Many Westchester County projects are funded by the United States Federal government and are subject to federal rules and regulations. The Disadvantaged Business Enterprises program, or DBE, is a federally regulated program that provides a vehicle for increasing the participation by small businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
Q. What Is a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise?
A. Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certification is governed by Federal regulations. To be eligible for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certification, a firm must be a small business concern that is at least 51 percent owned and controlled by individuals who are citizens or permanent residents and who are also both. Under the governing Federal regulations, there is a rebuttable presumption that members of the following groups are socially and economically disadvantaged: Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific Americans, Subcontinent Americans, Women, and any additional groups whose members are designated as socially and economically disadvantaged by the U. S. Small Business Administration. In order to be economically disadvantaged an individual cannot have a personal net worth that exceeds $1.32 million.
Q. Does my firm have to be certified as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise to do business with Westchester County?
A. No. Any business may compete for any County contract, either as a prime contractor or as a subcontractor, whether or not they are certified as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise. However, if a firm is seeking to perform work on a contract as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise it must first obtain Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certification from a Certifying Partner in the New York State Unified Certification Program (NYSUCP).
Q. How does Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certification help my firm get business?
A. The County reviews certain contracts to determine whether they present opportunities for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises. Based upon the funding source of contracts and the applicable federal regulation, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise participation goals may be established on certain contracts. Once Disadvantaged Business Enterprise contract goals have been established, only certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise firms may be used to meet the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise participation goals unless there are no Disadvantaged Business Enterprise firms willing or able to perform the required type of work.
Q. In what other ways does Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certification help my firm?
A. Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certification provides your business with the opportunity to be listed in an electronic directory of certified firms, which is used by agencies and contractors to identify Disadvantaged Business Enterprise firms for participation on contracts. Being a certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise may also open the door to opportunities for growing your business by making it easier for you to market your firm to government entities.
If your firm is certified as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise by a Certifying Partner in the NYSUCP your Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certification will be recognized and accepted by all agencies in New York State that require Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certification. Additionally, your firm will be listed in the NYSUCP electronic directory.
Q. What are the criteria for obtaining Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certification?
A. The eligibility criteria for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certification are specifically outlined in the governing Federal regulation at 49 CFR Part 26, Subpart D. In summary, a firm must be a small business concern that is at least 51 percent owned and controlled by individuals who are citizens or permanent residents and who are also socially and economically disadvantaged. The firm must be an independent business and can only receive certification in the areas in which the socially and economically disadvantaged owners exercise control. Firms located outside of New York State must first receive Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certification from their home state.
Q. What is the first step for a firm interested in becoming certified as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise?
A. The NYSUCP is responsible for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certification in the state of New York and provides firms with "one-stop" shopping. To apply for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certification you may contact any one of the four NYSUCP Certifying Partners listed below.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)
Department of Diversity and Civil Rights
2 Broadway – 16th Fl.
New York, NY 10004
Tel.: (646) 252-1378
New York State Department of Transportation
Contract Audit Bureau – Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Certification
50 Wolf Rd. – 1st Fl.
Albany, NY 12232
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Small Business Programs
233 Park Ave. South – 4th Fl.
New York, NY 10003
Tel.: (212) 435-7828
Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority
EEO/Diversity Development Department
181 Ellicott St.
Buffalo, NY 14203
For more information on the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program or potential county Disadvantaged Business Enterprise projects, contact:
100 East First St.
Mount Vernon, NY 10550
Tel.: (914) 813-7760