What is a DBE?

Fort Bend County has established a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program [PDF] in accordance with regulations of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 49 CFR Part 26.


To be considered a DBE, a small business must be:

  • At least 51% owned and controlled by minorities, women or other individuals who face economic obstacles in the marketplace. 
  • The owner(s) personal net worth cannot exceed $1.32 million, minus the equity in their business and primary residence and,
  • Meet the criteria of a small business per the Small Business Administration's guidelines for a small business and the company's gross receipts cannot exceed $22.41 million dollars, averaged over a three year period.   

The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program:

  • Ensures equal opportunity in transportation contracting markets.
  • Addresses the effects of discrimination in transportation contracting.
  • Promotes increased participation in federally funded contracts by small, socially and economically disadvantaged businesses, including minority and women-owned enterprises.

It is Fort Bend County's policy to:

  • Ensure non-discrimination in the award and administration of DOT-assisted contracts.
  • Create a level playing field on which a DBE can compete fairly for DOT-assisted contracts.
  • Ensure that the DBE program is narrowly tailored in accordance with applicable law.
  • Ensure that only firms that meet 49 CFR part 26 eligibility standards can participate as a DBE.
  • Help remove barriers to the participation of DBEs in DOT-assisted and locally funded contracts.
  • Assist the development of firms that can compete successfully in the marketplace outside the DBE program.