A disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) is a for-profit small business concern that is:
- at least 51 percent owned by one or more individuals who are both socially and economically disadvantaged; and
- whose management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more of the socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who own it.
The objectives of the DBE program are to:
- ensure nondiscrimination in the award and administration of federal-aid contracts
- create a level playing field on which DBEs can compete fairly for federal-aid contracts
- ensure that the Department's DBE program is narrowly tailored
- ensure that only firms that fully meet the eligibility standards are permitted to participate as DBEs
- help remove barriers to participation of DBEs in federal-aid contracts
- assist in the development of firms that can compete successfully in the marketplace outside the DBE program.
A firm is not considered "small business concern" if it has annual gross receipts in excess of $23.98 million for general construction or in excess of $4.5 million for engineering, architectural and surveying firms over the previous three fiscal years. An economically disadvantaged individual is one whose personal net worth does not exceed $1.32 million. Personal net worth does not include the individual's ownership interest in the applicant or participating DBE firm, or the individual's equity in his or her primary place of residence. Socially and economically disadvantaged individuals are those who are (in addition to being economically disadvantaged) citizens of the United States who are:
(a) found to be socially and economically disadvantaged on a case-by-case basis.
(b) Individuals in the following groups, of which are rebuttably presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged:
- Black Americans, which includes persons having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa
- Hispanic Americans, which includes persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Central or South American, or other Spanish or Portuguese culture or origin, regardless of race
- Native Americans, which includes persons who are American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts or Native Hawaiians
- Asian-Pacific Americans, which includes persons who origins are from Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, Burma (Myanmar), Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia (Kampuchea), Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei, Samoa, Guam, the US Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands (Republic of Palau), the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Island, Macao, Fiji, Tonga, Kirbati, Juvalu, Nauru, Federated States of Micronesia, or Hong Kong.
- Subcontinent Asian Americans, which includes persons whose origins are from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives Islands, Nepal or Sri Lanka
- Any additional groups whose members are designated as socially and economically disadvantaged by the SBA, at such time as the SBA designation becomes effective.
The Department of Transportation sets an overall DBE goal for federal-aid contracts annually. The department attempts to meet the overall goal without using individual contract goals. However, individual contract goals are assigned if the overall goal is not being met.
To obtain additional information regarding the DBE program, or an application for certification, contact Lance DeMers, DBE Program Coordinator at 605-773-4906; or e-mail Lance DeMers
Certified DBEs are also eligible to receive supportive services from the Department by contacting:
Federal U.S. Dept of Transportation, Office of Small Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) offers financial assistance to small disadvantaged businesses by providing guaranteed loan through our Short Term Lending Program (STLP) for transportation related contracts only.