DBE Certifications in Hawaii

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) established their DBE program to ensure that firms owned by minorities, women and other socially and economically disadvantaged persons have an equal opportunity to participate in U.S. DOT-assisted projects. The goal of the program is to level the playing field on which DBEs may compete for contracts and subcontracts in the transportation industry. The current goals of the HDOT are 29.05 percent for Federal Highway Agency contracts to be allocated toward DBE certified businesses, 24.40 percent for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funded contracts at Honolulu International Airport, and 21.70 percent for FAA-funded contracts at Kahului Airport.

The DBE Program Supervisor for the Hawaii Department of Transportation can be reached at (808) 831-7914.

More information can be found at this link:


Statewide Certification Programs


In efforts to increase cooperation between minority-run businesses and the government, the State of Hawaii has established the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Certification program. This was established when the Hawaii Department of Transportation entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with partnering DBE certifying agencies across the state. The UCP eliminates the need for DBE applicants to obtain certification from multiple agencies. The State of Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) is the sole certifying agency for the Hawaii UCP.

Follow this link for more information: https://hidot.hawaii.gov/administration/files/2013/01/2013signedUCP.pdf

The eligibility requirements for DBE certification are:

  1. Social Disadvantage ‐ DBEs must be owned by socially disadvantaged individuals. Members of the following groups are presumed to be socially disadvantaged:
  • Women
  • Black Americans
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Native Americans
  • Asian‐Pacific Americans
  • Subcontinent Asian Americans
  • Other Groups Deemed Disadvantaged by the Small Business Administration
  1. Economic Disadvantage – Socially disadvantaged owners must have a personal net worth less than $1.32 million (excludes primary residence & ownership interest in DBE applicant firm).
  2. Business Size ‐ The DBE applicant firm (including its affiliates) must be an existing, for profit small business and must not have average annual gross receipts, over the firm’s previous three fiscal years, of more than $23.98 million.
  3. Ownership – The disadvantaged individual(s) must own at least 51% or more of the firm.
  4. Control – The DBE applicant firm’s owner(s) must demonstrate control over the day‐to‐day management of the business.

To receive DBE certification, applicants must:

  1. Complete the certification application online and electronically upload supporting documents at: https://hdot.dbesystem.com
  2. Allow the conduction of an on‐site visit at the applicant firm’s place of business.

Benefits of DBE certification include:

  1. Access to the DBE online directory, which serves as a marketing tool.
  2. Eligibility to participate as a DBE on USDOT‐assisted projects.
  3. Eligibility to seek DBE certification in other states.
  4. Participation in free or low‐cost training such as seminars on marketing, government procurement and financing.
  5. Participation in DBE Supportive Services Program which offers one‐on‐one consulting to help DBE firms grow, become self‐sufficient and compete in the highway transportation industry.

Local and Regional Programs


The HART has established a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program in accordance with regulations of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). It is the policy of the City and County of Honolulu to ensure that DBEs are defined in part 26, have an equal opportunity to receive and participate in DOT-assisted contracts. It is also their policy:

  1. To ensure nondiscrimination in the award and administration of DOT-assisted contracts;
  2. To create a level playing field on which DBEs can compete fairly for DOT-assisted contracts;
  3. To ensure that the DBE Program is narrowly tailored in accordance with applicable law;
  4. To ensure that only firms that fully meet 49 CFR Part 26 eligibility standards are permitted to participate as DBEs;
  5. To help remove barriers to the participation of DBEs in DOT assisted contracts;
  6. To assist the development of firms that can compete successfully in the marketplace outside the DBE Program.

HART contracts millions of dollars in federal transportation funds.  As a result, HART is required to have a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program which establishes non-discrimination practices and measures. A DBE is defined as a for-profit small business that is at least 51 percent owned by minorities, women and other socially economically disadvantaged persons, and who is the day-to-day manager.

More information can be found at this link: http://www.honolulu.gov/cms-dts-menu/site-dts-sitearticles/909-site-dts-tpd-cat/25762-non-discrimination-policies.html#DBE


HDOT uses FAA funds for contracts at Honolulu International Airport (HNL) and Kahului Airport (OGG). HDOT has proposed a 19.06 percent DBE goal for Honolulu International Airport and a 28.94 percent DBE goal for Kahului Airport for FFYs 2020 through 2022 for FAA-funded contracts.

More information can be found at this link: https://hidot.hawaii.gov/administration/files/2019/06/KeenIndependent_HDOT_FAA_DBE_GoalMethodology20-22_06242019.pdf


The PISBDCN provides free, confidential, one-to-one counseling in all areas of business management, including pre-venture feasibility, business plan development, marketing, record keeping, financial and human resource management, operations management, and access to capital, as well as specialized areas such as international trade and technical services. The PISBDCN offers small-business counseling and training with their Small Business Assistance Center.

More information can be found at this link: http://www.pacificsbdc.com/