GUAM – While federal government contract opportunities for small businesses in Guam abound, the process of obtaining a government contract can often seem overwhelming. In the multi-part series Federal Government Contracting 101, GuamBuildupNews.com brings to the forefront the contracting process for Guam businesses as they gear up for the anticipated influx of new base construction by the Department of Defense.
In this third article of the series, GBN offers readers a guide to the HUBZone (Historically Underutilized Business Zones) program.
Volume 3: Inside the HUBZone Program
The Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) program is designed to assist small businesses located in distressed and underutilized areas in gaining access to federal contracts. The goal of the HUBZone program is to promote economic development in distressed areas by providing businesses located in these zones with federal contracting opportunities. This is good news for Guam businesses, as the entire area of Guam is considered a HUBZone area. This special designation means that even as off-island contractors actively pursue Guam-based federal contracts — for any opportunities reserved for HUBZone firms, the competitive advantage goes to businesses that make their home in Guam.
Although HUBZone contracts typically account for less than 2 percent of overall small business contract dollars elsewhere in the U.S., on Guam HUBZone contracts often account for over 20 percent of all annual small business contract dollars. Moreover, Guam’s high rate of potentially HUBZone-qualified businesses has the potential to translate into local businesses having exclusivity when bidding on HUBZone contracts.
To bid on HUBZone contracts, a business must be HUBZone certified. To be eligible for HUBZone certification, a business must meet the following criteria:
• Business must be a small business as defined by the SBA
• Must be owned and controlled at least 51 percent by a U.S. Citizen, Indian tribe, agricultural cooperative, or a community development corporation
• Principle office must be located in a Historically Underutilized Business Zone (any area of Guam qualifies)
• At least 35 percent of the company’s employees must reside in a HUBZone (would generally apply to all Guam businesses, as the entirety of Guam is a designated HUBZone)
Small businesses who feel they qualify for HUBZone certification can apply online at the SBA Web site, which takes approximately three hours to complete. To apply online, you must have a primary NAICS code, a DUNS number, and be registered in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR).
The SBA’s goal is to award 3 percent of all federal prime contract dollars to HUBZone businesses. To meet this goal, federal government agencies set aside a certain number of contracts for HUBZone businesses. Businesses that have been HUBZone certified enjoy a 10 percent price evaluation preference, open contract competitions, and subcontracting opportunities. Because every local Guam business is located in a HUBZone, HUBZone set asides ensure that Guam will participate in and benefit from the massive military buildup.
Guam HUBZone contracts
The Department of Defense’s military construction program for the $10 billion-$15 billion Guam buildup has set aside $400 million for its Small Business HUBZone MACC (multiple-award construction contract). Firms who have won the HUBZone MACC, as well as firms who will participate in the remaining four buildup-related MACCs, will be looking to partner with other small businesses on military construction task orders, further spreading the wealth on Guam.
Other HUBZone opportunities exist outside of projects directly related to this buildup as well. For example, as of this writing, Andersen Air Force Base is working to determine the feasibility of restricting two $50 million contracts to HUBZone companies. Task orders for each contract will range from $2,000 to $10 million.
Assistance on Guam
The Guam Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) offers local businesses a variety of assistance with HUBZone contracts. Services include seminars, workshops and assistance with identifying federal contracting opportunities. The PTAC offers a no-fee HUBZone Application Process seminar that is designed to walk businesses through the HUBZone application process and to assist businesses with following SBA requirements. For local HUBZone information and assistance, visit PTAC on the Web or call (671) 735-2552.
GuamBuildupNews.com will continue to demystify government contracting in GBN’s multi-part series Federal Government Contracting 101.
Part 1 in the series: Federal Government Contracting Opportunities on Guam: Not Just for the Big Guys.
Sharla Torre Montvel-Cohen contributed to this story.