top of page

Major Updates to the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program Effective May 9, 2024

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has introduced significant updates to the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program, effective May 9, 2024. These changes are designed to modernize and streamline the program, ensuring greater fairness and efficiency in the certification process and expanding opportunities for disadvantaged businesses. Here’s an overview of the key changes:

1. Increased Personal Net Worth Cap

One of the most notable updates is the increase in the personal net worth (PNW) cap for disadvantaged owners. Previously set at $1.32 million, the cap has now been raised to $2.047 million. Additionally, retirement assets are excluded from this calculation. This adjustment, accounting for inflation, is aimed at making the program more accessible to a broader range of disadvantaged individuals.

2. Streamlined Certification Process

The certification process has been overhauled to incorporate modern practices:

  • Virtual On-Site Visits: Formalizing the flexibility introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic, the new rules allow for virtual on-site interviews and certification hearings. This change is expected to save resources and time for both applicants and certifiers.

  • Expedited Interstate Certification: The process for interstate certification has been streamlined, enabling businesses certified in one state to obtain certification in another state more efficiently.

3. Operational and Ownership Requirements

To ensure that DBEs are genuinely operational and independently owned, the following requirements have been introduced:

  • Operational Proof: Businesses must demonstrate that they have active operations in the industry for which they seek certification. This prevents the certification of businesses that exist only as plans without tangible operations.

  • Ownership Clarifications: The new rules provide clear guidelines on ownership, including investments and gifts. Disadvantaged owners must hold the highest officer positions and exercise full control over the firm's decisions.

4. Prompt Payment and Monitoring Enhancements

New measures have been implemented to ensure prompt payment to DBEs by prime contractors. Enhanced enforcement mechanisms will be in place to guarantee compliance, thereby supporting the financial stability of disadvantaged businesses.

5. Gross Receipts Calculation

The method for calculating gross receipts has been simplified. DBEs are now required to calculate their gross receipts on a cash basis rather than an accrual basis. This change aims to ease the financial reporting burden on small businesses.

6. Curative Measures for Certification Applications

Applicants now have increased opportunities to rectify disqualifying issues in their applications. This includes legitimate transactions and documentation improvements made in good faith during the certification process. Certifiers can notify applicants of eligibility concerns and allow them to address these issues before making a final decision.

7. Data Collection and Reporting

The new regulations also introduce enhanced data collection and reporting requirements:

  • Uniform Report Enhancement*: The Uniform Report, which captures contracting data, now collects detailed information on individual DBEs and contracts.

  • Bidders Lists Submission: Recipients must submit their bidders lists to provide a clearer picture of the market and improve transparency in the contracting process.

These comprehensive updates reflect the USDOT’s commitment to fostering a more equitable and efficient environment for disadvantaged businesses. The changes are expected to significantly enhance the ability of DBEs to compete fairly for DOT-assisted contracts, thereby promoting diversity and inclusion in federally funded transportation projects.

For further details on these changes, you can refer to the [USDOT announcement]( and the [Federal Register notice] (

For assistance in determining your eligibility, CLICK HERE to schedule a call with Aventi Enterprises.

48 views0 comments


bottom of page