements outlined in this rule were designed to address longstanding uncertainty from both small businesses contemplating an investment in a designated HUBZone, as well as government agencies which seek to use HUBZone companies. We anticipate that these impactful changes will lead to the increased use of HUBZone certified small businesses across the country,” said Acting SBA Administrator Chris Pilkerton. “Further, additional program enhancements which will expand the HUBZone footprint and provide greater support to HUBZone eligible small businesses will allow contracting officers to better identify more HUBZone firms and get federal contracts into the hands of those businesses.”

“Under the rule, the following changes to the HUBZone program will become effective:

Greater Certainty and Expanded Opportunity Regarding Geographic Eligibility and Residency Requirements

  • An employee who resided in a HUBZone for at least six months at the time of certification or recertification, and continues to reside in a HUBZone for at least six months, may continue to be considered a HUBZone resident so long as the individual is employed by the firm, even if he/she moves to a non-HUBZone area, or if the area of his/her residence loses HUBZone geographical eligibility.
  • HUBZone maps, currently frozen through 2021, will be updated every five years (as opposed to annually), using data from the Census Bureau, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of Labor. Areas will continue to maintain HUBZone designation as for a three-year transition period following the expiration of HUBZone Qualified Census Tracts and Qualified Non-metropolitan Counties.
  • Small businesses that invest in HUBZones by purchasing a building or entering into a long-term lease (i.e., 10-year lease or longer) in a HUBZone, may maintain HUBZone certification for a period of…” Read the full press release here.

Source: SBA Issues Final Rule to Expand HUBZone Opportunities to Small Businesses and Revitalize Communities, November 26, 2019. SBA.

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