SBA Issues Direct Final Rule that Will Allow Governors to Seek HUBZone Designation for Certain Rural Areas
The U.S. Small Business Administration today issued a direct final rule that will allow governors to petition the SBA’s Administrator to designate HUBZone status to certain covered areas. A covered area is an area in a state that is located outside of an urbanized area, as determined by the Census Bureau, with a population of not more than 50,000, and for which the average unemployment rate is at least 120 percent of the average unemployment rate. The rule is published in the Federal Register and effective January 1, 2020, unless significant adverse comment is received by December 15, 2019.
“This expansion of HUBZone areas will provide a valuable resource to small businesses in underserved communities to foster economic development and job creation – creating a pathway to the middle class for the residents of distressed areas,” said Acting SBA Administrator Chris Pilkerton. “We anticipate that governors may petition to include Opportunity Zones that do not otherwise qualify as HUBZones. The direct final rule is a step in the right direction because it will give governors additional tools to revitalize their communities.”
The National Defense Authorization Act, which was enacted on December 12, 2017, authorized changes to the Small Business Act to include “Governor-designated covered areas” under the HUBZone program.
Under the rule, a governor may submit one petition per year for a covered area or areas.
In reviewing a request for designation included in the petition, the Administrator may consider:
For information about the HUBZone program, visit www.sba.gov/hubzone. For more information on Opportunity Zones and Opportunity Funds, see https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/opportunity-zones-frequently-asked-questions.
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