What Is a Disadvantage Business Enterprise

A disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) is a for-profit small business concern that is at least 51 percent owned by one or more individuals who are both socially and economically disadvantaged. In the case of a corporation, 51 percent of the stock is owned by one or more such individuals; and whose management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more of the socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who own it.

What Is The South Dakota Unified Certification Program

The South Dakota Unified Certification Program (UCP) was developed under a mutual agreement between certifying agencies, creating “one-stop shopping” for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) certification in South Dakota. The UCP Board certifies eligible firms throughout the state for Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Transit Administration, and Federal Highway Administration.

What Are The DBE Program Objectives

To ensure nondiscrimination in the award and administration of DOT-assisted contracts in the Department’s highway, transit, and airport financial assistance programs; to create a level playing field on which DBEs can compete fairly for DOT-assisted contracts; to ensure that the Department’s DBE program is narrowly tailored in accordance with applicable law; to ensure that only firms that fully meet this part’s eligibility standards are permitted to participate as DBEs; to help remove barriers to the participation of DBEs in DOT-assisted contracts; to assist the development of firms that can compete successfully in the marketplace outside the DBE program; and to provide appropriate flexibility to recipients of Federal financial assistance in establishing and providing opportunities for DBEs.

What Are The Criteria For DBE Certification

Eligibility requirements for certification as a DBE are stated in 49 CFR, Part 26. Eligibility must be proved by a DBE applicant. The following are six of the requirements stated in the regulation. For more specific criteria, refer to 49 CFR, Part 26.

A. Social and Economic Disadvantage: A disadvantaged owner must be a U.S. Citizen (or resident alien) and meet the federal definition of socially and economically disadvantaged as defined in 49 CFR Part 26.67. Presumptive groups include women, Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific Americans, Subcontinent Asian-Americans, or other minorities found to be disadvantaged by the regulations or any individual found to be socially and economically disadvantaged on a case-by-case basis.
B. Personal Net Worth: Only disadvantaged persons having a personal net worth (PNW) of less than $1.32 million can be considered as a potential qualified DBE. Items excluded from a person’s net worth calculation include an individual’s ownership interest in the applicant firm, and his or her primary residence.
C. Business Size Standard: A firm (including affiliates) must be a small business as defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA). It must not have annual gross receipts over $28.48 million in the previous five fiscal years. Depending on the type of work the business performs, other size standards may apply.
D. Ownership: Must be a for-profit small business concern where socially and economically disadvantaged individuals own at least 51% interest and control management AND daily business operations.
E. Independence: The business must not be affiliated with another firm in such a way as to compromise its independence and control. These include, but not limited to, such areas as personnel, facilities, equipment, financial and/or bonding support, and other resources.
F. Management and Control: The socially and economically DBE owner(s) must possess the power to direct or cause the direction to the management and policies of the firm and to make day-to-day decisions, as well as long-term decisions on matters of management, policy and operations.

How Can I Prove My Group Membership

Any of the following documentation which indicates group membership will be considered: Your Birth Certificate, your Parent’s or Grandparent’s Birth Certificate, Naturalization Papers, Passport, Military Discharge Paper (D.D. 214), Tribal Enrollment Card or any other documentation that provides evidence of group membership. However, if you do not have any of the preceding documentation as evidence of group membership, you will have to submit one (1) notarized statement from a relevant community organization attesting that you are regarded as a member of the group and stating how long you have been regarded as a member of that particular group. Group membership cannot be claimed solely upon being born in a certain country; and personal photographs are not acceptable as evidence of group membership. Any documents presented as evidence of group membership, in a language other than English, must be translated and notarized.

If I Do Not Fall Within The Presumptive Groups, Can I Still Be Considered a DBE?

Yes, but you must prove your eligibility by providing documentary evidence that you are socially and economically disadvantaged. To be a socially and economically disadvantaged individual means any individual who is a citizen (or lawfully admitted permanent resident) of the United States and who meets the criteria based on 49 CFR Part 26, and any individual who the Department finds to be socially and economically disadvantaged on a case-by-case basis. Typically, individuals in the following groups are rebuttably presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged; however, those outside of these are assessed on a case-by-case basis: Black Americans, which includes persons having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa; Hispanic Americans, which includes persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Central or South American, or other Spanish or Portuguese culture or origin, regardless of race; Native Americans, which includes persons who are American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, or Native Hawaiians; Asian-Pacific Americans, which includes persons whose origins are from Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, Burma (Myanmar), Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia (Kampuchea), Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei, Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands (Republic of Palau), the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, Macao, Fiji, Tonga, Kirbati, Juvalu, Nauru, Federated States of Micronesia, or Hong Kong; Subcontinent Asian Americans, which includes persons whose origins are from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives Islands, Nepal or Sri Lanka; and Women.

What Is The Threshold For Personal Net Worth

The threshold for each owner(s) shall be no greater than $1.32 million. Only disadvantaged persons having a personal net worth (PNW) of less than $1.32 million can be considered as a potential qualified DBE. Items excluded from a person’s net worth calculation include an individual’s ownership interest in the applicant firm, and his or her primary residence

When Completing The Application, Should Include My Primary Residence Even Though It Is Excluded From The Net Worth Calculations?

