Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Small Business Development Program


MnDOT’s Small Business Development program provides training and technical assistance, along with access to business and financial resources that help small businesses compete more effectively on MnDOT projects and contracts. It is a comprehensive approach, organized into the following six areas:

  1. Growing the DBE Pool
  2. Building DBE firm capacity
  3. Building DBE firm technical expertise
  4. Building DBE firm financial literacy
  5. Participating in the Mentor/Protégé Program
  6. Participating in the DBE Academy

Growing the DBE pool

Growing the DBE pool includes activities focused on increasing the number of certified Highway Heavy capable Disadvantaged Business Enterprise firms in Minnesota.

Building DBE firm capacity

Building DBE capacity involves identifying firms that have the capability and desire to build new areas of expertise, and/or expand their existing capacity. MnDOT Business and Program Development will work with the firm to identify opportunities for growth by assessing and identifying the resources needed for firms to reach their goals and developing a specific plan to get there. To this end, MnDOT contracts with a third party(s) to conduct in-depth, one-on-one business assessments and to develop individual business development plans for certified DBE firms. If you would like more information on this project or would like to participate, contact us.

Building DBE firm technical expertise

Building DBE firm technical expertise involves classroom and individual technical training components that increase participant’s technical knowledge. These training classes include topics like:

  • Bidding and estimating
  • Legal aspects of contracting
  • Job-costing
  • Critical path scheduling
  • Accounting
  • One-on-one technical coaching and development
  • Classroom training on topics specific to MnDOT (pre-qualification, contract specifications, prevailing wage, how to submit a claim, how to get your product on the state’s Approved Product List, how to locate resources, how to do business with MnDOT and identify contracting opportunities)

MnDOT has contracts with third-party vendors to provide these services. For more information and a schedule of upcoming events and courses, visit our training, news and information center.

Building DBE firm financial literacy

Building DBE financial literacy includes assisting DBE firms with establishing capital resources and providing information related to bonding/insurance.


MnDOT operates a Mentor-Protégé program in cooperation with the Minnesota Unified Certification program. A mentor-protégé relationship is recommended to firms as part of their business development plan or to DBE firms participating in the DBE Academy if it is determined through an in-depth business assessment that a firms’ developmental goals would benefit from the relationship. If you are interested in becoming either a mentor or a protégé, please contact us.

The DBE Academy

The DBE Academy is a linear growth and development program. DBE firms that have the potential to make that transitional step to the next phase of overall growth and development are identified. Some examples:

  • Growing current capacity in a new scope of work
  • Attempting to bid and win contracts as a prime

The intent of the DBE Academy is to develop firms that will provide assurance to general contractors about their abilities and to mitigate the risk of doing business with small firms.

Questions about our programs or activities? Contact us!

Upcoming events