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        The Maryland Department of Transportation's (MDOT) Office of Minority Business Enterprise (OMBE) is Maryland's official certification agency for the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Program, the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program, the Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) Program and Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Program.

    [Click here for SBE Overview Below]

Types of Certification

  1. Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) – State-funded contracts
  2. Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) – U.S. Department of             Transportation-funded contracts
  3. Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) – Airport concessions contracts
  4. Small Business Enterprise (SBE) --  U.S. Department of Transportation-funded contracts

Steps to Certification

  1. Application – Applicant submits a complete application and all required supporting documentation.
  2. Investigation – An investigator reviews documentation submitted by applicant, conducts an on-site/job-site visit and prepares an investigative report.
  3. Evaluation – MBE Advisory Committee (MBEAC) reviews the investigative report to evaluate whether the applicant firm meets the MBE/DBE/ACDBE program requirement
  4. Determination – MBEAC Chair issues a written determination.

MBE/DBE/ACDBE eligibility standards can be broken down into six key standards:

  1. Ownership - A minimum of 51% ownership by one or more socially-and economically-disadvantaged individual(s)
  2. Minority Status - Certain groups are presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged:
    African Americans
    - American Indians/Native Americans
    - Asian Americans
    - Hispanic Americans
    - Women
    - Disabled (MBE only)
    - Non-profit organizations serving the physically and/or mentally disabled
      population (MBE only) 
  3. Control - Minority owner(s) must have an overall understanding of, and managerial and technical competence and experience directory related to, the type of business in which the firm is seeking certification
  4. Personal Net Worth - Applicants must fall below the personal net worth cap established for each program:
    MBE - $1,641,352 (Effective 1/1/2014 through 12/31/2014)
    - DBE - $1,320,000
    - ACDBE - $1,320,000
  5. Size - The applicant firm must meet the small business size standards established by the U.S. Small Business Administration.  Size standards are measured by average annual gross receipts (ranging from $750,000 to $35,500,000 depending on the industry) or average number of employees (ranging from 500 to 1,000 depending on the industry)
  6. Citizenship - The 51% owner(s) must be a U.S. citizen or lawfully admitted permanent resident of the U.S.

See the SBA’s website for more information:

MDOT administers both the State of Maryland MBE participation goal, as well as the DBE participation goal for contracts that receive assistance from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). Effective August 13, 2013, Maryland's MBE participation goal for fiscal years 2014 and 2015 is 29%. 

To ensure that only bona fide MBEs/DBEs/ACDBEs participate in the programs, Maryland has a comprehensive certification program. Only those businesses determined to be owned and controlled by socially- and economically disadvantaged individuals are certified. A firm designated as an MBE and/or DBE and/or ACDBE will have its name appear in MDOT's Online Directory of MBE, DBE, and ACDBE Firms.  The Directory is utilized by State departments/agencies, the contracting community and the general public.

Recognizing that the potential for MBE/DBE/ACDBE participation is dependent upon several variables, each MDOT administration examines its respective contracts/purchase orders and establishes specific minority participation goals on a contract-by-contract basis. Procedures are followed to assure that an award of a contract is not made until a prime contractor has met the established minority business participation goal(s) or has demonstrated a good faith effort to meet the those goal(s).

After a contract has been awarded, MBE/DBE/ACDBE participation is closely monitored by key personnel within each administration. Monitoring includes a review of the subcontract financial transactions and visits to the job-site to verify actual work being performed by the MBE/DBE/ACDBE firm. The standards for compliance are spelled out in the MBE/DBE/ACDBE Program Manual. Any deviation from compliance standards is documented, and if it is not corrected, sanctions may be applied against the contractor and subcontractor(s). The program manual identifies the sanctions which may be instituted.

Periodically, MDOT revises the Maryland Minority Business Enterprise/Federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program Manual for improvements and to include any applicable changes in federal and/or State regulations or laws. Persons having an interest in the program may find this guide helpful in understanding these Programs. Copies of the complete program manual are available online in Adobe PDF format or at the following address for a nominal fee:

Maryland Department of Transportation
Office of Minority Business Enterprise
7201 Corporate Center Drive
Hanover, MD 21076
410-865-1269 or 1-800-544-6056
TTY 410-865-1342



     MDOT’s Office of Minority Business Enterprise (OMBE) is the official
certification agency for the State of Maryland.  

Type of Certification

Small Business Enterprise (SBE) – Federally aided projects assisted by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Federal Highway Administration (FHA), and Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

SBE – Program applies only to the State Highway Administration (SHA), Maryland Transit Administration (MTA), and Maryland Aviation Administration (MAA) on contracts that are funded in whole or in part with United States Department of Transportation (US DOT) funds.

Steps to Certification

Application – Applicant submits a complete application and all required supporting documentation.  No incomplete application will be processed.  Each question must be answered.  All attachments must be completed.  All required signatures must be supplied.  Application must be notarized.

SBE eligibility standards

  • A firm must be a small business as defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) by applying current SBA business size standards found in 13 CFR Part 121 that are applicable to the type of work the firm seeks to perform in USDOT-assisted contracts. 
  • The firm’s average annual gross receipts as defined by SBA regulations (averaged over the previous three fiscal years or part of the year which the business has been in existence), cannot exceed the amount set forth in 49 CFR 26.65.
  •  The firm’s average gross receipts cannot exceed the overall USDOT size standard for a small business ($22.41 million averaged over the three previous fiscal years or part of year which the business has been in existence).
  • At least 51% of the firm’s ownership must be held by individuals who meet the personal net worth (PNW) cap of $1.32 million as prescribed by 49 CFR 26.67.
  • A firm must be organized for profit in order to be eligible for SBE certification.
  • The 51% owner(s) must be a U.S. citizen or lawfully admitted permanent resident of the U.S.


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