Yes, you must indicate the current market value of your primary residence on the application together with any debt you owe against it. The equity in your primary residence does not count toward the allowed $1.32 million; however, the adjustment will be made by the UCP’s Financial Board member.

Why Is It Required to Have an On-Site Evaluation of My Business

It is a regulatory requirement. The Federal regulations states in 49 CFR Part 26.83 subpart C, section 1: “Perform an on-site visit to the offices of the firm. You must interview the principal officers of the firm and review their résumés and/or work histories. You must also perform an on-site visit to job sites if there are such sites on which the firm is working at the time of the eligibility investigation in your jurisdiction or local area. You may rely upon the site visit report of any other recipient with respect to a firm applying for certification.”

If My Business is DBE Certified, How Long Is The Certification Good For?

Your firm is certified until your certification is removed or you withdraw from the program; however, program eligibility must be reviewed annually. This is called an annual eligibility review. The affidavit must affirm that there have been no changes in your firm’s circumstances that would affect its ability to meet size, disadvantaged status, ownership, and control requirements. This update requires you to submit the most recent business taxes. If your eligibility documentation is not submitted timely, it may be cause for removal from the program for failure to cooperate.

I'm an Out-Of-State Business Seeking Work In South Dakota, Can I Be Certified As a DBE?

Yes. However, your firm must first be certified in your home state. For example, if your firm is based in Minnesota, you must proceed through Minnesota’s DBE certification process before seeking DBE certification in South Dakota. Once you are certified as a DBE in your home state, you can then apply for certification in South Dakota.

Is There a Cost To The Applicant For The Certification Process?

No. The application is completed entirely online at no additional cost to the applicant.

I Have Questions Regarding The DBE Application; Who Can I Contact For Assistance?

If you have questions, the Department’s DBE Supportive Services provider Project Solutions, Inc. is available free of charge to answer any questions. The contact is Kari Bullion, dbe@projectsolutionsinc.com, (605) 737-0377. Also, you can contact the SDDOT Program Coordinator, Lance DeMers at lance.demers@state.sd.us or 605-773-4906.

Do I Need To Supply All The Documents From The Uniform Certification Application Supporting Documents Checklist?

You only need to supply the information that pertains to your firm. If there is something that does not pertain to your firm, add a sheet of paper in your application with N/A on it for that section.

What Are My Appeal Rights If I Am Denied DBE Certification?

You may appeal a decision if you feel all the facts have not been duly considered. To do so, please respond in writing within 90 days from the date of your denial letter to:

U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Room W78-338
Washington, DC 20590

Phone: 202-366-4070

Your letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation must contain the following: information and arguments concerning why the South Dakota Department of Transportation’s decision should be reversed and the name and address of any other U.S. DOT recipient/agency which currently certified the firm, which has rejected an application for certification from the firm or removed the firms’ eligibility within one year prior to the date of the appeal, or before which an application for certification or a removal of eligibility is pending.

How Long Is The Certification Process From Start To Finish?

Per the federal regulations for an In-State application the reviewer has 90 days from the time a complete application has been submitted to reach their decision. For an Interstate application the reviewer has 60 days from the time a complete application has been submitted to reach their decision.

Does DBE Certification Have Reciprocity With Other Agencies Such As The Small Business Administration (SBA)?

No, the SBA 8(a) Program and the DBE Program are separate Federal certifications. Currently, one must apply with both SBA and SDDOT to attain both certifications.

How Do I Apply For DBE Certification In South Dakota?

An applicant fills out an application with all supporting documentation and mails it to the following:

South Dakota Department of Transportation
DBE Program
700 E. Broadway Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501

You also can place all your application and supporting documents on a flash drive and mail that flash drive. Contact us if you’d like to arrange to email your documentation.

How Do I Submit My Annual Eligibility Review Documents To Support My DBE Certification In South Dakota?

The SDDOT will send out a renewal letter and all renewal documents to you 60 days before the expiration date.

Does South Dakota Accept My Home-State DBE Certification Without Further Procedures As Allowed In 49 CFR § 26.85 Interstate Certification?

No, South Dakota follows the second option identified in 49 CFR § 26.85 and does not accept another state’s certification “without further procedures.” Therefore, out-of-state applicants must submit all documentation that the home-state received on which it based the decision to grant the firm’s DBE Certification. A complete list of required documents is stated in the federal rule starting at 49 CFR §26.85 (c).

• You must provide a complete copy of the application form, all supporting documents, and any other information you have submitted to your home state related to your firm’s certification.
• Affidavits of no change and any notices of changes that you have submitted to your home state, as well as any correspondence you have had with your home state concerning your application or status as a DBE firm.
• You must also provide to any notices or correspondence from states other than your home state relating to your status as an applicant or certified DBE in those states. For example, if you have been denied certification or decertified in another state, or subject to a decertification action there, you must inform the SDDOT of this fact and provide all documentation concerning this action to the SDDOT.
• You must complete the Interstate Application Affidavit that state you are supplying the SDDOT with a complete copy of your original application and supporting documents that you supplied to your home state.

How Should I Let The UCP Know That My DBE Firm's Address Has Changed Or That We Have A New Telephone Number?

You can contact the SDDOT DBE Program Coordinator by either email or phone (lance.demers@state.sd.us or 605-773-4906).