The DBE program started with Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982, which set a national goal of placing at least 10 percent of federal highway and transit funds with persons who qualify as disadvantaged small business operators. A subsequent act in 1987 included women.
Who qualifies as a DBE?
Any small business at least 51 percent owned, operated and fully controlled on a daily basis by a member or members of the groups listed below qualifies. Unified Certification Program
In the case of publicly held firms, a member or members of the listed groups must own at least 51 percent of the stock issued.
• African Americans
• Native Americans
• Hispanic Americans
• Asian-Pacific Americans
• Asian-Indian Americans
Individuals who are not members of one of the groups above can be found to be socially disadvantaged as defined by Appendix E of 49 CFR Part 26. Electronic Code of Federal Regulations 49 CFR Part 26.
Eligibility requirements and application can be found here: