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SBA Announces New Qualified HUBZones in Puerto Rico

82% of Island Receives HUBZone Designation
Release Date: 
Thursday, June 16, 2016
Release Number: 
16-10
Contact: 
Angelique Adjutant (787) 766-5570

SAN JUAN, PR – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) today announced the designation of an additional 516 census tracts qualified as Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZones) in Puerto Rico, for a new total of 776 HUBZone qualified census tracts on the island, including Roosevelt Roads, which has been designated as a HUBZone until May 17, 2020.

“In keeping with the spirit and intent of the HUBZone program, it has been determined to use Qualified Census Tract data without the population cap calculation applied by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for purposes of implementing the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit,” said John Shoraka, SBA Associate Administrator for Government Contracting and Business Development.

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is a tax incentive intended to increase the availability of affordable rental housing. The LIHTC statute establishes Qualified Census Tracts (QCTs) based on poverty rate and household income, but ultimately limits the number of QCTs by applying a cap based on the population of a given area. As a result, there are some census tracts which meet the general definition of QCT based on poverty rate and household income, but which do not qualify for the LIHTC. Until recently, the SBA applied the same analysis for purposes of designating QCTs as HUBZones. However, SBA has determined that it is more appropriate to use the QCT data without applying the population cap in order to be consistent with the goals of the HUBZone program.

“The new HUBZone designations translate into added incentives and further growth opportunities for small firms in Puerto Rico,” said SBA District Director Yvette T. Collazo. “The municipalities of Adjuntas, Coamo, Culebra, Jayuya, Las Marías, Maricao, Salinas, Santa Isabel, Utuado and Vieques have been designated as HUBZones in their entirety. In addition, these and the remaining 68 municipalities contain census tracts that have been designated as HUBZones.”

Previously, there were a total of 260 HUBZone QCTs in Puerto Rico, representing 27.5 percent of all census tracts on the island.  With the new designations, there are now 776 –or 82.1 percent.

Nationwide, removing the population cap has resulted in 2,015 additional census tracts that qualify as HUBZone areas, with Puerto Rico benefiting the most with the additional 516 eligible census tracts. 

The Speaker of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, Jaime Perelló, stated: “We have worked intensely and together with SBA to obtain greater benefits for our small and medium enterprises (SMEs), thus increasing Puerto Rico’s participation in the HUBZone program. The first step toward our goal was the HUBZone designation for Roosevelt Roads. Today, we announce a 55 percent increase in the HUBZone qualified census tracts. This means that we achieved HUBZone designation for 82 percent of the island. I am grateful for SBA’s commitment to Puerto Rico and for working as a team to foster our economy through our SMEs.  We will continue our joint efforts to designate the entire island as a HUBZone.”

The Puerto Rico House leader and SBA District Director Collazo also announced a joint orientation event aimed at aspiring and existing SMEs who are interested in learning about HUBZone certification and the program’s benefits.  This event will be held as part of the Fuerza PyME initiative. Event details will be announced soon.

Launched in 1998, the HUBZone Program is a nationwide federal contracting program aimed at stimulating growth in economically disadvantaged communities. The requirements for HUBZone certification include the conditions that a firm’s principal office must be located in a HUBZone and at least 35 percent of its employees must reside in a HUBZone.

For more information about the HUBZone Contracting Program, please visit www.sba.gov/hubzone.   To locate a HUBZone area within your municipality, or to learn if you are currently located in a HUBZone area, please visit the HUBZone Maps page available on the HUBZone website.

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