A Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) is a for-profit small business 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, and whose management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more of the socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who own it.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), through the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), requires local agencies that receive DOT financial assistance to have a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program. As part of these programs, agencies must establish contract goals for the participation of DBEs and work with contractors and consultants to help them meet these goals.
Contract goals are established based on the latest Department of Transportation requirements. Goals are communicated to interested contractors and consultants who must then work with subcontractors, suppliers, manufacturers and truckers to meet the goal. Contractors and consultants unable to meet the goal must provide documentation that they have made a good faith effort to meet the goal or risk disqualification.