A Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) is a for-profit small business concern that is at least 51% owned by one or more individual(s) who are both socially and economically disadvantaged. For example, in the case of a corporation, such individuals must own at least 51% of the each class of voting stock outstanding and 51% of the aggregate of all stock outstanding. Also, the management and daily business operations of a DBE business must be controlled by one or more of the socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who own it.
African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific and Subcontinent Asian Americans, and women are presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged. Other individuals can also qualify as socially and economically disadvantaged on a case-by-case basis. Caltrans has information regarding the certification process to become a DBE in California. Certified DBEs are included in a searchable database on the California United Certification Program website.