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.\

Review the Powerpoint presentation outlining the County's DBE Program.

Q. What Is a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise?
A. DBE certification is governed by Federal regulations. To be eligible for DBE 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 DBE 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 DBE. However, if a firm is seeking to perform work on a contract as a DBE it must first obtain DBE certification from a Certifying Partner in the New York State Unified Certification Program (NYSUCP).

Q. How does DBE certification help my firm get business?
A. The County reviews certain contracts to determine whether they present opportunities for DBEs. Based upon the funding source of contracts and the applicable federal regulation, DBE participation goals may be established on certain contracts. Once DBE contract goals have been established, only certified DBE firms may be used to meet the DBE participation goals unless there are no DBE firms willing or able to perform the required type of work.

Q. In what other ways does DBE certification help my firm?
A. DBE 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 DBE firms for participation on contracts. Being a certified DBE 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 DBE by a Certifying Partner in the NYSUCP your DBE certification will be recognized and accepted by all agencies in New York State that require DBE certification. Additionally, your firm will be listed in the NYSUCP electronic directory.

Q. What are the criteria for obtaining DBE certification?
A. The eligibility criteria for DBE 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 DBE certification from their home state.

Q. What is the first step for a firm interested in becoming certified as a DBE?
A. The NYSUCP is responsible for DBE certification in the state of New York and provides firms with "one-stop" shopping. To apply for DBE 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 – DBE 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 DBE program or potential county DBE projects, contact:

Michael Swee
100 East First St.
Mount Vernon, NY 10550
Tel.: (914) 813-7760