Disadvantaged Business Enterprise
In general, to be eligible for the DBE program, persons must own 51% or more of a Small Business, establish that they are disadvantaged within the meaning of DOT regulations, and prove they control their business. The following general guidelines, taken in part from the applicable regulation (49 CFR Part 26), will help business owners determine whether they are eligible for the DBE program.
Eligibility Guidelines (In General)
- Ownership- Your business must be 51% owned by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual(s).
- “Disadvantaged” – You may be eligible if you are a member of a group of person the Department considers as disadvantaged. The Department presumes certain groups are disadvantaged, including women, Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific Americans, Subcontinent Asian-Pacific Americans, or other minorities found to be disadvantaged by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Persons who are not members of one of the above groups and own and control their business may also be eligible if they establish their “social” and “economic” disadvantage. The Department notes, for example, that people with disabilities have disproportionately low incomes and high rates of unemployment, and that many may be socially and economically disadvantaged. A determination of whether an individual with a disability meets DBE eligibility criteria is made on a case-by-case basis. More information on how social and economic disadvantage is determined can be found in Appendix E to 49 CFR Part 26.
- Business Size Determination- A firm (including its affiliates) must be a small business as defined by SBA standards. It must not have annual gross receipts over $22,410,000 in the previous three fiscal years ($52,470,000 for airport concessionaires in general with some exceptions). Under SAFETEA-LU, this threshold will be adjusted annually for inflation by the Secretary.
- Personal Net Worth- Only disadvantaged persons having a personal net worth (PNW) of less than $1.32 Million can be considered as a potential qualified DBE. Items excluded from a person’s net worth calculation include an individual’s ownership interest in the applicant firm, and his or her equity in the primary residence. Additional exclusions are available for owners of airport concessionaires (See 49 AFR Part 23)
- Independence – The business must not be tied to another firm in such a way as to compromise its independence and control.
- Control- A disadvantaged owner seeking certification must possess the power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of the firm. The owner must also have an overall understanding of, and managerial and technical competence and experience directly related to, the type of business in which the firm is engaged.
- Burden of Proof Allocation – Applicants carry the initial burden of proof regarding their eligibility and must demonstrate that they meet all requirements concerning group membership or individual disadvantage, business size, ownership, and control.
Additional program requirements and certification procedures are found in the Department's regulations 49 CFR Parts 23 and 26
Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program
Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program is intended to ensure nondiscrimination in the award and administration of DOT-assisted contracts in the Departments highway, transit, airport, and highway safety financial assistance programs. The goals of the program are to remedy past and current discrimination against disadvantaged business enterprises, to ensure a "level playing field" in which DBEs can compete fairly for DOT-assisted contracts, improve the flexibility and efficiency of the DBE program, and reduce burdens on small businesses.
Obtaining Certification as a DBE
Firms meeting the eligibility standards must contact the specific state or local transportation entity for which they wish to participate in contracts. In addition to requesting documentary evidence substantiating a firms size, owners PNW, independence, and an individuals ownership and control, recipients are required to perform an on-site visit to the firms offices and job sites. Firms can obtain instructions on how to apply to become a DBE by contracting Georgia Department of Transportation or Augusta Regional Airports DBE liaison. To ease the burden of applying to multiple DOT recipients within a state, the Department requires a Unified Certification Program (UCP) to be developed so that applicants need only apply once for DBE certification that will be honored by all recipients in the state. The UCP for this state is Georgia Department of Transportation and all certification documents should be/will be forwarded to the agency for approval.
For more instructions and to apply contact:
Georgia Department of Transportation
Please Click here to access the GA DOT's DBE Home Page.
Please Click here to access the GA DOT's Contractor Directories. Once there, please click the Georgia State UCP Directory link under the Directories of Prequalified/Certified Contractors heading.
Is there anyone locally that can help me with this process?
Ms. Risa Akiyama Bingham
DBELO/ACDBELO Liaison Officer
1501 Aviation Way
Augusta, GA 30906