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Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE)

The U.S. Department of Transportation is in charge of the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program and it decides how firms can become certified as Disadvantaged Business Enterprises. Disadvantaged Business Enterprises are able to seek contracts funded with federal transportation-related money.

What is a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise?

Disadvantaged Business Enterprises include small businesses that are at least 51% owned by:

  • Minorities: Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific Americans and Subcontinent Asian Americans;
  • Women;
  • Other individuals on a case-by-case basis.

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Certification

In order to be part of the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program, your firm must be certified as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise. ODOT only accepts Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certification from the Certification Office for Business Inclusion and Diversity, or COBID.

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program Mission, Objectives and Plan

  • ​Ensure non-discrimination in the award and administration of ODOT contracts.
  • Create a level playing field where Disadvantaged Business Enterprises can compete fairly for federally funded contracts.
  • Ensure the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program is in accordance with applicable law.
  • Ensure that only eligible firms participate as Disadvantaged Business Enterprises.
  • Remove barriers for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises to participate in contracting.
  • Promote Disadvantaged Business Enterprises in all types of federally-assisted contracts and procurement activities.
  • Assist firms so they may compete successfully in the marketplace outside the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program.
  • Help firms which receive federal funding provide opportunities for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises.

You can continue your research by reading the ODOT Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Policy Statement.

  • ODOT encourages Disadvantaged Business Enterprises to participate in contracts through the Civil Rights Program.​
  • ODOT never excludes any person from participating in, denies benefits of, or otherwise discriminates when awarding and administering contracts based on race, color, sex, and/or national origin.

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Annual Goal

ODOT has an overall Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Goal of 23.43% Disadvantaged Business Enterprise usage, which has been approved by the Federal Highway Administration within 49 CFR §26.45. The 23.43% Disadvantaged Business Enterprise goal is broken into two parts, where 17.33% of Disadvantaged Business Enterprise usage will be race-conscious and 6.10% will be race-neutral.

ODOT Disparity Study

ODOT"s use of race-neutral measures, race-conscious measures, or both, to meet the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program requirements depends on the presence or absence of evidence of discrimination in contracting opportunities for the relevant industry and locality.  ODOT is currently contracted with Keen Independent Research LLC to provide a 2022 Disparity Study to meet constitutional narrow-tailoring standards as required under 49 CFR part 26.

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Compliance / Fraud

"Schemes to defraud the Department of Transportation's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program cheat not only the government and taxpayers, but also cheat those small, minority-owned businesses that the program is intended to help." - Special Agent George C. Venizelos

There are several resources available to prevent and eliminate fraud in the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program. You can read about Commercially Useful Function & Fraud Awareness, file a complaint about a certified business, learn tips on evaluating Commercially Useful Functions, and report fraud, waste, & abuse to the Department of Transportation's Inspector General Division.

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Reporting

The performance of the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program is tracked through Uniform Reports which are sent to the Federal Highway Administration.  

You can request the latest available Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Uniform Report from James Myers.


Disadvantaged Business Enterprise vs Minority/Women Business Enterprise Tracking Guidance

The US Department of Transportation has provided Disadvantaged Business Enterprise vs Minority/Women Business Enterprise Tracking Guidance