Disadvantaged Business Enterprise

What is a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE)?

A DBE is a for-profit, small business that is at least 51% owned - and controlled by - individuals who are part of a minority group such as Hispanic, Black, Native American, Asian, or Asian-Pacific Islanders, or who are women.

Advantages of being a certified DBE

Becoming a certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise means that you have additional opportunities to secure contracts for federally funded projects, especially from contractors who must meet DBE goal requirements. All DBE-certified businesses are included in an official statewide database utilized by prime contractors looking to contract with DBE certified businesses for a variety of services.

What are DBE Goals?

Federally funded transit providers such as The Bus should have a certain percentage of all their contracts be awarded to DBE certified businesses. Caltrans has designated the goal of the Transit Joint Powers Authority of Merced County, also known as The Bus, as one percent.

Are there other DBE businesses in Merced county?

Not many! Unfortunately, many local small businesses have not tapped into this potential resource for securing more contracts for their business. Check out the video below to hear more from one of our local DBE businesses about the advantages of becoming DBE certified.

Qualifications to become a certified DBE

  • Must be a small business
  • Must be a for-profit business
  • Business must average less than $23.98 million in gross receipts over each of the last three years
  • Business must not be affiliated with another firm in such a way as to compromise its independence and control
  • Must be at least 51% owned and controlled by individuals(s) who are U.S. citizens or lawful residents and who meet the federal definition of socially and economically disadvantaged (ethnic minorities and women are presumed to meet this definition)
  • Business owners must have a personal net worth less than $1.32 million
  • Business must be willing to submit to an on-site inspection during application process
  • Must notarize your DBE application

But what if my business has nothing to do with Transit or Transportation?

Transit agencies such as The Bus require many types of services. These may include, but are not limited to:

  • Office furniture
  • Printing supplies, equipment, and services
  • Marketing services and promotional items
  • IT goods and services
  • Translation services
  • Electronics
  • Pest control services
  • Office maintenance
  • Janitorial service and/or supplies
  • Security equipment and/or service
  • Window repair/replacement
  • Vehicles
  • General office supplies
  • Training services
  • Telecommunication services
  • Landscape and/or irrigation service

The Application Process

The application process entails a thorough vetting of each business that applies for certification. This includes an interview and on-site inspection in addition to submitting the required notarized documents to a certifying agency. While this process may seem overwhelming, the advantages of being a certified DBE can be significant!

Documents to bring to Workshop to begin Application Process

You are not required to bring any documents with you in order to attend the workshop. But there are many documents you will need to provide in order to complete the DBE application. For a complete list of required documents, see the last page of the DBE application:



Office of Business & Economic Opportunity 

CA Department of General Services

Cal eProcure

Local contact

Nav Bagri
MCAG Finance Director
(209) 723-3153 x154