Addison County a target for preference in federal contracts

MONTPELIER — The U.S. government recently expanded its Historically Underutilized Business Zones program in Vermont. As a result, Addison County has been designated as a HUBZone due to the 2011 closures of Courcelle Brothers U.S. Army Reserve Command in Rutland and Chester, Vt. Bennington, Orange, Rutland, Windham and Windsor counties have also been designated as HUBZone due to the closures.
The HUBZone program assists small businesses in gaining preferential access to federal contracts due to limited economic development in rural communities. The SBA changed its regulations to implement certain sections of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016.
Among other things, these sections expanded the definition of “base closure area” under the HUBZone program. Orleans County is an existing HUBZone based on unemployment data, and Essex County continues to be designated as a HUBZone based on income and unemployment data. “Half of the state is going to benefit from this.
Small businesses in these HUBZone areas can apply to become HUBZone certified and once they obtain the certification they can bid on HUBZone contracts,” said Darcy Carter, SBA Acting New England Regional Administrator. The U.S. government has a goal of awarding 3 percent of all federal prime contract dollars to HUBZone certified businesses. HUBZone businesses are also eligible to receive a 10 percent price evaluation preference in full and open competition procurements.
To get certified, the business must be small, its principal office must be in a HUBZone, at least 35 percent of its employees must reside within a HUBZone and the small business must be at least 51 percent owned by U.S. citizens, or be a business owned by an Indian Tribal Government, an Alaska Native Corporation, a Community Development Corporation, a Native Hawaiian Organization, or be a small agricultural cooperative.
“The SBA will be partnering with the Vermont Procurement Technical Assistance Center to provide educational workshops in these counties about the HUBZone Program and how to get certified. Any business interested in learning more about the HUBZone program and the certification process should contact the VT PTAC,” said Robin Miller, VT PTAC director.
VT PTAC is a state agency tasked with increasing the percentage of federal contracts awarded to Vermont businesses with particular emphasis on small businesses. VT PTAC assists with counseling, market research, bid proposals and other contract issues. VT PTAC can be reached at 802-828-5237 or accd.ptac@vermont.gov.
The SBA HUBZone office offers eligibility assistance teleconferences Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 3 p.m. EST. Participants influence the topics by their questions and HUBZone staff facilitates the discussion by providing the answers and introducing specific topics as time allows. To participate, call the number listed at www.sba.gov/hubzone.

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