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SBA Administrator, Isabel Casillas Guzman, at puerto Rico.
SBA administrator made the announcement. Photo: @SBAIsabel.

SBA launches new HUBZones to expand federal contracting opportunities

The resources will benefit small businesses in Louisiana.

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Isabel Casillas Guzmán, the administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), together with the governor of the state, John Bel Edwards, recently announced the expansion of this program that provides small entrepreneurs in low-income communities, especially in the country's critical manufacturing and transportation sectors, opportunities to compete in the federal market.

The news follows a petition from Governor Edwards, who seeks to add 25 designated HUBZone covered areas by 2022, thereby expanding access and eligibility for small businesses in these areas.

Casillas Guzmán stated:

The SBA's HUBZones continue to be a critical tool in opening up new opportunities for small businesses to sell their goods and services directly to the world’s largest buyer: the U.S. Government.

Approved zones

Below are the approved areas identified in Louisiana's 2022 petition:

  1. Census Tract 2, Jefferson Davis Parish
  2. Census Tract 9601.01, Beauregard Parish
  3. Census Tract 9601.02, Beauregard Parish
  4. Census Tract 9518.01, West Feliciana Parish
  5. Census Tract 9608.01, Acadia Parish
  6. Census Tract 9512.01, St. Helena Parish
  7. Census Tract 9504, Allen Parish
  8. Census Tract 203.01, St. Martin Parish
  9. Census Tract 9503, De Soto Parish
  10. Census Tract 9515.01, East Feliciana Parish
  11. Census Tract 310.01, Ascension Parish
  12. Census Tract 110.04, Bossier Parish
  13. Census Tract 242.06, Caddo Parish
  14. Census Tract 24.02, Calcasieu Parish
  15. Census Tract 201, Grant Parish
  16. Census Tract 9526, Iberville Parish
  17. Census Tract 279.04, Jefferson Parish
  18. Census Tract 211.01, Lafourche Parish
  19. Census Tract 9601, Union Parish
  20. Census Tract 106.04, Ouachita Parish
  21. Census Tract 135.02, Rapides Parish
  22. Census Tract 406, St. James Parish
  23. Census Tract 401.03, St. Tammany Parish
  24. Census Tract 9502.02, Vermilion Parish
  25. Census Tract 203.01, West Baton Rouge Parish

“Thanks to Governor Edwards' vision for Louisiana, the expansion of certified HUBZones will support efforts to empower rural and historically underserved Louisiana small businesses through the Biden-Harris Administration's historic investments in critical infrastructure, broadband access and, restoring Made in America manufacturing,” added Casillas Guzmán. 

New HUBZone rule

Under the new HUBZone rule, a governor can file one petition per year requesting that the SBA designate certain qualified areas, including Opportunity Zones, as Governor-Designated Covered Areas.

After reviewing a request for designation included in the petition, the Administrator may determine how the selections meet the objectives of the state's economic development strategies.

To be eligible for this program, communities must have a population of 50,000 or less, an average unemployment rate of at least 120% of the average unemployment rate for the U.S. or the state (whichever is lowest) and be located outside of a built-up area.

“Small businesses lift up families and communities and drive our economy. This program will provide businesses in historically underutilized areas, including economically challenged rural communities, the opportunity to expand and access new markets,” said Edwards. 

There are currently 128 active HUBZone firms in Louisiana. In fiscal year 21, companies located in the state received more than $217 billion in federal contractual obligations, of which more than $43 billion were HUBZone contracts.

The newly designated areas will be added to the HUBZone map as “Governor Designated Covered Areas.”

“I’m excited that Louisiana has become the first state in Region 6 to take advantage of the program, and it will enable us to strive to reach contracting goals set by President Joe Biden,” apuntó Edward "Ted" James,  SBA’s South Central Regional Administrator.

For information on the HUBZone program, click here.

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