DBE Certification Brochure

Overview of Small Business Programs

DBE Certification

  • Offered by Caltrans, as well as other agencies within the State
  • Certification is used on federally-funded contracts from the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration
  • Contracts can often be found with Caltrans, local governments, transportation agencies, and more
  • Please visit the Office of Civil Rights website for further information. 

Certified, Now What?

  • Be proactive: Contact a DSBL to learn more about procurement and contracting opportunities in a specific area
  • Market your firm: Draft a marketing email that includes important information, a link to your website, your certification ID number 
  • Educate yourself: Visit the Event Calendar to learn about training and networking opportunities

District Small Business Liaisons (DSBLs)

  • Outreach, promote, and advocate for SB, DVBE, and DBE participation on Caltrans contracts and procurements 
  • Provide free trainings, workshops, and networking opportunities for businesses
  • Visit the OCR website at to find the DSBL Contact List

Databases and Websites to Know

Office of Business and Economic Opportunity (OBEO)

  • Oversees Caltrans’ DBE program
  • SB/DVBE Advocate
  • Assist SB and DVBE certified firms to identify and participate in purchasing and contracting opportunities by providing outreach, training, bidding opportunity availability, and prompt payment assistance

Small Business (SB) Program


  • Goal: 25% state-mandated
  • Applicable to state-funded contracts
  • No individual contract goals
  • 5% bid preference

SB Bid Preference

State-funded construction contracts allow for a 5% bid preference

  • SB contractor can request a bid preference, which is a reduction for bid comparison only, by 5% of the verified total bid of the low bidder OR $50,000 (whichever is less)
  • A non-SB contractor is eligible if it uses 25% or more of an SB firm in a bid

Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE) Program


  • Goal: 3% state-mandated; 5% committed to by Caltrans
  • Applicable to state-funded contracts
  • No Good Faith Efforts option 
  • Incentive for contracts over $5 million

DVBE Incentive

A reduction, for bid comparison only, in the total bid by the lesser of the following: 

  • A percentage of the DVBE achievement of the verified total bid of the low bidder
  • 5% of the verified total bid of the low bidder
  • $250,000

SB and DVBE Certification

  • Certifications offered by the California Department of General Services (DGS)
  • Accepted by all California state departments for state-funded contracting and procurement opportunities
  • Please visit the DGS website for further information: 

SB/DVBE Option

  • Streamlined process that allows for state agencies and departments to contract directly with SB/DVBE certified firms for Goods, Services, Information Technology, and Public Works projects
  • Must obtain price quotes from at least two CA certified SBs OR DVBEs
Solicitation Thresholds: Goods, Services, Information Technology Public Works

Goods, Services, Information Technology

$5,000 $249,999
Public Works $5,000 $314,000

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program


  • Goal: 17.6% overall for Caltrans' FHWA assisted contracts
  • Applicable to federally-funded contracts
  • Individual contract goals
  • Must meet goal or demonstrate Good Faith Efforts through documentation