SBA Inspector General Questions Legality of Relaxed HUBZone Residency Rule

Last December, SBA overhauled its HUBZone Program rules in an effort to make it easier for companies to obtain and maintain HUBZone certification–and to help the Government stop falling so woefully short of the three percent HUBZone prime contracting goal.

But now, in a new report, SBA’s internal watchdog is questioning whether one of those HUBZone Program changes went too far.

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SBA Provides Flexibility for HUBZone Compliance

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.

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SBA Issues Guidance on New HUBZone Rules

Can a business seeking HUBZone status give employees bonuses or higher wages to entice them to live in a HUBZone?

According to new guidance published by the U.S. Small Business Administration, yes. But that’s not the only question addressed in the guidance.

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New HUBZone Rules Kick In December 26

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.

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HUBZone Program: SBA’s Proposed Rule Clears Up Some Common Misconceptions

Last week, the SBA released a proposal to overhaul the HUBZone Program.  The proposed rule will make major changes to almost all aspects of the HUBZone Program, and my colleagues are covering those changes in a series of two posts on SmallGovCon.

But while the proposed HUBZone Program rule changes will garner most of the headlines, the SBA also has used the proposed rule as an opportunity to clear up a few very common HUBZone Program misconceptions–such as the notion that so-called “jobsite employees” don’t count toward the 35% HUBZone residency requirement.

Here are three of the most important clarifications SBA offered in the proposed HUBZone rule.

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5 Things You Should Know: HUBZone Program (The Basics)

5 Things has previously discussed 8(a) Program basics and eligibility requirements. But the 8(a) Program isn’t the only socioeconomic program benefiting small businesses. In this post, we’ll begin exploring another crucial program for small businesses: the Historically Underutilized Business Zone—or HUBZone—program.

Here are five things you should know about the HUBZone program.

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SBA Considering 8(a), HUBZone Changes

The SBA is considering making changes to improve its socioeconomic programs–particularly the 8(a) and HUBZone Programs.

In a talk yesterday at the 2017 Navy Gold Coast Procurement Conference, Robb Wong, the SBA’s recently-appointed Associate Administrator, Office of Government Contracting and Business Development, discussed some of the big changes the SBA is considering.  And to my ears, at least, a lot of what Mr. Wong said makes good sense.

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