Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program

The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise/Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE/ACDBE) Program was created to ensure nondiscrimination in the award of federal-aid contracts and level the playing field for small, minority and women-owned companies, as well as other socially and economically disadvantaged business, wanting to do business with agencies receiving federal-aid from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). The DBE Program is a federal program. The State of New Hampshire does not offer a state certification program for women-owned business enterprise (WBE), minority women-owned business enterprise (MWBE) or minority male-owned enterprise (MBE).

The DBE/ACDBE Program was created to:

  • Ensure nondiscrimination in the award and administration of federally assisted contracts.
  • Create a level playing field on which DBEs can compete for federally assisted contracts.
  • Help remove barriers that affect participation of DBEs in federally assisted contracts; and
  • Assist the development of firms that can compete successfully in the marketplace outside the DBE Program

The Benefits

The DBE/ACDBE Program provides firms with substantial benefits. Some of those benefits include:

  • Increased opportunity to work on transportation contracts and receiving bidding information about upcoming projects.
  • Business exposure through the DBE Directory that is available to all state agencies, business and the general public. The DBE Directory is referenced in all NHDOT proposals of advertised federally assisted projects.
  • Receiving Free DBE Business Development/Supportive Services (limited), which include introductions to prime contractors.
  • Training & Networking Opportunities.

General Program Requirements

In order to qualify as a DBE, all companies must meet the following requirements:

  • The owner and the business company have to have established their principal office in New Hampshire. For out-of-state businesses, see “Interstate” certification below.
  • The owner must be a member of a socially and economically disadvantaged group. This means owners who are citizens of the United States, and/or lawfully admitted permanent residents, and are: Black, Hispanic, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific Islanders, Subcontinent Asians, or women regardless of race.
  • The business must be owned, at least 51%, by one or more individuals who are considered members of a socially and economically disadvantaged group.
  • The disadvantaged owner(s) must control the company's management and daily operations.
  • A disadvantaged owner(s) personal net worth cannot exceed $1,320,000 (excluding ownership interest in the firm and the equity in his/her primary residence).
  • The company must meet the Small Business Administration's Size Standard requirements and must not exceed $30.72 million in gross annual receipts for DBEs ($56.42 million for ACDBEs). Visit Small Business Administration and USDOT DBE Size Standards for more information.

The DBE Certification Process

The goal of the NHDOT is to ensure timely processing of a firm’s application for certification and/or certification renewal is critical to ensuring that qualified Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) and Airport Concession DBEs (ACDBEs) do not face delays in competing for federal-aid contracts or for concession opportunities. The following is the DBE process that applies after a new application, or an annual review paperwork has been received:

  1. OAOC shall contact the applicant and acknowledge the receipt of the application/paperwork within two (2) business days.
  2. OAOC shall then review the application/paperwork and advise the applicant within thirty (30) business days from receipt of the application whether the application is complete and suitable for evaluation, and if not, what additional information or action is required.
    1. Applicable to New In-State Applications: If any of the required information is missing, the applicant will have thirty (30) days to provide the missing or requested information. Applicants may request an extension which is not to exceed an additional thirty (30) days. Extensions may be granted under appropriate circumstances, in writing and with documentation to support the granting of an extension, if warranted by the facts.
    2. Applicable to Annual Reviews: Applicants shall have seven (7) business days to provide the missing information. OAOC shall not make any additional attempts to contact the applicant if they do not respond.
    3. If the applicant fails to respond to the request for information, the OAOC shall initiate an Intent to Remove DBE Certification Notice for noncompliance and email the notice, as well as send it by mail, to the applicant. Failure to provide the requested information in a timely manner is deemed as a failure to cooperate and is grounds to remove DBE eligibility (49 CFR §26.109(c)). If the applicant does not respond and/or provide the requested information within thirty (30) days from the date of on the Intent to Remove DBE Certification letter, OAOC shall proceed to decertify the firm. Decertified firms must wait one (1) year from the date on the decertification letter to reapply for the program.
    4. If the email bounces back or mail is returned to OAOC, OAOC shall inactivate the application and remove the firm’s name from the DBE Directory.  
  3. If the OAOC deems the application to be complete, OAOC shall review the application and schedule an on-site or a virtual meeting as appropriate.  OAOC must conduct in person on-site visit for all firms working in the transportation related industry. Under extraordinary circumstances, and as directed by federal regulations, those visits may be conducted virtually.
  4. The decision about the certification will be made within ninety (90) days from receipt of the complete application.

Contact Us

dbecertifications@dot.nh.gov  DBE Certifications

Heidi Karajcic, Federal Compliance Specialist, (603) 271-8222