HUBZone revelations no surprise, experts say

The set-aside program that should be bringing jobs to poor areas has had a reputation for being unproductive, one contract expert said last week.

For years the Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) program has fallen short of its goals of increasing employment in particular areas, said Stephen Sandherr, chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America.

The trade group endorsed the Government Accountability Office’s recent investigation into how easily a company becomes a certified HUBZone-based business.

“The GAO report confirms the claims contractors have been making for years,” he said.

GAO investigators uncovered serious lapses in the Small Business Administration’s oversight of the program. By using fictitious employee information and fabricated documents, the investigators said they easily obtained SBA certification as small businesses in a HUBZone for four fictitious firms.

For example, GAO submitted one application for HUBZone status using the same address as a Starbucks coffee shop, George Kutz, GAO’s managing director of forensic audits and special investigations, testified before the House Small Business Committee.

“If SBA had performed a simple Internet search on the address, it would have been alerted to this fact,” Kutz said. 

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

Featured

  • Telecommunications
    Stock photo ID: 658810513 By asharkyu

    GSA extends EIS deadline to 2023

    Agencies are getting up to three more years on existing telecom contracts before having to shift to the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions vehicle.

  • Workforce
    Shutterstock image ID: 569172169 By Zenzen

    OMB looks to retrain feds to fill cyber needs

    The federal government is taking steps to fill high-demand, skills-gap positions in tech by retraining employees already working within agencies without a cyber or IT background.

  • Acquisition
    GSA Headquarters (Photo by Rena Schild/Shutterstock)

    GSA to consolidate multiple award schedules

    The General Services Administration plans to consolidate dozens of its buying schedules across product areas including IT and services to reduce duplication.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.