W.Va. small business certifications on upswing

Aug. 1, 2018

The number of West Virginia small businesses achieving federal HUBZone certification has increased significantly over the past several months, according to George Murray, deputy director of the West Virginia District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

HUBZone certification provides small businesses an advantage when bidding on federal government contracts. HUBZone-certified small businesses qualify for the program’s set-aside contracts and receive a 10 percent price evaluation preference when competing for open contracts.

West Virginia HUBZone (Historically Underutilized Business Zone) certifications have more than doubled in the past 16 months, according to Murray. The SBA is the federal agency that administers the HUBZone program. Historically, West Virginia has one of the lowest rates of HUBZone participation.

“By working with the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) through this pilot program, our goal is to shorten the length of time it takes a small business to become HUBZone certified,” Murray said. “The first small business through the program received its certification in two weeks; prior to this program we were seeing an average turnaround time of five months.”

RCBI’s Accelerate Forward – West Virginia’s EDA University Center has joined with the SBA in West Virginia to promote HUBZone statewide through marketing campaigns, social media and a series of workshops and one-on-one outreach to educate small business owners about the program’s benefits and how to apply.

“Government contracting is another way for West Virginia small businesses to expand, diversify and create jobs,” said Charlotte Weber, RCBI Director & CEO. “We’re proud to partner with the SBA to introduce and connect West Virginians to rewardingHUBZone opportunities.”

Businesses must meet the following qualifications to be HUBZone eligible:

  • Be a small business as defined by the SBA
  • Be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by U.S. citizens, a community development corporation, agricultural cooperative or a Native American tribe
  • Have the firm’s principal office (location with the greatest number of employees) in an officially designated HUBZone area and at least 35 percent of employees must live in HUBZones

To further increase HUBZone participation in West Virginia, RCBI and the SBA will sponsor the HUBZone Road Tour August 13-17 in counties across the state. Dates and locations are:

  • August 13:Wyoming County (Southern WV CTC, 128 College Drive, Saulsville)
  • August 14:Braxton County (Days Inn, 350 Days Drive, Sutton)
  • August 15:Harrison County (RCBI, 2400 E. Benedum Industrial Drive, Bridgeport)
  • August 16:Hardy County (Eastern WV CTC, 316 Eastern Drive, Room 104B, Moorefield)
  • August 17:Pocahontas County (Pocahontas County Parks and Rec Bldg, 320 9th Street, Marlinton)

To register for any of these events, go to www.rcbi.org/go/hub.

To determine whether your business is located in a HUBZone, visit www.maps.certify.sba.gov/hubzone/map.For more information about the program, contact Jane Bostic, director of RCBI’s Accelerate Forward initiative, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 304.781.1681.

RCBI’s Accelerate Forward is funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration.