A disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) is a for-profit small business concern that is:
The objectives of the DBE program are to:
A firm is not considered "small business concern" if it has annual gross receipts in excess of $23.98 million for general construction or in excess of $4.5 million for engineering, architectural and surveying firms over the previous three fiscal years. An economically disadvantaged individual is one whose personal net worth does not exceed $1.32 million. Personal net worth does not include the individual's ownership interest in the applicant or participating DBE firm, or the individual's equity in his or her primary place of residence. Socially and economically disadvantaged individuals are those who are (in addition to being economically disadvantaged) citizens of the United States who are:
(a) found to be socially and economically disadvantaged on a case-by-case basis.
(b) Individuals in the following groups, of which are rebuttably presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged:
The Department of Transportation sets an overall DBE goal for federal-aid contracts annually. The department attempts to meet the overall goal without using individual contract goals. However, individual contract goals are assigned if the overall goal is not being met.
Additional information from the US Department of Transportation: