SBA proposes HUBZone rule change

Acquisition officials intend to align governmentwide contracting rules with Small Business Administration regulations concerning companies based in poorer regions of the country, according to a Federal Register notice issued Monday.

Businesses in Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZones) would have to be certified HUBZone companies from the time an agency opens a contract for competition until it awards the contract, according to the proposed rule change to the Federal Acquisition Regulation.

A HUBZone business bidding on a set-aside contract would have to alert agency officials about any modifications that could affect its eligibility to get that contract if the changes happen before a contract is awarded. The business would have to provide the agency’s contracting officer with a written copy describing the changes, such as new ownership or a move of the principal office from the HUBZone area, the notice states.

If the first-choice HUBZone company doesn’t meet the criteria at the time of award, the contract would go to the company with the next best bid, the proposed rule states.

SBA’s rules have included those requirements for several years. In a discussion of the finalized rules in 2004, officials said they recognized that companies often go through changes during the time between submitting a bid and receiving an award, “but SBA believes awarding a HUBZone contract to a concern that does not meet the requirements of the program provides no help to the HUBZone community or its residents.”

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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