Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program

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About the Program

Responsibilities of the Equal Opportunity/Contract Compliance Office (EO/CCO) are assumed by the City of Wilmington’s Small and Minority Business Enterprise Office (SMBEO) in the Office of Economic Development. The City of Wilmington has established laws and procedures to increase accessibility of contracting opportunities for small and minority businesses. The EO/CCO authority derives from Chapter 35, Article IV of the Wilmington City Code. This section of the Code addresses Equal Opportunity in Employment and City Contracts.

DEFINITION OF DISADVANTAGED BUSINESS ENTERPRISE (DBE)

As defined in the City Code, disadvantaged business means a new, small or local business, whether a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or other entity, or any business that is at least 51 percent owned by one or more disadvantaged individuals who, in fact, control the management and daily operations of that business. Disadvantaged individuals are those individuals whose ability to compete in the free enterprise system has been impaired due to diminished capital and credit opportunities as compared to others in the same business who are not so disadvantaged (i.e economically disadvantaged).

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

When determining disadvantaged status, there is a presumption of economic disadvantage if the business is 51% or more owned, controlled, and managed by an individual or group of individuals who meet at least one of the following two criteria:

  1. an individual is a member of a chronically unemployed demographic subgroup identified by race or national origin, where current, verifiable local statistics confirm the existence of unemployment rates among the subgroup that are more than fifty percent (50%) above the prevailing overall unemployment rate statewide. Presently the two subgroups identified under this provision are Black/African American and Hispanic. Firms that apply and qualify under this provision will be referenced as a “Minority-Owned Firm”.
  1. an individual has net worth under $500,000 (not including up to $150,000 of equity in his primary residence); in determining net worth eligibility, the City may consider, but shall not be limited to, reviewing the assets and net worth of the individual disadvantaged owner(s) and the business. Firms that apply and qualify under this provision will be referenced as a “Net Worth Firm”.

PARTICIPATION GOALS

The City of Wilmington, through the Equal Opportunity/Contract Compliance Office, is dedicated to assisting Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) in becoming actively involved in the City's procurement process. In an effort to expand opportunities for disadvantaged businesses, the City has established goals for contracting with DBEs, expressed as percentages of the total dollar amount of each of the following contract categories: construction, goods/services, and professional services.

The current participation goals are defined as follows:

  • Construction Contracts 20%
  • Goods & Services 10%
  • Professional Services 5%
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