A Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) is a for-profit, small business that has at least 51% ownership by an individual or members of a socially and economically disadvantaged group; African-American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian-Pacific, Subcontinent Asian American, or Women. The definitions of “small business” and “socially disadvantaged” are both determined by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Additional eligibility criteria for DBEs are included on the FDOT’s website at https://www.fdot.gov/equalopportunity/default.shtml.
A program whose purpose is to build effective working relationships between leaders of mature established companies and emerging small DBEs in order for the latter to benefit from the knowledge and experience of the established mentor companies.
FDOT DBE Certification is the process which the businesses seeking designation as a DBE are evaluated by the FDOT. If the businesses meet the criteria, they become certified.
Click here to download the DBE certification application.
The certification application is first assigned to an Intake Analyst to review for completeness of information. The Intake Analyst works with the applicant to obtain any missing information and prepares the application for submission to the Certification Officer. The Certification Officer reviews the application, conducts a site visit and issues a recommendation to accept or deny the application for DBE eligibility. A management committee determines the final decision for approval or denial, based upon the officer’s recommendations and findings. If the application is approved, a “certification letter” is issued to the applicant. If the application is denied, the applicant is given an opportunity to appeal the certification denial decision.
Yes, however, an incomplete application will take longer to process. It is important that all answers are completed accurately. If a question is not applicable, then indicate “Not Applicable” or “N/A”.
No. There is no cost for the certification process.
Certification is ongoing, however, once certified, the business will be required to submit an annual “Affidavit of Continuing Eligibility” and supporting documentation on the anniversary date of its original certification. This form affirms there is no change that has occurred that impacts the company’s DBE status.
DBE goals are established for projects funded by the federal government. If you are interested in these contracts, you should apply for FDOT DBE certification.
Yes, those persons who are identified as social and economic disadvantaged individuals that make up 51 percent of the firms ownership are required to complete the affidavit.
Yes, the FDOT does not accept MBE/WBE reciprocal certifications from any other agency. Only FL UCP DBE certifications are accepted by FDOT.
The DBE Program is a federal program operating under the guidance of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Authorization for the program comes from Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulation Part 26 (49 CFR 26). As a recipient of federal transportation funds, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) must comply with the requirements of 49 CFR 26. For more information about the DBE program visit U.S. DOT’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Website, or FDOT’s Equal Opportunity Office (EOO).
The Department has two different types of minority business programs. One is the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) program, which applies to all state agencies and is administered by the Office of Supplier Diversity. The other is the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program. The DBE program applies only to the FDOT, and is limited to highway and bridge construction, maintenance, and consultants involved in planning, design, right of way and construction inspection, and other federally funded contracts. The Department puts forth great effort to educate Minority Businesses on these two separate and distinct programs.
COMPARE THE TWO
Administered by the Florida Department of Management Services
All State Agencies
Office of Supplier Diversity Certifies
Florida Firms Only
Administered by the Florida Department of Transportation
Road and Bridge Construction/Consultant
The FDOT Equal Opportunity Office seeks to:
In general, to be eligible for the DBE Program, individuals must be U.S. citizens, or lawfully admitted permanent residents; who own 51%, or more of a “small business”; establish that they are both socially and economically disadvantaged within the definition of the regulation; and show through the regulation standards they control the 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:
Ownership – The business must be 51% owned by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual(s).
“Socially Disadvantaged” – You may be eligible if you are a member of one of the following presumptive groups — Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific Americans, Subcontinent Asian Americans, Women and other groups found to be disadvantaged by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Persons who are not members of one of the aforementioned presumptive groups may also be eligible if they establish their “social” and “economic” disadvantaged on an individual basis. More information on how social and economic disadvantaged is determined can be found in Appendix E of 49 CFR Part 26. A determination of whether an individual meets DBE eligibility criteria is made on a case-by-case basis.
Personal Net Worth – Only socially disadvantaged persons having a personal net worth (PNW) of less than $1.32 million will be considered economically disadvantaged. Items excluded from a person’s net worth calculation include an individual’s ownership interest in the applicant firm, and the equity in his or her primary residence. Additional exclusions are available for owners of airport concessionaires (See 49 CFR Part 23).
Business Size Determination – A firm, including its affiliates must be a small business as defined by SBA size standards. It must not have had annual gross receipts in excess of $22.41 million over the previous three fiscal years. The U.S. Department of Transportation periodically adjusts this threshold for inflation.
