Aroostook County qualifies as HUBZone
HOULTON, Maine — Businesses in Aroostook County have another tool to increase sales, according to officials at the Northern Maine Development Commission.
The federal government recently announced a change in the Small Business Administration’s Historically Underutilized Business Zone, or HUBZone, program, which should benefit northern Maine. All of The County is now a designated HUBZone.
“This is great news for Aroostook County,” said Dana Delano, NMDC’s Maine Procurement Technical Assistance Center business counselor. “The designation helps small businesses in the area gain access to federal programs.”
The status came after the County’s median income fell below the state’s median income. Maine’s median income is $57,617, according to the latest statistics released by the American Community Survey, which is produced by the U.S. Census Bureau.The median income in Aroostook County is $38,087.
“This designates us as an economically distressed area,” said Delano. “We will get preferential treatment on government contracts, which will help bring jobs to the area.”
Those preferences to HUBZone-qualified companies include competitive and sole source contracting, 10 percent price evaluation preference in full and open contract competitions, as well as subcontracting opportunities. The federal government has a goal of awarding three percent of all dollars for federal prime contracts to HUBZone-certified small businesses.
Amy Bassett, district director of the Maine Small Business Administration, said that the organization understands “the challenges Aroostook County small businesses are facing,” and the HUBzone status would help stimulate the region’s economy by getting federal contracts flowing to eligible small businesses.
The Historically Underutilized Business Zones program was enacted into law as part of the Small Business Reauthorization Act of 1997.
The program encourages economic development in historically underutilized business zones through the establishment of preferences.