Eligibility Requirements

Disadvantaged businesses interested in being certified by the Michigan Unified Certification Program (MUCP) must submit an application to one of the Certifying Agencies. Instructions and applications are available for your convenience on this website and may be printed. Applications may also be obtained by contacting any of the Certifying Agencies.

Firms applying for DBE Certification with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), may apply online by selecting the button at the top of the screen. Firms applying for certification from the Detroit Department of Transportation, or for Wayne County Human Relations, must contact those Certifying Agencies Certifying Agencies for information on how to apply for certification .

The integrity of the DBE program depends, to a large extent, upon the establishment of systematic procedures to ensure that only bona fide disadvantaged business firms are certified to participate in federally assisted programs. In essence, only small firms independently owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged persons are eligible to participate in the US DOT's DBE program. The MUCP will use the following standards in establishing the eligibility of a DBE for certification in accordance with 49 CFR Part 26, formal US DOT guidance, and US DOT interpretations of the regulations contained in their appeal decisions.

Small Business Concern

In order to be certified, a business must qualify as a small business concern as defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration regulations, 13 CFR Part 121, as amended. The applicable size standard for each applicant shall be determined by identifying the firm's primary area of work, locating the applicable North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code, and applying the corresponding Small Business Administration (SBA) size standard. No business shall be considered small if average annual gross receipts of the business and its affiliates exceed $30.72 million over the previous three fiscal years, even though receipts do not exceed the threshold for the applicable NAICS code. This maximum size standard is adjusted periodically to offset inflation.

Social and Economic Disadvantage Status

All applicants for DBE certification must submit a signed, notarized certification that the presumptively disadvantaged owner is, in fact, socially and economically disadvantaged. Each individual whose ownership and control are relied upon for DBE certification must submit a signed, notarized statement of personal net worth (PNW), with appropriate supporting documentation. If the statement of PNW Form shows the individual's personal net worth exceeds $2.047 million, less the individual's primary residence and the interest in the applicant business, they will not qualify for this program.


In establishing ownership, the MUCP is required by 49 CFR 26.69 to consider all the facts in the record, viewed as a whole. To be an eligible DBE, a firm must be at least 51 percent owned by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual(s). To establish ownership, the socially and economically disadvantaged owner(s) must have made a "real and substantial" contribution to acquire their ownership interest in the firm. All applicants for certification shall be required to establish the source of their contribution(s) to acquire their ownership interest.


A firm must have operations in the business for which it seeks certification at the time it applies. MDOT does not certify plans or intentions, or issue contingent or conditional certifications. Control, as defined in 49 CFR 26.71, is comprised of three parts: operational control, managerial control, and independence. To establish control, the disadvantaged owner(s) must have sufficient expertise and authority, specifically in the firm's field of operations, to control the overall destiny and the day-to-day operations of the firm. Additionally, a firm must be an independent business whose viability does not depend on its relationship with another firm or firms. The factors which will be reviewed by MDOT in determining independence pursuant to 49 CFR 26.71 include relationships with non-DBE firms in areas such as personnel, facilities, equipment, financial and/or bonding support, and other resources. The MUCP will grant certification only in the specific types of work in which the disadvantaged owners have the ability to control the firm.

The MUCP will not process an application for certification from a firm having its principal place of business outside the state if the firm is not certified by the UCP in the state in which it maintains its principal place of business.

Please feel free to contact us with questions regarding the MUCP.