Are you utilizing DBEs? Here’s another way to prepare for government contracts and grants

You’ve been doing a great job getting your affairs in order to prepare to apply for federal money from the Coronavirus Economic Relief Transportation Act. If you’ve been following along with our blog, maybe you’ve already made sure you have a DUNS number, a SAM number and a CAGE Code. Great job!

But why stop there when you can be even more prepared? Another way to help boost your chances of a grant is to consider the use of Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, or DBEs.

What is a DBE?

A DBE is often a woman- or minority-owned business, explained On Your Mark Transportation’s President, Mark Szyperski. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation defines them as for-profit businesses where socially and economically disadvantaged individuals own at least 51% interest and also control management and daily business operations.

Federal government grants and contracts, along with state and local contracts often take into consideration your association with DBEs, Szyperski said.

Why is this important?

“Lately, anything dealing with, working with, or receiving money from any governmental unit, there is a request about the use of Disadvantaged Business Enterprises,” Szyperski stated. “You may already be using a DBE in your organization for office or motorcoach cleaning, or lawn care, or even your accountant or attorney. You won’t know if you don’t ask your vendors if they are registered with your state.”

To be recognized as a DBE on your grant or contract application, the DBE must first be registered as one with your state. The registered businesses are often listed on a state website. Usually, you can go to your State’s website and, using their search box on their site, be taken to the list, or at least the office that creates the list.

Doing business with DBEs often adds points to your score when applications are being reviewed, Szyperski explained. 

“All units of government must show that government funding is making it into the economy of woman- and minority-owned businesses,” Szyperski said. “In order to do that, the Government will request that businesses that are awarded grants or contracts are also using DBEs, which helps the entire system.”

You may find that the cost of doing business with a DBE is slightly higher than other businesses. That may be from the fact that the DBE has had to take the time to go through the process of becoming certified, Szyperski explained. 

But look at it this way. Doing business with DBEs will help your organization’s scores that are needed to be awarded government grants and contracts. So, in the long run, you’ll likely find it’s worth the investment. 

Want to become a DBE yourself? Follow our blog for a future post on what steps you need to take and what it’s like to complete the process.

On Your Mark Transportation LLC is a consulting firm to the ground passenger transportation industry. This article was written by Amy Nixon, who writes press releases and blog content for their clients. With experience in transit, school bus, luxury transportation and motorcoaches, OYMT can bring a full range of extra services to an organization. Contact them at or 615.669.0107.


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