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Small business programs | Become a certified small business

Certified small business eligibility

The information contained within this section is intended to provide an overview of eligibility requirements. Small business owners interested in participating in MnDOT’s equity-based programs must obtain formal certification.

To apply for certification as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), your firm must meet the following eligibility criteria:

Social and economic disadvantage

The disadvantaged individual must be a U.S. citizen or lawfully admitted permanent residents of the U.S., and be a member of a socially and economically disadvantaged group:

  • Women, Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific Americans and Subcontinent Asian Americans
  • Personal net worth not to exceed $1.32 million

Ownership

Must be a for-profit small business in which disadvantaged individual(s) own at least 51 percent interest and:

  • Ownership must extend beyond a formal arrangement, and
  • Proof of contribution is documented.

Transfer of ownership from non-disadvantaged individual is insufficient.

Independence

Only an independent business may qualify as a DBE:

  • The firm must not share employees, equipment, space and other resources with another firm.

Control

The disadvantaged owner(s) controls the overall management, operations and policies, and:

  • Holds the highest officer position,
  • Controls day-to-day and long-term operations,
  • Retains technical competence and experience directly related to the type of work certification is being sought, with
  • Rules limiting outside employment.

Business requirements

To be an eligible DBE, a firm must be an existing small business:

Out-of-state firms

A firm located outside the state of Minnesota must obtain certification from the home-state UCP before seeking certification in Minnesota.

Authority

To apply for certification as a Targeted Group Business, your firm must meet the following eligibility criteria:

Group membership

The individual applying for certification must be a U.S. citizen or lawfully admitted permanent resident of the U.S., and be an economically disadvantaged member of a qualifying group:

  • Woman, racial minority, or person with a substantial physical disability
  • Personal net worth not to exceed $1.32 million

Ownership

Must be an existing small business in which a qualifying individual owns at least 51 percent interest:

  • Ownership must extend beyond a formal arrangement, and
  • Proof of contribution is documented with purchase agreement, proof of purchase, and bill of sale.

Transfer of ownership or assets from non-qualifying individual within two years is insufficient.

Independence

Only an independent business may qualify as a TGB:

  • The firm must not share employees, equipment, space and other resources with another firm

Control

The qualifying owner controls the overall management, operations and policies, and:

  • Holds the highest officer position,
  • Controls day-to-day and long-term operations, and
  • Retains technical competence and experience directly related to the type of work certification is being sought.

Business requirements

Must be an existing small business, located within the state of Minnesota, and:

Ineligible businesses

  • Brokers, third-party lessors, and franchises are not eligible for TGB certification.

DBE firms seeking TGB certification

Minnesota-based DBE firms seeking TGB certification do not require formal application. DBE/TGB certification reciprocity may be requested by emailing Procurement.Equity@state.mn.us.

Authority

To apply for certification as a Veteran-Owned Small Business (Vet), your firm must meet the following eligibility criteria:

Ownership

Must be an existing small business in which a veteran or service-disabled veteran owns at least 51% interest:

  • Ownership must extend beyond a formal arrangement, and
  • Proof of contribution is documented with purchase agreement, proof of purchase, and bill of sale.

Transfer of ownership or assets from non-qualifying individual within two years is insufficient.

Status verification is required and can be obtained from the Minnesota Department of Veteran Affairs (MDVA).

Independence

Only an independent business may qualify as a Vet:

  • The firm must not share employees, equipment, space and other resources with another firm.

Control

The qualifying owner controls the overall management, operations and policies, and:

  • Holds the highest officer position,
  • Controls day-to-day and long-term operations, and
  • Retains technical competence and experience directly related to the type of work certification is being sought.

Business requirements

Must be an existing small business, located within the state of Minnesota, and:

Ineligible businesses

Brokers, third-party lessors, and franchises are not eligible for Vet certification.

Authority