What is a DBE?
In order to qualify to participate as a DISADVANTAGED BUSINESS ENTERPRISE, a firm must meet these qualifications:
- It must be 51% owned and controlled by individuals who are socially and economically disadvantaged.
- It must be a small business, as defined by the Small Business Administration’s regulations. If it is a general contractor, the firm’s gross receipts averaged over three years cannot exceed 23.98 million.
- It must be an independent business. An independent business is one the viability of which does not depend on its relationship with another firm or firm.
- The firm’s ownership by disadvantaged individuals must be real, substantial, and continuing.
Who is a DBE?
Socially and economically disadvantaged individuals are those individuals who are citizens of the United States (or lawfully admited permanent residents) and who are:
- Black Americans, i.e., persons having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa.
- Hispanic Americans, i.e., persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South America, or of Spanish, or Portuguese origin.
- Native Americans, i.e., persons who are American Indians, Eskimo, Aleuts, or Native Hawaiians.
- Asian-Pacific Americans, i.e., persons of Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Laotian, Cambodian, Filipino, Samoan, Guamanian, Northern Merianas, and the U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands origin.
- Asian-Indian Americans, i.e., persons of Indian, Pakistani, or Bangladesh origin.
- Any other minorities or individuals found to be disadvantaged by the Small Business Administration.
Applicants must submit a signed, notarized certification that each owner claiming disadvantage is, in fact, socially and economically disadvantaged. Each owner must submit a signed, notarized statement of personal net worth, with appropriate supporting documentation. If an owner exceeds the threshold established for personal net worth, then their economic disadvantage is rebutted and they are not eligible to participate in the DBE program.
Firms owned and controlled by individuals who are not presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged may apply for DBE certification. The burden of proof in making individual determinations of disadvantage falls upon the applicant. The applicant must demonstrate, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the individual is, in fact, socially and economically disadvantaged.
Types of Work
When applying for DBE Certification, you must state on your UCA - Uniform Certification Application the type of work your firm is capable of performing. You must be able to verify that you can control the firm with respect to the type of work. The general work categories are:
Paving - includes concrete paving, asphalt paving, and concrete incidentals.
Grading and Drainage - includes surface course, clearing and grubbing, excavation, demolition, removal, base and subbase course, and bedding materials.
Structures - includes bridges, retaining walls, roadway structures, and buildings.
Erosion Control - includes sodding, seeding, temporary erosion control, landscaping, mulching.
Fencing and Guardrail - includes right-of-way fencing and guardrail placement.
Material Suppliers - includes suppliers of aggregates, fence, etc.
Hauling - trucking firms and owner-operators.
Traffic Control - includes signs, barricades, markers, devices, etc. Construction Staking.
Professional Services - includes engineering, architectural, right-of-way, urban planning, surveying, construction inspection, etc.
Other Construction Specialties - miscellaneous not elsewhere classified.