Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program

It is the policy of the Kingsport MTPO (a division of the City of Kingsport) to afford Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, as defined in 49 CFR Part 26, as amended, the maximum opportunity to participate in the performance of contracts financed in whole or in part with federal funds.

What is a DBE?  A DBE is a for-profit small business that is at least 51 percent owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are both socially and economically disadvantaged, as defined in 49 CFR Part 26.67.  Citizens of the United States (or lawfully admitted permanent residents) who are women, Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific Americans, Subcontinent Asian Americans, or other minorities found to be disadvantaged by the Small Business Administration, are rebuttably presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.  Other criteria include, but are not limited to: 1) the individual owners personal net worth (must be less than $750,000 excluding the individuals home and shares in the prospective DBE); and, 2) the average annual gross receipts of the prospective DBE over the past three years must not exceed $20.41 million (per 13 CFR 121.402).

How does a business become certified as a DBE?  DBE certification is administered by the Small Business Development Program, Civil Rights Office, Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT).  To print a DBE application, click here.  Once a business is certified as a DBE, the Tennessee Unified Certified Program allows multiple agencies to utilize the same certification statewide, to simplify the application process. Completed DBE applications should be mailed to: Tennessee Department of TransportationCivil Rights Office, Small Business Development ProgramSuite 1800, James K. Polk Bldg.505 Deaderick Street Nashville, TN  37243-0347

What are the advantages of being certified as a DBE?  Certification as a DBE provides greater exposure for contract opportunities.  Once certified, your businesss address is added to a state-wide database which is compiled and maintained by TDOT. This list, the TDOT Certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Listing, is accessed by other transit systems, as well as municipal and state agencies seeking to do business with DBEs.   Being certified as a DBE enhances a businesss exposure to the business community.

Is there any cost to become certified as a DBE?  No.