DBE Certifications in Illinois

In the State of Illinois, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) certifications are granted to businesses that are at least 51% owned and operated by people who are considered ‘disadvantaged’ members of the population. Illinois offers a wide variety of DBE certifications, including women, minority, persons with disabilities, and veteran owned businesses, along with small businesses throughout the state. Qualifying businesses can apply for certification through several statewide, local, and regional programs. With these certifications, all businesses and owners can enjoy equal opportunities and access to government and public contracts and subcontracts.

Statewide Certification Programs

Illinois Unified Certification Program (IL UCP)

The Illinois Unified Certification Program (IL UCP) offers a “one-stop shop” certification process that gives certified businesses access to federally-funded projects and opportunities. This DBE certification is accepted by most corporations, agencies, and organizations throughout the state. To apply for the IL UCP certification, complete this application and Personal Net Worth (PNW) statement and submit them to one of the following agencies:

Local and Regional Programs

Chicago DBE Programs

The City of Chicago is committed to increasing opportunities and success for disadvantaged businesses within the area. To encourage economic stability, growth, and equality, Chicago offers numerous contracting opportunities for Disadvantaged Businesses. To qualify, businesses must be at least 51% owned and operated by a woman, person with disabilities, or minority. To apply, click on the links below.

Chicago Transit Authority DBE Programs

Businesses that are at least 51% owned and operated by minorities or women may qualify for a DBE certification through the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). A specific percentage of the CTA’s annual total dollar value is granted to DBE-certified firms every year, giving these businesses the best chance to succeed. To apply, click on the link below.

Metra SBE Programs

Metra’s Office of Diversity & Civil Rights (ODCR) offers certifications for small businesses that want to participate in Metra projects. This program sets aside contracts, awarding them to small businesses to maximize contracting opportunities, increase the number of contracts won by small businesses, and limit contract bundling. Qualifying businesses must be independent, for-profit, and meet financial requirements. To apply, click on the link below.

Department of Central Management Services DBE Programs

The Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) offers a Business Enterprise Program (BEP) that certifies disadvantaged businesses and a Veteran Business Program (VBP) that certifies veteran-owned businesses. Minorities, women, persons with disabilities, veterans, or service-disabled veterans who own and operate at least 51% of their companies may qualify. Annual gross sales must be less than $75 million and owners must be legal residents or citizens of the U.S. To apply, click on the links below.

The County of DuPage DBE Programs

The County of DuPage in Wheaton, Illinois, offers MBE and WBE certifications to businesses at least 51% owned and operated by women or minorities. This program is committed to offering equal contracting opportunities for all businesses involved in the construction industry. To apply, click on the links below.

Cook County DBE Programs

Cook County’s Business Diversity Program certifies minority, woman, and veteran owned businesses within the area. This program ensures every business has an equal opportunity to participate in projects in Cook County and Chicago, which also accepts these certifications. If your business is certified through the City of Chicago, you do not need to apply for this program. To apply, click on the links below.

Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council MBE Programs

The Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council (CMSDC) is dedicated to advancing business opportunities for minority-owned businesses. As an affiliate of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), this program offers numerous resources and opportunities for certified members. To qualify, business owners must be Asian, Hispanic-American, Black/African-American, Native American, or Pacific Islander American. To apply, click on the link below.

Women’s Business Development Center WBE Program

The Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) certifies women-owned businesses throughout the state of Illinois. The center works to promote women’s business opportunities and success through education, networking, events, and additional resources. This council is an affiliate of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), which offers additional resources. Qualifying businesses must be at least 51% controlled and owned by a woman or women. To apply, click on the link below.