Small biz program aims to capture federal IT dollars
- By Colleen O'Hara
- Aug 18, 1999
The Small Business Administration wants federal agencies to spend some of their end-of-the-year contracting dollars on small businesses that are part of a new set-aside program.
The SBA's new HUBZone Empowerment Contracting Program is open to small business, including information technology businesses, that are based in "historically underutilized business zones." The SBA has designated more than 8,000 rural and urban locations nationwide as HUBZones, including low-income and high unemployment areas.
SBA kicked off a nationwide campaign this week to promote the program and encourage firms to join. "SBA realizes that a large amount of contracting is done by agencies just before the end of the fiscal year," an SBA spokesman said. "As we come close to the end of the fiscal year, we hope to see a spike in the number of HUBZone contracts."
According to estimates, the federal government spends about one-quarter of its $27 billion IT budget in September, the last month of the federal fiscal year.
SBA has been registering companies for the HUBZone program since March but does not know how many firms have signed up.
To qualify for the program, a small business must locate its principal office in a designated HUBZone, must be owned and controlled by at least one U.S. citizen and must have at least 35 percent of its employees reside in a HUBZone. The program is designed to create jobs and promote private-sector investment in distressed communities.
Federal agencies are encouraged to spend 1 percent of their contracting dollars with HUBZone companies in fiscal 1999. By fiscal 2003, agencies are encouraged to spend 3 percent of their contracting dollars with HUBZone firms.