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HUBZone Program Background

The Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) Contracting Program encourages small businesses to locate in and hire employees from economically disadvantaged areas of the United States.  Companies participating in the program can receive competitive advantages in winning federal contracts. 

The HUBZone Empowerment Act became law as part of the Small Business Reauthorization Act of 1997.  The Small Business Administration (SBA) regulates and implements the program, determines which businesses are eligible to receive HUBZone contracts, maintains a database of qualified HUBZone businesses, and adjudicates protests of eligibility to receive HUBZone contracts. 

HUBZones are determined by economic indicators and include qualified urban and suburban census tracts, non-metropolitan counties, lands within the external boundaries of Indian reservations, qualified base closure areas, and/or other designated areas.  See HUBZone Map for more details.

There is a government-wide goal for most agencies to award at least three percent (3%) of their eligible federal contracting dollars to HUBZone-certified firms.  Although several agencies have met or exceeded this goal over the years, it has never been achieved government-wide. 

Almost all federal agencies participate in the HUBZone program.  However, (1) the provisions of the Small Business Act apply only to procurements made in the United States and (2) most procurements made by the U.S. Postal Service, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the U.S. Congress.

HUBZone participation in GSA Schedule transactions is available at the discretion of contracting officers.  For more information, refer the FAR 8.405-5.

HUBZone Certification Requirements

A business must meet the following criteria to become certified as a HUBZone company:

  • The firm must be a 'small business' according to the size standards based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).  
  • The firm must be at least 51% owned and controlled by citizens of the United States (or a community development corporation, an agricultural cooperative, or an Indian tribe).
  • The firm's principal office (where the greatest number of employees perform their work, excluding contract sites) must be located in a designated HUBZone area.
  • At least 35% of the firm's total workforce must reside in a designated HUBZone area.

To apply for HUBZone certification, companies are encouraged to use the electronic application on the SBA website.  

HUBZone Program Testimonials

HUBZone Program Application Information (SBA)

HUBZone Primer Audio/Visual Presentation

Supporting Certification Application Documentation Checklist

Email SBA with General Questionsabout the HUBZone Program

Email SBA with Material Changes about Your HUBZone Status


Questions?  Try These Resources.

The U.S. Small Business Administration's HUBZone Office holds conference calls semi-weekly, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2 to 3 pm ET, when SBA staff address specific eligibility topics followed by a general question and answer session.  To use this service, call 888-858-2144 and enter the access code 1875223#. 

Firms seeking specific application status updates or answers about supporting documentation should contact their SBA HUBZone Business Opportunity Specialist -- or send a message to

For more information, visit Help Desk (member login required).

SBA's Frequently Asked Questions about HUBZones

Code of Federal Regulations - HUBZone Program
(13 CFR 126)

Federal Acquisition Regulations - HUBZone Program
(48 CFR CH 1 - Subpart 19.13)

Small Business Size Regulations
(13 CFR 121)

Small Business Administration Reauthorization Act of 1977 (Public Law 105-135 - HUBZone Program)
U.S. Code - Title 15 (Commerce & Trade) - Sec 657a (HUBZone Program)

Small Business Administration Regional Business Development Centers

Small Business Administration Regional & District Offices

Small Business Administration 7(j) Management & Technical Assistance for Small Businesses


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