Contract designed for HUBZone

SBA HUBZone site

The General Services Administration on Dec. 7 announced the creation of the first governmentwide contract specifically for information technology vendors certified under the Small Business Administration's Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) economic development program.

GSA's Federal Technology Service plans to release the solicitation in January for the five-year, multiple-award governmentwide acquisition contract (GWAC), which FTS will manage from its Small Business Solution Development Center in Kansas City, Mo.

The new contract will offer products and services in several areas, including Internet services, call centers, distance learning, videoconferencing, contingency planning and information assurance. GSA will award at least three, and no more than 10, contracts for each functional area.

The HUBZone program started in 1998 as a way to boost economically distressed areas by awarding federal contracts to businesses located in those areas. Among the requirements to qualify, a business' main office must be located in a HUBZone — an area with high unemployment, low income or on a federally recognized American Indian reservation.

Since last year, all federal agencies are required to use the HUBZone program to fulfill small business contracting requirements. Of the 23 percent of federal contracting dollars that must go to small businesses, currently 2.5 percent — about $5 billion, according to SBA — must go to HUBZone contractors. That requirement will top out at 3 percent in fiscal 2003.

Agencies have fallen short on the HUBZone contracting requirement every year since the program's establishment in 1997, according to GSA. Creating a central vehicle for agency contracting officers to use to meet the federal requirement will make it easier for officials to meet the requirement in the IT area, according to the GSA release.

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