DBE Certifications in Indiana

In the state of Indiana, small businesses may receive Diverse Business Enterprise (DBE) Certification if the majority owner is a socially or economically ‘disadvantaged’ person—specifically, American citizens or permanent residents who are Black, Hispanic, Native, Asian, and/or Women. The majority owner must have a personal net worth below $1,320,000—excluding the value of the primary residence and the firm’s assets—as well as able to prove expertise in the business’s field and control daily operations.

Prior to participating in DBE contracts with federal agencies, a small business must receive DBE Certification or Airport Concessionaire Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (ACDBE) Certification, which are granted by the Indiana Department of Transportation and possess the same initial requirements, outlined in the paragraph above.

Successful DBE/ACDBE Certification connects small business with ‘disadvantaged’ owners to federal, state, and local government projects by increasing cooperation and contracting opportunities.

Statewide Certification Programs

Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT)

INDOT is the sole certifying agency for DBEs seeking contracts for transportation projects in the state, including the specific category of Airport Concession DBEs (ACDBE) programs for Indiana airports. This means that to participate as a DBE on contracts with funding through FHWA, FAA, or the FTA, a business must first obtain DBE/ACDBE certification. To qualify a firm must meet the three criteria below:


  1. At least 51% owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who:
    • Are US citizens or permanent residents
    • Possess expertise in the field
    • Control the daily business operations
    • Have a personal net worth less than $1,320,000 (excluding the value of their primary residence and assets of the firm applying for DBE certification).
  1. Disadvantaged individuals represent the following:
  • Black Americans
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Native Americans
  • Asian-Pacific Americans
  • Subcontinent Asian Americans
  • Women

A small business, as defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA), which means:

  • The firm’s average annual gross receipts may not exceed Small Business Administration size standards
  • In any case, a firm’s gross receipts may not exceed a $23,980,000 average over the previous three fiscal years

For more information on the Indot statewide DBE and ACDBE programs visit


Indiana Department of Administration, Division of Supplier Diversity (DSD) for Minority & Women’s Business Enterprises

The DSD acts on behalf of the State of Indiana to actively promote, monitor and enforce the standards for certification of minority and women’s business enterprises. Its mission is to provide equal opportunity to minority and women-owned enterprises in the state’s procurement and contracting process.

Local and Regional Programs

The Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation (IndyGo)

IndyGo’s DBE program inconsistent with all those authorized by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), and is designed to help minority and women-owned businesses by promoting contracting opportunities to DBE’s within the public transit system, particularly for projects funded through USDOT and the Federal Transit. IndyGo has a published goal to award 10 percent of all such projects for the period of 2017-2019 to DBEs.

Only firms certified as DBE companies by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) can be counted towards the satisfaction of the DBE goal on a contract. Click here for more information on how to become certified.

The City of Indianapolis DBE Program

MBE’s and WBE’s must be certified with the City of Indianapolis through the Office of Minority & Women Business Development (OMWBD). To be recognized and listed by the Office of Minority and Women Business Development, VBE’s must first be registered with the Department of Veterans Affairs. DOBE’s must first be approved by the Office of Disability Affairs for eligibility at Indianapolis Office of Disability Affairs, 200 East Washington Street, Room 2460, Indianapolis, Indiana 46204. These requirements apply to contractors, suppliers, consultants, joint ventures, and other vendors declaring themselves to be MBE’s, WBE’s, VBE’s or DOBE’s.

The Certification process involves completing a certification application and providing the requested information to the Office of Minority & Women Business Development. The application requests the following types of information:

  • Type and ownership of the business
  • Financial and work history
  • Equipment owned
  • Bonding Capacity
  • Number of Employees
  • Business references

The OMWDB’s policy is to make decisions on applications for certification within 90 days of receiving it from the applicant firm with all required information. OMWBD may extend this time period once, for no more than an additional 60 days, upon written notice to the firm, explaining fully and specifically the reason(s) for the extension.


Mid-States Minority Supplier Development Council (MSMSDC)

MSMSDC is for MBEs only. It actually covers parts of three adjoining states — central Illinois, all of Indiana, and eastern Missouri. The primary mission of the Mid-States MSDC is to promote and cultivate successful minority enterprises, providing a direct connection for corporations who are committed to purchasing products and services from Mid-States MSDC-certified MBEs.

