Certifications

Certain small business owners may qualify for specific SBA and other government set-aside programs based on a variety of factors. Please contact one of our business advisors to ensure that your business is taking full advantage of the programs and certifications that could apply to you or your geographic place of business.

HUBZone Certification

Alabama HUBZONE Map

The Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) program helps small businesses in urban and rural communities gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities. These preferences go to small businesses that obtain HUBZone certification in part by employing staff who live in a HUBZone. The company must also maintain a “principal office” in one of these specially designated areas.  While entire counties can be considered HUBZones (see map), the actual zone is determined by your census tract.  For example, while the whole of Tuscaloosa County is not a HUBZone, there are multiple census tracts within the county that do qualify.  Enter your primary business address into te HUBZone mapping tool to determine if you qualify.

Contact one of our business advisors to discuss how to successfully apply for, utilize, and maintain your HUBZone status.

Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program

The Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract program authorizes contracting officers to set aside certain federal contracts for eligible:

  • Women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) or
  • Economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSBs)

To be eligible for the WOSB program, a firm must be at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more women, and primarily managed by one or more women. The women must be U.S. citizens. The firm must qualify as “small” according to its primary industry (primary NAICS) based on SBA’s size standards for that industry. To be deemed “economically disadvantaged,” the owner(s) of the WOSB must demonstrate economic disadvantage in accordance with SBA regulations.

While third-party certification is available, women owned small business may self-certify.  For a quick overview of the WOSB Program and what businesses need to do to participate, click here to view a short presentation.  The WOSB Compliance Guide provides step-by-step guidance on how to self-certify your women owned small business.

SBA 8(a) Business Development Program

The 8(a) Business Development Program is a business assistance program for small disadvantaged businesses. The 8(a) Program offers a broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned and controlled at least 51% by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals with the goal of providing these entrepreneurs with access to the economic mainstream of American society. The programs helps thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs to gain a foothold in government contracting.  Participation in the program is divided into two phases over nine years: a four-year developmental stage and a five-year transition stage.

  • Participants can receive sole-source contracts, up to a ceiling of $4 million for goods and services and $6.5 million for manufacturing. While the Alabama SBDC Network business advisor are glad to help 8(a) firms build their competitive and institutional know-how, we strongly encourage them to participate in competitive acquisitions.  Participants are responsible for securing their own contracts after they graduate from this time-limited program.
  • 8(a) firms are also able to form joint ventures and teams to bid on contracts. This enhances the ability of 8(a) firms to perform larger prime contracts and overcome the effects of contract bundling, the combining of two or more contracts together into one large contract.  A Mentor-Protégé Program allows starting 8(a) companies to learn the ropes from other experienced 8(a) businesses.

Interested in applying for the 8(a) program?  Wonder if you qualify?  Contact one of our procurement specialists today.

Veteran-Owned Small Business

The verification process for Veteran-owned businesses can be somewhat complicated.  Fortunately, efforts are being made to assist Veteran-Owned Small Business/Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (VOSB/SDVOSB) with the verification process and applicability of the Veterans First policies.  Contact one of our procurement specialists for fast answers.

The core requirements for a small business to become verified are:

  1. The Veteran owner(s) have direct and unconditional ownership of at least 51% of the small business and have total unconditional control (full decision making authority;
  2. The Veteran manages the company on both a strategic policy and a day-to-day basis;
  3. The Veteran holds the highest officer position;
  4. The Veteran should be the highest compensated employee unless there is a logical explanation otherwise, submitted by the Veteran as to how taking a lower salary than other employee(s) helps the business; and
  5. The Veteran has the managerial experience of the extent and complexity needed to manage the company.