The government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses in historically underutilized business zones. It also gives preferential consideration to those businesses in full and open competition.
Joining the HUBZone program makes your business eligible to compete for the program’s set-aside contracts. HUBZone-certified businesses also get a 10% price evaluation preference in full and open contract competitions.
HUBZone-certified businesses can still compete for contract awards under other socio-economic programs they qualify for.
HUBZone program qualifications
To qualify for the HUBZone program, your business must:
- Be a small business according to SBA size standards
- Be at least 51% owned and controlled by U.S. citizens, a Community Development Corporation, an agricultural cooperative, an Alaska Native corporation, a Native Hawaiian organization, or an Indian tribe
- Have its principal office located in a HUBZone*
- Have at least 35% of its employees living in a HUBZone*
You can find the full qualification criteria in Title 13 Part 126 Subpart B of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
The HUBZone map changed on July 1, 2023. Check the new HUBZone map now to determine whether your principal office and employees are located in a HUBZone. Your firm’s eligibility to participate in the program might be impacted if your principal office is located, or your employees reside, in an area that no longer qualifies as a HUBZone. Learn how to navigate the updated HUBZone map.
Every five years the HUBZone program is required to update the HUBZone designations to ensure the program continues to serve the communities that are most in need of assistance. Most areas stay the same but some change. The 2023 map will be updated again in July 2028 to reflect changes to Qualified Census Tracts (QCTs) and Qualified Non-Metropolitan Counties (QNMCs), in 2026 to reflect expiring Redesignated Areas, and throughout any year to reflect new and expiring Governor-designated covered areas and Qualified Disaster Areas as appropriate. Learn about the different types of HUBZone Designations.
Certified HUBZone firms that are no longer eligible as of July 1, 2023 due to the map change may continue to participate in the HUBZone program through their following annual recertification.
The new HUBZone map is official as of July 1, 2023If your small business is located in a designated HUBZone, it may be eligible for set-aside government contracts.
Apply to get certified as a HUBZone small business
Before you can participate in the HUBZone program, you must be certified by SBA. Review the Top Tips for HUBZone Certification Tip Sheet and take these steps to get HUBZone certified. You can also find information about the program and eligibility guidelines in SBA's latest FAQ.
- Make sure you have a SAM.gov account.
- Register for an SBA Connect account and request access to the HUBZone portal. View the instructional video.
- Apply for HUBZone certification in the HUBZone portal. Log in to SBA Connect and select “HUBZone” before completing the prompts.
- Check your email (including spam folder) for time-sensitive instructions to electronically verify your application within 2 business days.
- Submit all requested supporting documentation within three business days; your submission cannot be assigned for eligibility review until all required documents are submitted. Be prepared to respond to requests for additional information from the HUBZone team within 5 business days. Failure to do so may result in a decline or withdraw of your application.
- Check that your status was updated in DSBS and SAM. Within 48 hours of your approval, SBA will automatically update your status in DSBS and SAM.
Read the instructions carefully to make sure you provide all the necessary information.
NEW ELIGIBILITY WORKBOOK TOOL!
SBA is testing a new eligibility workbook tool designed to help applicants organize, calculate, and present information related to their principal office and employee residency. Filling out the workbook tool and uploading it as part of your application will help expedite SBA’s review of your HUBZone application. We will be collecting feedback about the tool via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you wish to utilize the workbook, please follow the link above, download it in Excel to your computer, input the information using the instructions on the first tab, save your completed workbook to your computer, and upload it with the other required documents as part of your application submission. If you have questions about the workbook tool, reach out to email@example.com or join one of our open calls every Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. ET via toll-free number: 208-391-5817; Conference ID: 278 449 067, where members of our team answer questions to help firms navigate the certification process.
There is a new and improved supporting documents checklist.
You will be required to submit different supporting documentation based on your ownership structure.
Maintain HUBZone certification
You’ll need to recertify for the HUBZone program once a year. There is no limit to the length of time a business can participate as long as it continues to qualify. A program examination will be required at least every three years.
HUBZone businesses must notify SBA if their business is involved in a merger or acquisition or if HUBZone residency drops below 20% while performing on a HUBZone contract.
SBA may visit HUBZone businesses unannounced and conduct program examinations to verify the accuracy of any certification made or information provided as part of the HUBZone application or recertification process. For more information about continuing eligibility, view the Recertification Fact Sheet.
Get weekly information on eligibility assistance
Members of the HUBZone team answer questions on a weekly basis to help firms navigate the certification process.
|When||Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. ET|
|How||Find a local number, or call 208-391-5817 and enter conference ID #278449067|