It’s an affiliate of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), and one of 24 regional councils operating in the United States.

Like all other MSCD regional council, the MSMSDC uses the national site for certifications, called NMSDC Central. Click the link here to connect to NMSDC Central: https://affiliate.nmsdc.org/midstatesmsdc/app/template/contentMgmt%2CGetCertified.vm

The Great Lakes Women’s Business Enterprise Council (WBC)

For women-owned businesses only, the WBC bridges the gap for contracting activities between women’s business enterprises and corporate and government buyers. The Great Lakes Women’s Business Council is one of the 14 certifying partner organizations with the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) in Washington, DC. This certification program was created to meet the need for a national standard of certification for businesses owned, managed and controlled by women who want to market their products and services in America’s major markets.

WBENC certification — administered through the Great Lakes WBC for women business enterprises — is the leading national third party certifications of women business owners. Accepted by thousands of corporations throughout the country and a number of federal and government agencies, WBENC certification can be an effective marketing tool for expanding visibility among decision makers in corporate procurement. Visit http://www.greatlakeswbc.org/

The City of Fort Wayne DBE Program


The City of Fort Wayne encourages the participation of minority, women-owned and emerging business enterprises in City construction contracts to create jobs and opportunities for citizens of this community. In addition to meeting Federal goals DBEs, the City has its own economically disadvantaged business program. Fort Wayne has a goal that each contractor awarded a construction contract subcontract at least 10% of the contract amount to a certified “Emerging Business Enterprise” (EBE).

An EBE small business concern that is owned, operated and controlled by one or more economically disadvantaged individuals. An EBE must:

  • Be at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by an economically disadvantaged owner-operator,
  • Not have annual gross receipts exceeding $5,000,000 in two (2) of the three (3) preceding years, and
  • Be in the specific field of operation for 15 years or less.

To become certified, business owners must complete the City of Fort Wayne’s Emerging Business Enterprise Request for Certification application.

The Terra Haute Transit Utility DBE Program

The Terre Haute Transit Utility is a department operating within the city government. The city has established an overall goal of 1 percent participation for DBE contractors. Firms qualified by INDOT as DBEs and that are interested in selling transit-related parts, supplies, or services may click here for more information: http://www.terrehaute.in.gov/departments/transit-department/disadvantaged-business-enterprise-program.html

Indiana University DBE Program

The Indiana University system maintains a DBE program to support the following:

  • Women-owned small business (WBE) – A small business of which at least 51% (or at least 51% of the stock) is owned by one or more women; and daily business is run by one or more women.
  • Minority-owned small business (MBE) – A small business of which at least 51% (or at least 51% of the stock) is owned, operated and controlled by one or more United States citizens who are members of the following racial groups: African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic-American and Native-American.
  • Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) – A firm must be a small business owned and controlled by socially- and economically disadvantaged individuals. Certifiers make the determinations based upon on-site visits, personal interviews, reviews of licenses, stock ownership, equipment, bonding capacity, work completed, resume of principal owners and financial capacity.
  • HubZone Small Business – A HubZone Small Business must be located in a “historically underutilized business zone” or HUBZone and be owned and controlled by one or more US citizens; additionally at least 35% of its employees must reside in a HUBZone.
  • 8(a) Small Business – A small business that is at least 51% owned and controlled by a socially- and economically disadvantaged individual or individuals who are of good character and citizens of the United States. The individual’s net worth, after excluding the individual’s equity in the firm and the equity in the primary residence, may not exceed $250,000.
  • Veteran-owned small business (VOSB) – At least 51% of the business must be owned (or 51% of the stock) by one or more veterans, and the daily business operations of the business are controlled by one or more veterans.
  • Service-Disabled Veteran-owned Small Business (SDVOSB) – A SDVB must be at least 51 % owned or controlled by one or more American Veteran(s) with service-connected physical or mental impairments.

Visit http://www.indiana.edu/~busdiv/certification.shtml to apply or for more information.