Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program

​​The DBE program started with Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982, which set a national goal of placing at least 10 percent of federal highway and transit funds with persons who qualify as disadvantaged small business operators. A subsequent act in 1987 included women.​

WisDOT invests $600-700 million annually in federal and state dollars for highway, airport and transit projects. These funds translate into millions of dollars in transportation-related contracts and project work for DBE firms.

Program goal

To increase participation of firms owned by disadvantaged individuals in all federal aid and state transportation facility contracts.

Related information

Wisconsin and Out of State DBE Certification Entities

Annual DBE Workshop & Secretary's Golden Shovel Awards

Initiated in 1985, one year following the inception of Wisconsin's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program, the Secretary's Golden Shovel Awards ​was spearheaded by then-DBE Program Director David Manning.

The purpose and concept for the awards are to cite DBE firms for their outstanding contract and project performance during the year, as well as program participation, and to recognize individuals, organizations, and groups instrumental to the success and progress of the DBE program.​