Do Business with the City

Helping businesses compete for government contract opportunities is an important way OED can help Denver area small businesses grow and increase their revenues. The City of Denver assigns Minority/Women and/or Disadvantaged Business (M/WBE/DBE) goals to each construction project, and to some covered goods and services. Denver also has a Defined Selection Pool for Small Business Enterprise (SBE) and specific projects for Emerging Business Enterprises (EBE). Larger contractors or consultants that bid on the City’s construction projects meet the M/WBE/SBE/DBE goal by partnering with firms certified as a M/WBE, SBE, or a DBE by OED’s Division of Small Business Opportunity (DSBO). 

Additionally, Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) goals are assigned to concession opportunities at Denver International Airport.

Only firms certified as a M/WBE, SBE, EBE, DBE or ACDBE business count in meeting each contract goal. A business may be certified to compete in each program as explained below.

Small Business Enterprise (SBE) certification allows Denver area small businesses to compete for construction-related projects and some covered goods and services funded by the City & County of Denver.  

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) certification allows Denver area small businesses to compete for U.S. Dept. of Transportation federally-funded projects throughout the state of Colorado (including airport, highway and transit contracts).

Minority/Women Business Enterprise (M/WBE) certification allows Denver area small businesses to compete for construction-related projects and some covered goods and services funded by the City & County of Denver.

Emerging Business Enterprise (EBE) certification allows Denver area emerging businesses to compete with other emerging businesses on specific construction and professional services projects.

Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE)
certification affords small business the opportunity to compete for concessions contracts, either as operator or supplier, at Denver International Airport, as well as other airports receiving federal funding throughout Colorado.

Eligibility
The SBE, EBE or M/WBE business certification only can be used for City and County of Denver construction, reconstruction & remodeling, professional design and construction service contract opportunities, and some covered goods and services. Below is a summarized list of requirements small businesses must meet in order to receive a SBE, EBE and/or M/WBE certification:

  • Construction: Overall revenue less than the full SBA size standard for the applicant’s industry code for a 3-year average of gross receipts
  • Professional services: Overall revenues must be less than half of the SBA size standard for the applicant's industry code for a 3 year average of gross receipts.
  • Management and control of business must be held by eligible owner(s)
  • Personal net worth from controlling owner(s) must be under $1,320,000, excluding the individual’s equity in his or her primary residence, and the individual’s ownership interest in the applicant business enterprise
  • “Fronts” or “Conduits” for other non-eligible business enterprises are not allowed
  • The applicant business must offer services in construction-related industries and/or some covered goods and/or covered services
  • The applicant business must be in business for at least six months
  • Eligible ownership cannot be held by a city employee nor by relatives of city employees whom the owners are economically dependent upon.


The DBE business certification only can be used to compete for any federally funded airport, highway or transit project/contract within the state of Colorado. DBE certifications can be issued by OED or the State of Colorado. Below is a summarized list of requirements small businesses must meet in order to receive a DBE certification:

  • Overall revenues less than $22.41 million (3-year average of gross receipts)
  • 51% business ownership held by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals defined by federal regulation as women and/or minorities. 
  • Management and control must be held by eligible owner(s)
  • Personal net worth from controlling owner(s) must be under $1,320,000, excluding the individual’s equity in his or her primary residence, and the individual’s ownership interest in the applicant business enterprise


The ACDBE business certification applies to concessions contracts at Denver International Airport. The certification applies to concession operators as well as those who provide goods and/or services to concessionaires. Below is a summarized list of requirements small businesses must meet in order to receive an ACDBE certification:

  • Overall revenues less than $56.42 million (3-year average of gross receipts)
  • 51% business ownership held by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals defined by federal regulation as women and/or minorities
  • Management and control must be held by eligible owner(s)
  • Personal net worth from controlling owner(s) must be under $1,320,000, excluding the individual’s equity in his or her primary residence, and the individual’s ownership interest in the applicant business enterprise
 

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