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DBE Certification

The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) provides minorities, women and other eligible small businesses an opportunity to participate in transportation contracts that utilize federal funds. Beyond certification, IDOT fosters opportunities for DBE firms and individuals interested in doing business with the agency to learn, grow and network through available Supportive Services.

Construction or professional services firms looking to build their business and maintain a competitive edge are encouraged to conduct business with IDOT as a certified DBE. 

For general inquiries or assistance, call (217) 782-5490.

Why Pursue a DBE Certification with IDOT?

  •   Expand your expertise
  •   Network with established businesses
  •   Make lasting investments in your community

Frequently Asked Questions about DBE Certification with IDOT

See here for common questions regarding IDOT’s DBE certification program.

DBE Success Story: Taylor Electric Company 

“We’re confident that IDOT’s given us the tools to branch out profitably. Every aspect of IDOT’s DBE program is designed to bring diverse businesses to the table and position them to shine.”

Kendra Dinkins, President and CEO
Taylor Electric Company, Chicago, Ill.

Read more about how Taylor Electric enhanced their network with IDOT’s DBE certification.


Understand DBE Certification Requirements

Only those businesses involved in highway construction-related services (non-vertical), consultant, and supplier/equipment, rental/trucking services are considered for participation in IDOT’s DBE Program.


Only those businesses involved in highway construction-related services (non-vertical), consultant, and supplier/equipment, rental/trucking services are considered for participation in IDOT’s DBE Program. A firm seeking certification has to meet requirements concerning group membership or individual disadvantage, business size*, ownership and control. *Small Business Administration (SBA) – provides size caps for specialized areas of work.


Per the federal regulations contained in 49 CFR Part 26, Electronic Code of Federal regulations, a DBE is a for-profit small business concern that is:

  1. At least 51 percent owned by one or more individuals who are both socially and economically disadvantaged. In the case of a corporation, in which 51 percent of the stock is owned by one or more such individuals; and,
  2. Whose management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more of the socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who own the business. 

Apply for DBE Certification

Complete the following:

Send your completed (printed) application and supporting documentation:

Attn: Certification Section
Illinois Department of Transportation
Bureau of Small Business Enterprises
2300 South Dirksen Parkway, Room 319
Springfield, IL 62764

Please note:

  • The average processing time is 90 days from receipt of a complete application.
  • Supportive Service consultants are available to assist firms interested in becoming IDOT certified at no cost. Visit the Supportive Services page for more information.

Maintain DBE Certification

No Change Affidavits

DBE Certification is valid until a firm no longer meets minimum eligibility standards under 49 CFR Part 26 or fails to cooperate with requests for information. 

Certified firms must confirm their continued eligibility annually by submitting a No Change Affidavit. Firms must submit a signed copy (including all schedules/attachments) of the current year’s business tax return with the affidavit.  If the personal tax return includes business taxes, then a complete signed copy (including all schedules/attachments) of the current year personal tax must be submitted.

Pursuant to the requirements of the federal regulations, 49 CFR Part 26 , all federal-aid recipients implement a “one-stop” certification process for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs). As a result of this requirement, the following five state agencies: IDOT, City of Chicago, CTA, Metra and Pace, established the Illinois Unified Certification Program (IL UCP). 

"One-stop-shopping” is provided to DBE program applicants, such that an applicant need only apply once for DBE certification that will be honored by all participating agencies in the IL UCP.

IL UCP Directory

The IL UCP Directory lists the firms in alphabetical order and by the industry categories and IDOT’s district(s) in which the firms have indicated they are available to perform work.

UCP Partners

While the applications are identical, an agency may have their own attachments. Review each IL UCP participant’s area of specialty and please choose the agency that best serves your firm.

In 2016, IDOT commissioned a disparity study focused on construction, architecture, and engineering. The study reviewed contract data during the period of October 1, 2012, through September 30, 2016. This study was completed in 2017 and published for release in February 2018. The 2017 IDOT Disparity Study is available below.