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Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certification: what is it and why should you care?

Did you know that Red Shoes Inc. is a woman-owned business? As a woman-owned business, our leader is always looking for ways to help Red Shoes Inc. grow and succeed. That is why she ensured that Red Shoes Inc. is proudly Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) certified. Keep reading to find out if your business qualifies and if so, how a DBE certification can help your business grow.

What is DBE Certification? 

DBE certification stands for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise.

How to Qualify for DBE Certification?

To become certified, a company must be at least 51 percent owned by one or more individuals who are considered disadvantaged, such as minorities, women or veterans. In addition, the company must be based in the United States and have its headquarters also in the U.S.

Why was the program created? And, when?

The DBE program was created in 1983 to level the playing field for small businesses competing for government contracts. 

How can DBE Certification help my business grow?

Some government agencies, municipal authorities and corporations have a rule that 10 percent of their vendors must be DBE-certified and if a contractor has met or exceeded this goal, they have a better chance of getting contracts awarded by U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) funds. This provides incentives for companies to use DBE-certified businesses

What are some other incentives for businesses to work with a DBE certified vendor?

Businesses often times seek to increase contracting for a variety of reasons, beyond the government mandate. Partnering with a DBE is good for their business for several reasons including:

  • They can diversify their supplier base and tap into new markets.
  • They can get preferred treatment in some bidding situations.
  • They can learn from companies who may have different and innovative approaches to business.
  • They may feel that it is the right thing to do. They can also promote social and economic inclusion by working with businesses that might not otherwise get a chance to participate in government contracting opportunities.

Obtaining a DBE certification demonstrates a commitment to value

In choosing to undergo DBE certification, your business shows a long-term commitment to your clients. Please remember that quality service is important for all businesses, but it’s especially critical for DBE-certified companies that businesses are under more public scrutiny due to a DBE certification. As a result, you need to make sure that you are providing the best possible service to your customers. If you don’t, you not only  risk losing your certification—but also, your reputation. 

How do I obtain a DBE-Certification for my Business?

To obtain a form and get started, visit: https://www.transportation.gov/civil-rights/disadvantaged-business-enterprise/ready-apply

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