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Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program

The Port of Seattle Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program

The Diversity in Contracting Department has two distinct programs: The Women and Minority Business Enterprise (W/MBE) Program and the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program. The DBE Program is a federal program that was established in accordance with U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations 49 CFR Part 26. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) falls under the USDOT; thereby FAA funds are received and allocated for specific Port projects, unlike WMBE projects which are not funded by federal funds. DBE program guidelines and procedures aid in ensuring DBEs have equal opportunity to compete for contracts, subcontracts, and agreements in the award and administration of DOT-assisted contracts.

It is our policy to:

  • Ensure nondiscrimination in the award of DOT-assisted contracts.
  • Create a level playing field on which DBEs can compete fairly for DOT-assisted contracts.
  • Ensure a firm meets federal eligibility standards (49 CFR Part 26) prior to participation in the DBE Program
  • Assist in identifying and removing barriers to participation for DBEs in federally assisted contracts.
  • Assist in the development of DBEs to increase their competitiveness in the marketplace.
  • The Port operates under race-conscious goals on its federally assisted projects. 

 Port of Seattle's 2023-2025 Methodology HERE

Port of Seattle DBE Program Plan 2022-2023 HERE

Upcoming for 2023

The focus of the DBE Program will be the following:

  • Increase DBE Participation on FAA funded Port projects
  • Conduct informational sessions for upcoming DBE projects
  • Collaborate with state and local transportation agencies to increase technical assistance training for DBEs

For more information, please see the Official Questions and Answers Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program Regulation.

If you have any additional questions, please email us at

Past Information:

2019 Federal Washington State Airport DBE Disparity Study CLICK HERE

Get Certified as a DBE:

The Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises (OMWBE) certifies small businesses owned and controlled by minority, women, and socially and economically disadvantaged persons. OMWBE certifies business in order to increase contracting opportunities for certified businesses with state and local governments. Learn more about certification and how to apply here.

Access OMWBE FAQs and Fact Sheets here. 

Questions include "What if I am certified as a DBE in another state?" The answer: you will just need to complete the application for Interstate DBE Status. 








What Is a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE)?

A DBE is a business owned by an individual who is socially and economically disadvantaged with at least a 51% interest in a business in which they have control of management and the daily business operations. The individual/majority owner must have a personal net worth less than $1.32 million and be of the following ethnicities: African American, Hispanic, Native American, AsianPacific Islander, or Subcontinent Asian American. Women (overall) are presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged.

It is the policy of the Port of Seattle to ensure that DBEs, as defined in 49 CFR Part 26, have an equal opportunity to compete for contracts, subcontracts, and agreements in the award, participation, and administration of USDOT–assisted contracts.

How do I become certified as a DBE?

Firms seeking to be federally certified as a DBE should contact the Office of Minority and Women Business Enterprises (OMWBE). Information on the eligibility criteria, instructions, and certification materials can be found online or provided by phone at (866) 208-1064.

Are Primes required to utilize DBEs, or can WMBEs or SBEs be used on projects?

Yes, Prime contractors are required to utilize DBE firms on federally funded projects. They may also use WMBE or SBE firms; however, the participation of those firms will not count toward the DBE required goal utilization. 

Do DBEs have to reapply for certification?

No. However, DBE firms are required to update changes to their firm’s information per their certification agency’s requirements. 

How is the DBE goal calculated?

The DBE goal is calculated utilizing the most current disparity study, the number of certified firms with the NAICS code, Scope of Work, and Project Estimate.

What if I am looking to operate an airport concession?

The Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) program requires a similar certification and more information can be found by visiting the OMWBE website. The Airport Dining and Retail Department manages this program for the Port. Visit the Airport Dining and Retail site for more information and browse through their ACDBE Goals and Methodology presentation for an overview of the program's fundamentals. 

Where can I find other opportunities?

Harris County, TX Bid Opportunities


& more to be added....

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