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Benefit from HUBZone, 8(a), Woman and Veteran Owned Small Business Programs


Why Be Certified?


To help small business compete in the federal market place, the government limits competition for certain contracts to small businesses. Those contracts are called “small business set-asides,” and they help small businesses compete for and win federal contracts.


In addition to the government-wide 23% set-aside goal, there are different goals for certain subsets of small businesses:


  • Small disadvantaged businesses (8a program) — 5%

  • Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) — 5%

  • Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses — 3%

  • Businesses in HUBZones (historically underutilized business zones) — 3%


The small business certification programs from the US Small Business Administration (SBA) provide benefits to these groups by:


  • Bringing more dollars to an eligible company through small business procurement mechanisms;

  • Targeting competition to specific industries where there are disparities; 

  • Increasing economic activity in distressed communities;

  • Increased access to government contracting opportunities;

  • Helps set your company apart in the marketplace;

  • Access to business development training thru the SBA 7(j) program;

  • May qualify for a price evaluation adjustment when bidding as a prime contractor; and

  • Large prime contractors are encouraged to use certified firms as subcontractors through mandated evaluation factors and optional monetary incentives.




There are four main small business socio-economic programs that help businesses win federal contracts. In this section we are presenting the benefits and application process.


Before diving in each of the programs, let’s look at some of their benefits:


  1. Participants in the 8(a) BD program can receive sole source contracts up to $4.5 million for goods and services and $7 million for manufacturing. 8(a) firms are also able to form joint ventures and teams to bid on larger prime contracts.

  2. The Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) program helps small businesses in urban and rural communities gain preferential access to federal contracting opportunities. The benefits for certified companies include competitive and sole source contracting and a 10% price evaluation preference in full and open competitions and subcontracting opportunities.

  3. The Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB) and Economically Disadvantaged Woman Owned Small Business (EDWOSB) programs allow federal contracting officials to set aside and sole source certain contracts to eligible woman-owned and economically disadvantaged woman-owned businesses. 

  4. The Veteran-Owned Small Businesses programs allow contracting officials set-aside; sole source awards & restrict competition opportunities.


SBA's 8(a) Business Development Program


Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act, as amended, authorizes SBA to contract for goods and services with federal agencies. SBA then subcontracts actual performance of the work to socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses, which have been certified by SBA as eligible to receive these contracts. The major advantage of this program is that it allows the government to contract, on a noncompetitive basis, with socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses. SBA also offers managerial, technical, and financial support to participating firms.


Program participation is divided into two stages.


  • The developmental stage is designed to help 8(a) certified firms overcome their economic disadvantage by providing personalized business assistance in expanding their business and fostering meaningful business relationships.

  • The transitional stage is designed to help program participants become more effective in both the large business and government sector market in dealing with complex business deals and to prepare them for post 8(a) program expansion and development. Formal certification is required by the SBA.


Click here to learn more about the 8(a) program on the SBA.


SBA's HUBZone Certification


The HubZone Empowerment Contracting program provides federal-contracting opportunities for qualified small businesses located in distressed areas. This program was enacted into law as part of the Small Business Reauthorization Act of 1997 and is administered by the SBA. The program encourages economic development in historically underutilized business zones (HUBZones) and through the establishment of preferences. SBA certified firms for eligibility to receive HUBZone contracts and maintains a listing of qualified HUBZone small businesses that federal agencies can use to locate prospective vendors.


Click here to learn more about the HUBZone program and apply electronically on the SBA web site.


Veteran and Service Disabled Veteran Certification


To qualify as a Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB), a business concern must be at least 51% owned by one or more eligible veterans; or, in the case of any publicly-owned business, at least 51% of the stock is owned by one or more veterans, and whose management and daily business operations are controlled by such veterans.  There is no certification program for VOSBs.


In 2003, Congress created a procurement program for small business concerns owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans (commonly referred to as the "Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) Procurement Program").  The purpose of the program is to provide federal contracting assistance to SDVOSBs.  


The SDVOSB program requires that federal contracting agencies establish and achieve a participation goal of 3% of the total value of all prime contract and sub-contract awards for each fiscal year for small businesses owned and controlled by veterans with service-connected disabilities.


Do you need to be certify as an SDVOSB?


The answer to this question is no and yes. 


1. Currently, to do business with any federal agencies except for the US Veteran Affairs, there is no formal certification requirement. The service disabled veteran business owner self represents his or her service-disabled status and small business status in the contract representations and certifications in SAM. 


To be eligible for the SDVOSB program, a veteran must be able to produce one of the following stating that s/he has a service-connected disability in the event of a protest:


  • Adjudication letter from the Veterans Administration; or

  • Department of Defense Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.


2. To do business with the US Veteran Administration you are required to undergo a formal verification program. More information on the SDVOSB Program can be found on the SBA page. Click here for more information.  


Regardless 1 or 2 above, to be seen as a SDVOSB, a small business concern must meet the following two conditions through a self-certification process:


  • At least 51% owned and controlled by one or more Service-Disabled Veterans; and

  • Management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more Service-Disabled Veterans.

  • Woman-Owned Small Business Status


To qualify as a woman-owned business (WOB), a small business concern must meet the following two conditions:


  • At least 51% owned by one or more women, or, in the case of any publicly owned business, at least 51% of the stock of which is owned by one or more women; and

  • Management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more women.


In 1994, Congress established a government-wide goal that WOBs be awarded at least 5% of the total value of all prime contract and subcontract awards for each fiscal year; however, there are no set-aside procurement programs or incentives for awarding a contract to a WOB.


The Federal Contracting Center can help you with the application process completely free of charge. We will accompany you each step of the way.



Request an appointment Today!


Having an established business, email capability, and interest in the federal market are the only criteria for participating in the program.


About Us

The Puerto Rico Federal Contracting Center (FeCC), an APEX Accelerator, is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the US Deparment of Defense.


Our Service

The content of any written materials or verbal communications of the FeCC does not necessarily reflect the official views of or imply endorsement by DoD.

Contact Info

Federal Contracting Center

Fomento Building - Office 107

355 F.D. Roosevelt Ave. Hato Rey, PR 00918

787-758-4747 Ext. 3181