Independence – The business must not rely on another firm or firms 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 burden of proof regarding their eligibility and must demonstrate with a preponderance of evidence that they meet all requirements concerning group membership or individual disadvantaged status, business size, independence, ownership, and control.
Businesses interested in becoming DBE certified under the Florida UCP Program must submit a complete DBE application to the FDOT or applicable certifying UCP Member. The application must be signed and notarized. If the firm engages in or intends to engage in:
Primarily road, highway or bridge construction or maintenance related goods or services — submit the DBE application to the FDOT;
Primarily airport related goods or services — submit the DBE application to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Certifying Member closest to your primary business or with the FAA Certifying Member whom you have an on-going contractual relationship;
Primarily transit related goods and services, including concessions — submit the DBE application to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Certifying Member closest to your primary place of business or with the FTA Certifying Member whom you have an on-going contractual relationship.
When applying to the FDOT, the complete application must be mailed or physically delivered to the Equal Opportunity Office at 605 Suwannee Street, M.S. 65, Tallahassee, Florida 32399. All applications will be reviewed and verified. Additional information may be requested and an on-site interview will be conducted prior to final decision.
The Department has two supportive service providers who can assist you in completing the DBE application and support documents. This service is free to firms who are seeking FDOT DBE certification. Contact either provider listed below:
Florida State Minority Supplier Diversity Council (FSMSDC) FSMSDC.org or call 305-762-6151
Construction Estimating Institute (CEI) The Florida Department of Transportation’s Construction Management Development Program and Bond Guarantee Program http://www.cmdp-bgp.com/ or call (800) 423-7058.
There are six steps to obtaining DBE Certification:
If an application is denied, the Department issues a denial letter listing the reasons for the intended denial and provides information related to the appeal process.
If an application is withdrawn, the applicant is notified, in writing, of the missing documentation and has up to one year to provide the requested information necessary to complete the application. If the applicant fails to provide the missing information within one year, the file is then administratively closed.
The Department maintains a DBE Directory identifying all firms eligible to participate as DBEs. The DBE Directory lists the firm’s name, address, telephone number, and the type of work the firm has been certified to perform as a DBE. The Florida DBE UCP Directory is available to the public electronically, on the internet. The DBE UCP Directory is updated as additions/changes are made. The address for the DBE Directory is https://fdotxwp02.dot.state.fl.us/EqualOpportunityOfficeBusinessDirectory/.
Some advantages to becoming a DBE certified business include:
No, a firm is not required to be pre-qualified to become DBE certified.
Contractors must be pre-qualified with the Department in order to bid for the performance of road, bridge, or public transportation construction contracts greater than $250,000.00. Pre-qualification is accomplished by using an application process. The Contractor Pre-qualification process results in the issuance of a Certificate of Qualification for each successful applicant which lists the approved work classes and the Maximum Capacity Rating in dollars. Visit the FDOT Contracts Administration website to learn more at https://fdotwp1.dot.state.fl.us/ContractorPreQualification/
Consultants are pre-qualified in two levels:
The UCP provides “one-stop shopping” where disadvantaged businesses that meet the DBE certification requirements and become certified are eligible to be used to meet the DBE goal requirements on any project with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The UCP eliminates the need for multiple DBE certifications with recipients of funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
In Florida, DBE UCP Certifying Members shall make certification decisions on behalf of all recipients in the state, with respect to participation in the U.S. Department of Transportation DBE Program.
To obtain additional information on the Florida UCP DBE Program, contact Arthur Wright at 850-414-4749 or Victoria Smith at 850-414-4746.
If you are an existing DBE firm, the following documentation must be provided
1. A complete copy of the application form, all supporting documents, and any other information you have submitted to your home state or any other state related to your firm’s certification. This includes affidavits of no change and any notices of changes that you have submitted, as well as any correspondences concerning your application or status as a DBE firm.
2. Any notices or correspondence from states other than your home state relating to your status as an applicant or certified DBE in those states, including facts and all documentation concerning if your firm was denied certification or decertified.
3. If you have filed a certification appeal with DOT, you must provide your letter of appeal and DOTs response.
4.You must submit the Interstate Application Affidavit sworn to by the firm’s owners before a person who is authorized by State law to administer oaths executed under penalty of perjury of the laws of the United States.
The processing time is approximately 60 days from the date the completed application and support documentation is provided.