Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Civil Rights

Committed to equality in transportation service

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program

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About

MnDOT's DBE Program was established by the federal government to ensure women- and minority-owned businesses have the opportunity to participate in contracts financed in whole or in part by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The MnDOT Office of Civil Rights administers the DBE program and sets goals for DBE participation on applicable MnDOT contracts.

How it works

Annual DBE goal

As a condition of receiving federal money, MnDOT is required by the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration to establish an annual statewide goal for DBEs to perform on federally-funded contracts over the next three years. The annual goal is a percentage of the federal contracting dollars that are targeted for certified DBE firms to perform based on the availability of ready, willing, and able firms in Minnesota. MnDOT's annual goal is 11.7 percent of the sum of all FHWA-funded contracts to be performed by DBEs and 7.13 percent of the sum of all FTA-funded contracts to be performed by DBEs. These annual goals will be in effect for FFY 2016-2018.

Contract DBE goals

On a contract, the participation goal is a percentage of the contract that is targeted for certified DBE firms to perform on the project. The DBE participation goal considers the location, scopes of work to be performed and availability of DBE firms. To be awarded a contract with a DBE participation goal, the prime contractors must either meet the DBE participation goal or make good faith efforts to meet the goal. Prime contractors can get credit toward DBE goals by subcontracting work to DBEs, purchasing supplies from DBEs, and other methods detailed in the DBE Special Provisions (PDF).

Not all projects are required to have DBE goals. Smaller projects that are federally funded may not have a DBE participation goal and are considered race/gender neutral contracts. Race/gender neutral contracts are still monitored for DBE participation. The DBE Special Provisions outline the requirements and details for contract DBE goals.

How does a business become a DBE?

DBE Engineering Firm presents information at a mentor protégé networking event

Businesses who meet the eligibility requirements in the federal regulations may apply for certification as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise. The decision to certify a firm is made by the members of the Minnesota Unified Certification Program, or MNUCP. To learn more, see DBE program eligibility and certification.

Finding DBE firms

DBE directory

The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Certified Directory is a searchable listing of all DBEs currently certified to perform work under the DBE program in Minnesota. Search by state, city, vendor, NAICS codes and more. A firm’s listing in the MNUCP DBE Directory is proof of their active certification. If a firm is not listed in the MNUCP DBE Directory, they are not certified. The directory is updated on a biweekly basis.

MnDOT ArcGIS

The MnDOT ArcGIS MnMap is a collaborative information site from MnDOT. By using the “Certified Small Businesses” map on this site and applying different filters, you can find the location of certified small businesses and workforce centers near your project site. If using this tool for your project, be sure to cross-reference the DBE directory to verify the firm’s eligibility.

Resources

Program information