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As HUBZone capabilities grow, ICE acquisition chief thinks goals might be reached

The HUBZone category remains an elusive goal for many government agencies, but leaders at the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency recognize that HUBZone companies are more capable than they once were.

Speaking at Washington Technology’s Homeland Security Industry Day on Thursday, ICE chief acquisition officer Bill Weinberg listed information on his agency’s small business goals:

For small businesses, ICE’s goal was 37.5 percent of contract dollars. The agency hit 38.5 percent, or $530.4 million in obligated dollars. The goal was met.

For small disadvantaged businesses, ICE’s goal was 9 percent of contract dollars. The agency hit 17.9 percent, or $247.4 million in obligated dollars. The goal was met.

For 8(a) companies, ICE’s goal was 4.5 percent of contract dollars. The agency hit 7.2 percent, or $99 million in obligated dollars. The goal was met.

For HUBZone companies, ICE’s goal was 3 percent of contract dollars. The agency hit 2.5 percent, or $34.9 million in obligated dollars. The goal was not met.

For woman-owned small businesses, ICE’s goal was 5 percent of contract dollars. The agency hit 9.5 percent, or $130.9million in obligated dollars. The goal was met.

For service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses, ICE’s goal was 3 percent of contract dollars. The agency hit 7.8 percent, or $107.6 million in obligated dollars. The goal was met.

HUBZone was the only small business category that the agency did not meet in fiscal 2016, but this may not be the case forever, Weinberg said.

"When they developed the goal in the [small business] program, it used to be that HUBZone companies were not really capable. You may not have had something that a HUBZone company could do,” he said.

But that is changing. “We are starting to see some very capable HUBZone companies, and if we can see enough HUBZone companies in a particular field, we can set aside [contracts] for them. And we certainly want to do that,” Weinberg said.

All signs point up as well, he added, because ICE tends to do smaller procurements, which lend themselves to small businesses.

About the Author

Mark Hoover is a senior staff writer with Washington Technology. You can contact him at mhoover@washingtontechnology.com, or connect with him on Twitter at @mhooverWT.

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