Since the early 1960s, even before the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the U.S. government has been trying to find ways to give disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs) a piece of the gigantic federal contract pie — almost $450 billion in 2014. Also commonly called WBEs (women-owned) and MBEs (minority-owned), they all refer to businesses, which, by virtue of ownership, historically have been shut out of federal contracting opportunities.
State and federal agencies typically set required DBE participation goals at 5%-10% and up, meaning that there are tens of billions of federal dollars up for grabs. In 2015, federal construction spending, according to the Associated General Contractors of America, will total almost $106 billion, resulting in a potential $10 billion payoff for firms certified as disadvantaged.
Of course there is, for some, the temptation to commit fraud in order to gain access to these lucrative contracts. Three Pennsylvania steel company executives pleaded guilty in October to setting up a sham DBE in order to win nearly $19 million in U.S. Department of Transportation and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation contracts set aside for disadvantaged businesses.
With all that money at stake, one would think minority and women-owned businesses are filling federal offices, demanding to be certified and eager to participate. So why aren’t they? Construction industry experts say there is a shortage of certified DBEs, and that means it’s getting harder to meet federal agency DBE participation goals.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.constructiondive.com/news/why-are-dbes-mia-overcoming-the-disadvantaged-business-enterprise-shortage/408432/