Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program

The objectives of the DBE program are to:

  1. Ensure nondiscrimination in the award and administration of federally-funded contracts.
  2. Create a level playing field where DBEs can compete fairly for federally funded contracts.
  3. Help remove barriers to DBE participation in the bidding, award, and administration of Sound Transit contracts.
  4. Assist in the development of DBEs so they can compete successfully in the market outside of the DBE program.
  5. Ensure that only firms that fully meet the eligibility standards of 49 CFR Part 26 are permitted to participate as DBEs.
  6. Ensure that the DBE Program is narrowly tailored in accordance with applicable law.
  7. Identify qualified DBEs that can provide Sound Transit with required materials, equipment, supplies, and services and develop good rapport with the owners and managers of said companies.
  8. Develop programs that will introduce prospective DBEs to Sound Transit's contract procedures, activities, and requirements.
  9. Encourage DBEs to provide Sound Transit with feedback on existing barriers and how to eliminate those barriers.
  10. Administer the DBE Program in close coordination with other Sound Transit departments to ensure its success.

What is a DBE?

A DBE is a for-profit small business that is at least 51% owned by individuals who are socially and economically disadvantaged. For details on additional criteria based on personal net worth and business size standards, please visit the "Do You Qualify as a DBE?" page of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of Civil Rights website.

How does my business become a DBE?

In Washington State, you must be certified through the Washington State Office of Minority & Women's Business Enterprises. Please visit OMWBE's website for additional information.

What is Sound Transit's DBE Goal?

Our agency-wide DBE goal for each year from 2018-2019 is 16.1%.

Sound Transit also supports local small businesses to help them succeed in their work by connecting them with certification resources and prime contractors in the region.

Please see our Resources and Upcoming Opportunities section for additional information and resources for DBEs and Small Businesses.

For information on DBE Fraud please see these FAQs and this brochure.