HUBZone is a company level diversity certification referring to the Historically Underutilized Business Zone program that helps small businesses located in distressed areas gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities. The HUBZone program is in place to increase employment opportunities, investment and economic development in these areas. The Small Business Administration (SBA) regulates and implements the HUBZone program. HUBZones are defined as distressed rural and urban communities, typically having low median household incomes, high unemployment or both; the location of these communities is determined by data gathered from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Bureau of the Census, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Department of Defense.
To be eligible for HUBZone certification, an organization must be a small business (according to SBA standards), be owned and controlled at least 51% by U.S. citizens, or a Community Development Corporation, an agricultural cooperative or an Indian tribe, be located within a “Historically Underutilized Business Zone” and at least 35% of its employees must reside in a HUBZone.
Companies wishing to become HUBZone certified must complete an online application on the SBA’s site. If the application is complete and accepted, additional supporting documentation will be requested. Companies must undergo recertification every three years. Unless it is determined that an organization no longer meets all of the HUBZone program requirements, certification will continue as long as all eligibility requirements continue to be met.