Disadvantaged Business Enterprise & Small Business Program

Diversity and equity are so important to everything we do at SANDAG. Programs such as the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and the Small Business (SB) programs are in line with our commitment to diversity, equity, fairness, inclusion, and accessibility in our projects, programs, and services. Programs such as the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and the Small Business programs are in line with our goals toward an equitable future for all by addressing barriers to opportunity and advocating for disadvantaged communities. 

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program 

One of our priorities is to ensure a level playing field in doing business with SANDAG by removing barriers and maximizing opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses to succeed in their small and emerging businesses. As part of a U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) requirement, we’ve established a DBE program to ensure firms competing for DOT contracts are not disadvantaged by unlawful discrimination. Our DBE program protects Black American, Hispanic American, Native American, Asian-Pacific American, Subcontinent Asian American, and women-owned firms. 

We’ve also established DBE programs for the following Department of Transportation agencies: Federal Transit Administration, Federal Rail Administration, and Federal Highway Administration funding through Caltrans. 

Federal Transit Administration DBE Program  

As a recipient of U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funding, SANDAG is required to establish a DBE program that complies with federal regulations. The FTA requires SANDAG to submit a DBE goal-setting methodology on a triennial cycle. SANDAG has prepared its Triennial DBE Goal in accordance with 49 CFR Part 26.45(g) for the triennial period between October 1, 2021 and September 30, 2024. The overall SANDAG DBE goal of 9.8 percent represents the percentage of work anticipated to be performed by certified DBE firms on SANDAG FTA-assisted projects during the triennial period. 

Federal Highway Administration DBE Program 

SANDAG is a subrecipient of Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) funding through Caltrans and is therefore required to follow the Caltrans DBE Program and goal methodology. Caltrans issued a directive to local subrecipient agencies that contract goals for federally funded projects authorized on or after July 1, 2012, must include all DBE groups (African Americans, Asian Pacific American, Native American, Women, Hispanic American, Subcontinent Asian American, and any other groups whose members are certified as socially or economically disadvantaged). Each year, SANDAG submits a plan, known as the Local Agency DBE Annual Submittal Form, to Caltrans listing the measures the agency will take to assist Caltrans in achieving its overall statewide DBE goal.

Caltrans District 11 local assistance contact: Bryan Ott, Acting District Local Assistance Engineer (DLAE), 619.985.5440, bryan.ott@dot.gov; Michelle Gongora, Chief, Safety and District Services Branch, 619.929.6422, michelle.gongora@dot.ca.gov.

We strongly encourage small businesses to be DBE-certified. Here’s how to get DBE certified. The link includes contacts for resources that provide technical assistance at no cost to the small business firm. Companies that are DBE-certified are also able to participate in the SANDAG Small Business Program.

SANDAG Small Business Program 

Small businesses play a vital role in our regional economy and SANDAG has made it a priority to do business with small firms, especially those with 100 employees or fewer. We believe partnerships between small businesses and SANDAG make us both stronger and provide full and fair opportunities to do business with us.  

In line with maximizing opportunities for smaller firms at the state, local, and federal government levels as a priority, SANDAG’s Small Business Program seeks to increase participation by small firms in procurement opportunities and resulting contract awards through race-neutral and gender-neutral means. We aim to have small businesses participate in 15 to 20% of all SANDAG projects. Where possible, we’ll also establish a 15% small business goal on our non-federally funded projects.  

Calmentor Program 

The Calmentor mentor-protégé program encourages and supports small businesses through voluntary partnerships with mid-size and larger firms. The program aims to increase the participation of small architectural and engineering firms in public transportation projects in the San Diego region. To ensure success, SANDAG and Caltrans District 11 have partnered with the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) – San Diego Chapter, and the Caltrans, District 11 Small Business Council (D-11 SBC). 

For more information, contact Elaine Richardson, Director of Diversity and Equity/DBE Liaison Officer at (619) 699-6956 or elaine.richardson@sandag.org.