Criteria to Become a CERTIFIED Disadvantage Business Enterprise (DBE) or a Small Disadvantaged Business
Ownership- Your business must be 51% owned by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual(s). The business must be a for-profit enterprise which physically resides in the United States or one of its territories.
"Disadvantaged"- You may be eligible if you are a member of a group of persons considered as disadvantaged. Certain groups are presumed 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. For example, 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 C.F.R. Part 26.
DBE requirements are under the direct jurisdiction of the United States Department of Transportation (US DOT), which is why the process is uniform in every single state. The US DOT is responsible for setting DBE utilization goals and implementation of the program. Generally, certification is done at the local or regional level at your individual local or state's Department of Transportation.
Disclaimer: The following are the MINIMUM basic requirements for certification, and in no way guarantee your company will be a successful candidate for certification. Additionally, each certifying agency may have different criteria standards and eligibility rules. Other criteria and standards exist for each industry, annual sales, number of employees, etc., etc. If you are applying to a local government entity, we have found on occasion, that the length of time it takes to acquire certification can be inconsistent and that the final status of an application can be offset by other determining factors.
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