The Small Business Administration (SBA) just rolled out a series of significant changes to the Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) Program. The Final Rule is found here and is now in effect (and has been since December 26, 2019).
The aim of the HUBZone Program is to encourage small business participation in specific geographic areas identified by the Government. In order to take advantage of the Program’s set-aside contracting opportunities, a business must not only be located in the underutilized area, but must also employ residents of the community (specifically, in order to qualify as a HUBZone, 35% of employees must live in a HUBZone designated area).
These requirements – and the employee residency requirement, in particular – previously made establishing and maintaining HUBZone compliance a challenge. In fact, running a HUBZone certified company often felt like trying to hit a moving target.
The Final Rule aims to encourage greater use of the HUBZone Program and remove some of the uncertainty outlined above. Many of the changes are also meant to maximize the benefit to the residents of underutilized communities.
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