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DOT Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program

The Dept of Transportation's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program is intended to ensure nondiscrimination in the award and administration of DOT-assisted contracts in the Department's highway, transit, airport, and highway safety financial assistance programs.

The goals of the program are to remedy past and current discrimination against disadvantaged business enterprises, ensure a "level playing field" in which DBEs can compete fairly for DOT-assisted contracts, improve the flexibility and efficiency of the DBE program, and reduce burdens on small businesses. Sometimes, the agency offers grant funding to minority-firms to provide training on how to better compete for contracts.

In general, to be eligible for the DBE program, persons must own 51% or more of a "small business," establish that they are disadvantaged within the meaning of DOT regulations, and prove they control their business.

Firms meeting the eligibility standards must contact the specific state or local transportation entity for which they wish to participate in contracts. In addition to requesting documentary evidence substantiating a firm's size, owner's PNW, independence, and an individual's ownership and control, recipients are required to perform an on-site visit to the firm's offices and job sites.

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