DISADVANTAGED BUSINESS ENTERPRISE (DBE) PROGRAM
Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) has established a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program in accordance with regulations of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Title 49 CFR Part 26.
DBE Program Eligibility
The DBE Program is a Federal Program designed for business owners deemed "socially and economically disadvantaged." To achieve DBE status a business must meet the following criteria:
- Be an existing "for-profit" business that is currently operational;
- Meet the federal definition of a small business concern;
- Be an independent business which does not depend on its relationships with another firm or firms. If it is a subsidiary of a corporation, the business must still operate in a self-sufficient manner;
- The qualifying owner(s) must meet the federal definition of "socially and economically disadvantaged" individual(s);
- The qualifying owner(s) must own a minimum of 51% of the company; and have an investment in their company;
- The qualifying owner(s) cannot have a net worth that exceeds $1.32 million (excluding the owner's business and primary residence);
- The qualifying owner(s) must have day-to-day control of operations and possess an expertise in their work specialty.
What does Socially Disadvantaged mean?
Socially disadvantaged individuals are those who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias within American society because of their identities as members of groups and without regard to their individual qualities. Social disadvantage must stem from circumstances beyond their control. Evidence of individual social disadvantage must include one of these elements:
- At least one objective distinguishing feature that has contributed to social disadvantage, such as race, ethnic origin, gender, disability, long-term residence in an environment isolated from the mainstream of American society, or other similar causes not common to individuals who are not socially disadvantaged;
- Personal experiences of substantial and chronic social disadvantage in American society (not in other countries); and
- Negative impact on entry into or advancement in the business world because of the disadvantage.
What does Economically Disadvantaged mean?
Economically disadvantaged individuals are socially disadvantaged individuals whose ability to compete in the free enterprise system has been impaired due to diminished capital and credit opportunities as compared to others in the same or similar line of business who are not socially disadvantaged. Each individual claiming economic disadvantage must describe the conditions which are the basis for the claim in a narrative statement and must submit personal financial information.
DBE Program Goals & Objectives
For Fiscal Year 2020 – 2023 PSTA intends to expend at least 7.71% of its total Federally assisted expenditures with qualified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firms.
Our aim is to:
- To ensure nondiscrimination in the award and administration of DOT-assisted contracts;
- Create a level playing field on which DBEs can compete fairly for DOT-assisted contracts;
- Ensure that the DBE Program is narrowly tailored in accordance with applicable law;
- Ensure that only firms that fully meet 49 CFR Part 26 eligibility standards are permitted to participate as DBEs;
- Help remove barriers to the participation of DBEs in DOT assisted contracts;
- Assist in the development of firms that can compete successfully in the marketplace outside the DBE Program.
DBE Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Does PSTA certify businesses wanting to become a DBE?
No. PSTA is a non-certifying member of the Unified Certification Program. Certification is available by contacting the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).
How can businesses become certified?
You can download the DBE certification application, view a list certifying members, and get free DBE certification assistance at the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) website.
Why should my business become certified?
The certification process helps contractors and consultants identify DBE’s that are eligible to participate on federally funded contracts towards the attainment of DBE goals.
What are the advantages of becoming certified as a DBE?
The names of all certified DBEs appear in the State of Florida’s Unified Certification Program (UCP) DBE Directory, a reference site used by PSTA, state departments, local governments, contractors and the public. Contractors use the DBE Directory as a resource for soliciting minority participation on projects. If a firm is not certified, a contractor cannot receive credit toward achievement of the DBE participation goal by using that firm.
Certification as a DBE also provides:
- greater exposure for work opportunities on PSTA projects;
- quick access to your business’ description, North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes, and contact information;
- educational and training opportunities
- access to loans and bonding
- networking opportunities
Is there a cost to become certified?
No. There is no cost for the certification process.
Is there a geographic location requirement for certification?
How long does certification last?
Certification is ongoing, however, once certified, the business will be required to submit an annual “Affidavit of Continuing Eligibility” and supporting documentation on the anniversary date of its original certification. This form affirms there is no change that has occurred that impacts the company’s DBE status.
Do firms graduate from the DBE Program?
Yes. Graduation is defined as the removal of a firm's eligibility to be certified as a DBE based upon exceeding the small business size standards applicable to one or more of the NAICS Codes in which the firm is certified. A firm certified in multiple codes may graduate in one or more of its NAICS Codes, depending on the size standards for each individual code.