In efforts to increase cooperation between minority-run businesses and the government, the State of Missouri has established the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Certification program. This was established when the Missouri Department of Transportation entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with partnering DBE certifying agencies in the State of Missouri, including the City of St. Louis/Lambert Airport Authority, Bi-State Development/METRO, Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, City of Kansas City, Mid-America Regional Council and the East-West Gateway Council of Governments. The partnering agencies form the Missouri Regional Certification Committee (MRCC).
This program sets annual quotas to dictate the amount of overall Department of Transportation funds that are allocated toward DBE certified (and thus, minority-run) businesses. The current requirements of the Missouri Department of Transportation are for 11.7 percent of all Federal Highway Agency contracts to be allocated toward DBE certified businesses and 7.13 percent of Federal Transportation Agency contracts. As a result, this program provides opportunities for ‘disadvantaged’ owners to excel their small businesses with government contracts.
Statewide Certification Programs
To qualify for DBE certification, the business owner should through the Missouri Unified Certification Program. The MNUCP functions as a “one stop shop” for DBE certification throughout Missouri, so a company can apply once for DBE certification and when granted it applies throughout the state.
In order to qualify, the majority owner of the business must be a member of a socially or economically ‘disadvantaged’ group in the United States with legal residence. In addition, the owner must have proof of expertise in the given field of work, as well as maintain a personal net worth below $1.32 million. Visit the Missouri Department of Transportation website for more information on applying through the UCP program.
Qualifying applicants receive recognition from each state agency that receives federal funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation. This makes it easy for qualified businesses to apply for multiple opportunities.
There are four steps of the application process:
- Complete the UCP certification application and provide the required documents.
- An audit of the documentation will be conducted to determine preliminary eligibility.
- An on-site visit/review by a UCP Specialist will be performed to determine program compliance and eligibility.
- Once eligibility is determined and all program requirements are met a certificate of participation will be issued.
The biggest provider of DBE projects is the Missouri Department of Transportation (MDOT) and it requires certification through MNUCP. MDOT’s DBE Program was established by the federal government to ensure women- and minority-owned businesses have the opportunity to participate in contracts financed in whole or in part by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
LOCAL AND REGIONAL PROGRAMS
City of St. Louis and St. Louis Airport Concessions
Companies interested in getting certified with the City of St. Louis to participate in the City of St. Louis’ local Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise program and/or the federal Disadvantaged and/or Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program should visit the Certification and Compliance Management System. You create a user ID and password and begin the application process right on their website. Visit this link for more information about the types of DBE projects and the certification for both the City of St. Louis and the airport:
Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA)
To be certified as a bona fide Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) a company must meet the following criteria:
- The majority stockholder (firm’s principle) must be considered socially and economically disadvantaged according to DOT guidelines. This includes recognized minority groups and females.
- The principle(s) must have a documented personal net worth that does not exceed $1.31 million, which excludes equity in the firm.
- The firm’s annual receipts (based on a three-year average) cannot exceed the Small Business Administration’s size standards based on the firm’s primary function and NAICS codes.
- Further information on these regulations and the certification requirements can be found at https://www.transportation.gov/osdbu from Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilitzation Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization.
- Visit http://www.kcata.org/about_kcata/entries/dbe_certification to apply for certification.
Bi-State Development (BSD)
Based in St. Louis, the Bi-State Development organization partners with private and public organizations on hundreds of projects on both sides of the Mississippi River. BSD is a dynamic and multi-faceted resource for economic development in the St. Louis region. Their DBE program utilizes an on-line application process to receive and review new applications for DBE certification and No Change Affidavits (NCA), which are used to renew DBE status or confirm certification that was received in some other area or jurisdiction.
OSD is required to review applications within 90 days. DBE firms whose initial applications were processed by BSD are required to submit every year on the anniversary date of their certification a NCA, the firm’s balance sheet and income statement and a completed and signed copy of their firm’s federal tax return. The NCA affirms that there have been no changes in the firm’s circumstances affecting its ability to meet size, disadvantaged status, ownership, or control. Visit here to apply:
The Missouri Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC)
The WBDC can help small businesses that qualify to get certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE). This nationally recognized certification is accepted by more than 1,000 corporations representing America’s most prestigious brands, in addition to many states, cities and other entities.
Some of the benefits of WBE certification include invitations to networking events with supplier diversity representatives, contact information for supplier diversity representatives, and opportunities to attend corporate panels, procurement events, and education opportunities. To qualify, your business must be 51% owned, operated and controlled by a woman or women. There’s a regional office you can visit in St. Louis, as well as one in Kansas City, KS that covers portions of Missouri. Visit the national page of https://www.wbdc.org/certification-services/ to apply.
Mid-States Minority Supplier Development Council (MS-MSDC)
Businesses in Eastern Missouri that are at least 51% owned and operated by one or more ethnic minorities can get an MBE certification from this regional branch of the national organization called the Minority Supplier Development Council (MSDC). The MS-MSCD offers minority business certifications for companies across Eastern Missouri as well as Indiana and Central Illinois, through its location in St. Louis. Eligibility is established by conducting a series of screenings, interviews and site visits. Click on this link for more information or to apply: https://midstatesmsdc.org/about-us/contact-us