What Is the Historically Underutilized Business Zone (Hubzone) Business Certification
Why Get Certified
The HUBZone program was created by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to encourage companies to choose locations and hire employees in disadvantaged areas. The underlying goal of this program is to encourage economic growth in these regions and to help the people and businesses that already reside in HUBZones.
As a HUBZone-certified business, you have increased competitive access to government contracts and subcontracts, including sole-source contracts where you are the only company bidding. To further increase business opportunities, the federal government strives to award 3% of all prime contracts to small, HUBZone-certified businesses. Your certification also entitles you to a 10% price evaluation preference when bidding on full, open contracts and subcontracts.
For individuals living in a HUBZone, this program increases your chances of finding work close to home. All HUBZone-certified businesses must hire at least 35% of their employees from economically disadvantaged areas, so you have a better opportunity to find work within your community. This program encourages local cooperation and puts businesses in the best position to benefit the local economy.
Once your business is certified, you can join the Coupa community of diverse suppliers. This searchable platform makes it easy for large companies to find and select your business for their product and service needs. The next time a Fortune 2000 company is looking for a certified-diverse business, you’ll be in the best position to meet their needs.
How to Get Certified
Before you can apply for the HUBZone certification, you must meet strict requirements, which include:
- Your business must qualify as a small business under SBA standards
- It must be at least 51% controlled and owned by American citizens or an Indian tribe, Community Development Organization, or an agricultural cooperative
- Your main location must be in a HUBZone, which includes military bases closed under the Base Realignment and Closure Act and lands that are considered “Indian Country”
- At least 35% of your employees must reside in a HUBZone
If you meet these requirements, you can apply for your HUBZone certification. To apply, follow these steps:
- Use the application guide, HUBZone Primer, and Certification FAQ to prepare before beginning the application process.
- Register with the following websites:
- Dun & Bradstreet for your DUNS ID number
- System for Award Management (SAM) to register your Tax Identification Number (TIN) or Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS), which will display your certification status
- SBA’s General Login System, where you must register each person who may update your information.
- Review the supporting documents you will upload as part of your application. You can find a list of these documents, a helpful checklist, and uploading instructions at the supporting documentation request page.
- Complete and submit your HUBZone certification application online.
- Follow the instructions in the automated email you will receive after submitting your application. You must log into the General Login System within 10 business days of submitting your application to verify your application data. You then have an additional 10 business days to upload any additional necessary documentation.
Once you are certified, you must follow HUBZone regulations, maintain compliance, notify the SBA of any material changes, and recertify every three years to keep your certification. Failure to follow these requirements may lead to an SBA decertification. You can also voluntarily decertify at any time.
Benefits of Diversity & Inclusion
For businesses and people located in underutilized areas, economic growth is limited by high unemployment rates and low median household incomes. In these distressed areas, many people have limited employment opportunities, which also stagnates the local economy. Because of these limitations, the federal government considers HUBZone business owners a ‘disadvantaged’ segment of society and has created programs to offer assistance and opportunities for growth. By earning a HUBZone business certification, disadvantaged businesses can help develop a strong, diverse global supply chain that positively affects their community, employees, and customers.
Already certified? Want to reach bigger buyers? Join the Coupa community for better opportunities and help support a sustainable global supply chain of diverse business owners just like you.