We’ve written quite a few posts about how contractors can adapt and deal with the changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some small businesses federal contractors, however, face unique challenges. This is particularly true of participants in the HUBZone Program. Specifically, while the OMB has encouraged agencies to allow contractor employees to telework, how will this affect HUBZone entities, where the location of their employees is key to maintaining their HUBZone status?
Well, the SBA has the answer in some recent guidance, and it’s something we could all probably do with a little more of–flexibility. Flexibility, in this case, means that SBA realizes complying with the principal office and employee residency requirements may be tough during a time when all people are encouraged to telework. The flexibility applies to a few of the HUBZone rules.
If you were to fire up the ol’ Google and search for the phrase “hubzone map” guess what you would get—not one but two links that purport to be the Small Business Administration’s Historically Underutilized Business Development Zone (HUBZone) program map.
Is there any indication which is the correct map? No. Might one return false results? Yes.
Just last week during a Govology webinar on Women-Owned Small Businesses, one of the attendees asked my colleague Haley Claxton and I an insightful question about the different standards for giving sole source awards to participants in various government programs. She wanted to know the difference between how contracting officers go about offering an 8(a) sole source award and a WOSB sole source award.
I had to admit, the practical, ground-level, nitty gritty business of how these awards are doled out doesn’t actually come across my desk that much.
SBA proposed a major revamp of how it will interpret and enforce the HUBZone program’s rules back in October of 2019. We wrote about the major changes in a couple of posts (here and here) as well as some of the common misconceptions that SBA cleared up as part of the proposed rule.
Well, the wait is over. SBA will release the final rule November 26 and the new rules will become effective on December 26, 2019.
Amidst the news cycle focusing on the government shutdown, there is some other action in the House of Representatives that recently caught our eye.
The House recently passed a bill called the “Expanding Contracting Opportunities for Small Businesses Act of 2019.” If the bill becomes law, we will see a dramatic expansion in the size of sole source contracts for SDVOSBs, WOSBs, and HUBZones.