Imagine a contracting assistance mechanism that saves federal program managers time and headaches, and boosts small businesses in America. This is HUBZone procurement.
In 1997, Congress passed the Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) Empowerment Act. The program, administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), continues to evolve. But its core mission remains; Fuel small business growth in developing parts of the country.
Under the act, agencies of the U.S. Federal Government are required to allocate at least 3% of their contracts to HUBZone-designated companies. These businesses must meet specific requirements around location, ownership, and workforce demographics.
The benefits of HUBZone to U.S. companies and communities are clear. But agencies stand to gain, too… Not only by meeting the 3% requirement, but also by potentially simplifying and speeding procurement via several contract types.
Competitive Set-Aside: The government generally requires full and open competition for procurement contracts. However, a set-aside can be awarded if the contracting officer has a reasonable expectation that at least two responsible, SBA-certified HUBZone businesses will submit offers at a fair market price.
Sole-Source: Sole-Source awards can be proposed without competition, so long as the contracting officer doesn’t expect that at least two qualified HUBZone small businesses will submit offers, and that the contract can be awarded at a fair price.
Full and Open Competition: In this scenario, a HUBZone-certified partner can receive “price evaluation preference,” in which its offer must be considered lower than a non-HUBZone business, provided that offer is no more than 10% higher.
Whether set-aside or sole-source, agencies can expect easier, faster evaluations with the typically-smaller submission pool of a HUBZone acquisition strategy. And while an open competition environment does not necessarily lead to streamlined procurement, an agency can still work toward or fulfill its mandated 3% quota.
You can find HUBZone-certified contractors via the SBA’s Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS). The SBA’s website and contracting area offices are also a wealth of the most up-to-date information as you undertake your procurement. And consider Nomad a resource. We’re a HUBZone business ourselves, and we’ve helped agencies navigate these waters for years!
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