The launch of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s new Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) maps (via Google Chrome) at www.sba.gov/hubzone-maps just got a little bit easier to navigate for small business owners. Thanks in part to the agency’s efforts to modernize the site for small firms looking to gain access to federal government contracting opportunities.
“The revised HUBZone maps will help New Jersey small businesses in urban and rural communities determine if they are eligible to participate in the HUBZone program,” said SBA New Jersey District Director Al Titone. “It features the latest HUBZone designations, “Qualified Disaster Areas” and new features to improve usability and assist with HUBZone address assertions.”
Under the program, small businesses located or looking to relocate in a HUBZone may gain access to competitive and sole source contracting opportunities from the federal government, as well as a 10 percent price evaluation preference in full and open contract competitions and subcontracting opportunities.
According to SBA Administrator Linda McMahon, this is the first step in the modernization effort of SBA’s federal contracting programs. SBA has partnered with the U.S. Digital Service to streamline and enhance online services for small businesses.
“We are excited about our partnership with the White House’s U.S. Digital Service and the improvements made to the HUBZone maps to modernize SBA’s contracting programs – making them more user-friendly, agile and nimble for the busy entrepreneurs that we support,” McMahon said. “This is one of many projects that we have worked on with the USDS team to leverage technology to support America’s small businesses.”
“There are approximately 60 HUBZone designations located throughout New Jersey,” said Titone. “By simply adding a street address, town and zip code, a small business owner can now easily determine whether they are located in a designated HUBZone. The federal government has a goal of awarding 3 percent of all dollars for federal prime contracts to HUBZone-certified small business concerns. This new tool is a game-changer for small business looking to access those contracting opportunities.”
In March 2016, the SBA launched certify.SBA.gov–a modernized, web-based application to further streamline and improve the application and certification processes for small businesses and entrepreneurs seeking to do business with the federal government. Certify currently facilitates complete application and certification workflow for the Women Owned Small Business Program, including access to third party certification for women-owned small businesses. To help firms assess their eligibility for SBA contracting programs, Certify’ s “Am I Eligible?” tool helps small businesses determine if the certification programs are a good fit for their businesses through a series of questions. The site will eventually serve additional SBA certification programs, including 8(a) Business Development Program and the HUBZone Program.
In addition to the roll out of the new HUBZone maps, the SBA is offering HUBZone eligibility assistance for small business owners on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-3pm ET via toll free number: 1-888-858-2144 access code 5540055#. Participants influence the topics by their questions. HUBZone staff facilitates the discussion by providing the answers and introducing specific topics as time allows. This format offers the opportunity to learn how to maintain eligibility and to decrease the possibility of an initial application being declined or being decertified after obtaining the HUBZone certification. Small business owners, who are seeking status information, need help in resolving technical difficulties, or need individualized assistance may also email their questions to email@example.com .Related Articles: