The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced the launch of a new Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) preview map, which shows that hundreds of firms in newly released designated underserved areas will become eligible to apply for HUBZone certification, enabling them to compete for billions of dollars in federal contracts set aside for HUBZone-certified firms, to create jobs, and to improve the economy in their communities.
“By channeling a record $14 billion in federal purchases to HUBZone-certified small firms last year, the Biden-Harris Administration gave a critical financial boost to hundreds of entrepreneurs in economically disadvantaged rural and urban areas,” said Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “The HUBZone Program is an essential component of President Biden’s commitment to expanding federal contracting opportunities for small businesses across the country.”
The HUBZone preview map shows changes that are scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2023, reflecting updates from the 2020 U.S. Census. HUBZones are designated based on economic and population data from the Census Bureau and other federal agencies, using a formula established by Congress. The map update highlights growth opportunities for small businesses in more than 20,000 HUBZone areas across the United States and Territories, including 3,732 newly qualified communities.
“For small businesses in new HUBZone areas, SBA’s certification provides a gateway to billions of dollars in federal contracting opportunities, contributing to the economic growth and strengthening of underserved communities while also ensuring that employment opportunities benefit the people living in communities that most need positive economic impact,” said Lori Gillen, Director of the Office of the HUBZone Program.
At the same time, according to the new map, many currently HUBZone-designated areas will no longer qualify for participation in the program because they have outgrown their disadvantaged status thanks to increased employment, increased average incomes, or other signs of positive economic development. To provide a sufficient off-ramp for communities losing this designation, the expiration of their HUBZone status is being extended until
July 1, 2026, providing firms and communities additional time to transition.
In addition, HUBZone-certified firms with principal offices in areas that have been in “Redesignated” status since 2018, and whose communities have had time to transition out of the program will officially lose their HUBZone eligibility after July 1, 2023, unless they relocate their principal offices to qualifying areas.
Before the upcoming changes, HUBZone-certified firms should verify that they will meet the 35 percent HUBZone employee residency and principal office requirements on their annual recertification anniversary date following July 1, 2023. Firms eligible at the time of offer for a HUBZone contract are generally considered to be HUBZone firms through the life of that contract, meaning current HUBZone contracts will not be disrupted by the map update.
For a map of current HUBZones, visit https://maps.certify.sba.gov/hubzone/map.
The preview of the new HUBZone map, which will go into effect on July 1, is available at https://preview-maps.certify.sba.gov/.
The SBA encourages small businesses to learn more about the HUBZone Program at the SBA website: https://www.sba.gov/federal-contracting/contracting-assistance-programs/hubzone-program.
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