Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Certification


LaTanya Raffington, Senior Coordinator, MWSBE

The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Certification Program is a federal program created for business owners deemed “socially and economically disadvantaged.” The Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) Program is similar to the DBE program in that the program is designed to level the playing field for small businesses that want to participate in contracting opportunities at airports. DBE and ACDBE certification help your business compete for contracts on federally funded projects.  The Tallahassee International Airport receives federal funds from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) and StarMetro receives federal funds from the Federal Transit Authority (FTA).

Socially or economically disadvantaged individuals are US citizens (or permanent residents) from the following groups: Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Asian-Pacific Americans, Subcontinent Asian Americans, and Women (as per 49 CFR Part 26 and SBA).

Your business does not have to hold DBE or ACDBE certifications to bid on projects. However, when prime contractors seek to meet federal equal opportunity goals on projects, certification levels the playing field and helps small minority- and women-owned businesses compete against larger, equally-qualified bidders.

If you are interested in obtaining DBE certification, your firm must be an independent business owned (at least 51%) and controlled by a member or members of a socially or economically disadvantaged group. Individual owners must have a personal net worth not exceeding $1.32 million (excluding ownership interest in the firm, retirement fund assets, and equity value of the primary residence). The firm’s average gross receipts over the last three years must not exceed $22.4 million. There are additional size limits for various categories of businesses.

If you are interested in obtaining ACDBE certification, your firm must have gross receipts averaged over the firm’s previous three fiscal years that do not exceed $56.42 million. The size standard for banks and other financial institutions is $1 billion in assets, $75.23 million for car rental companies, 1,500 employees for pay telephone companies, and 350 employees for automobile dealers. (23.33) The personal net worth standard used in determining eligibility for purposes of Part 23 is $1.32 million or as adjusted by Federal regulation. When calculating personal net worth, the following exclusions apply; the individual’s ownership interest in an ACDBE firm or a firm that is applying for ACDBE certification; the individual’s equity in his or her primary place of residence; and other assets that the individual can document are necessary to obtain financing or a franchise agreement for the initiation or expansion of his or her ACDBE firm, to a maximum of $3 million. Any person who has a personal net worth exceeding this amount is not a socially and economically disadvantaged individual, even if a member of a group otherwise presumed to be disadvantaged.

For more information regarding DBE and ACDBE certifications, please contact LaTanya Raffington at (850) 219-1080.

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