DBE Eligibility Requirements
A disadvantaged business enterprise or 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. In the case of a corporation, 51 percent of the stock is owned by one or more such individuals; and whose management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more of the socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who own it.
Eligibility requirements for certification as a DBE are specified in 49 CFR Part 26.
The following six general requirements must be met by a DBE applicant. See all requirements found in 49 CFR Part 26.
Social and Economic Disadvantage: A disadvantaged owner must be a U.S. Citizen (or resident alien) and meet the federal definition of socially and economically disadvantaged as defined in 49 CFR Part 26.67. Presumptive groups include women, Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific Americans, Subcontinent Asian-Americans, or other minorities found to be disadvantaged by the regulations or any individual found to be socially and economically disadvantaged on a case-by-case basis.
Personal Net Worth: Only disadvantaged persons having a personal net worth (PNW) of less than $1.32 million can be considered as a potential qualified DBE. Items excluded from a person's net worth calculation include an individual's ownership interest in the applicant firm, and his or her primary residence.
Business Size Standard: A firm (including affiliates) must be a small business as defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA). It must not have annual gross receipts over $26.29 (as of 01/13/2021) million in the previous three fiscal years ($56.42 million for airport concessions in general, with some exceptions). Depending on the type of work the business performs, other size standards may apply.
Ownership: Must be a for-profit small business concern where socially and economically disadvantaged individuals own at least 51% interest and control management AND daily business operations.
Independence: The business must not be affiliated to another firm in such a way as to compromise its independence and control. These include, but not limited to, such areas as personnel, facilities, equipment, financial and/or bonding support, and other resources.
Management and Control: The socially and economically DBE owner (s) must possess the power to direct or cause the direction to the management and policies of the firm and to make day-to-day decisions, as well as long-term decisions on matters of management, policy and operations