DBE Program Launched by Wisconsin Construction Business Group

A new business initiative is taking place in Wisconsin.

Source : Unsplash

October 19, 2022

Author : Alex Bustillos

A new business initiative is taking place in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Construction Business Group's DBE Development Initiative aims to address the funding gap for women, minorities, and other disadvantaged business owners.

DBE stands for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise.

The government construction and transportation construction industry has in different parts of the country historically been difficult for many minority and women owned small businesses to gain a foothold.

The CBG saw the absence of opportunity and initiated a new plan for the state. The initiative aims to reinvest 10 percent of the state's transit and highway funds into small, disadvantaged transportation businesses.

"The small business development center is really about taking the vision of that individual and making sure that they’re bankable," explained Joseph Davis Sr., Development Director of the CBG's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE).

Davis further stated that the initiative's primary objective is to allow everyone, regardless of background, to enter the transportation business.

The Wisconsin DOT DBE program began with the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982, which established the national goal of allocating at least 10 percent of federal highway and transit monies to individuals who qualify as disadvantaged small business operators. An amendment in 1987 included women. ?

WisDOT invests more than $1 billion in federal and state funds for highway, airport, and transportation projects. These subsidies translate into many millions of dollars in contracts and projects connected to transportation for DBE enterprises. ?

The Wisconsin Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a statewide, nationally accredited network that provides free, private advising and business education to entrepreneurs and business owners. The University of Wisconsin System hosts the Wisconsin SBDC as part of the Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship. A cooperative arrangement with the U.S. Small Business Administration partially helps finance it.

The Capital Access Clinic at the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center assists Wisconsin business owners looking for financial assistance. Entrepreneurs have access to a knowledgeable team of financial experts through the Capital Access Clinic. Over 380 clients have already received services from the Capital Access Clinic in 2022, leading to close to $12.5 million in capital commitments.

CBG Executive Director Robert Kahl said, “Wisconsin's growing diversity is an asset for future growth and opportunities across the state. Through this important partnership with SBDC, we’re hopeful CBG can help position the transportation industry to be a leader in developing our state’s diverse talent.”

To be considered as a DBE in WisDOT, the business must at least 51 percent be owned, run, and daily controlled by a member or members of the groups named below:

  • African Americans
  • Native Americans
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Asians and Pacific Islanders
  • Asian-Indian Americans
  • Individuals who do not belong to one of the aforementioned groups may be deemed socially disadvantaged according to Appendix E of 49 CFR Part 26.

Follow Contractor News for the latest update on DBE programs.

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