Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program

Charleston County has established a DBE program in accordance with regulations of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). The program purpose is to ensure that DBEs have an equal opportunity to participate in federally assisted contracts. For Charleston County projects that have an element of Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) funding, loans, or grants, the County operates its federally mandated DBE program using the South Carolina State Department of Transportation (SCDOT) FHWA-approved DBE plan.

Additional program objectives include:

  • Ensure nondiscrimination in the award of federally assisted contracts.
  • Create a level playing field on which DBEs can compete fairly for federally assisted contracts.
  • Ensure that a firm meets federal eligibility standards (49 CFR Part 26) prior to participation in the DBE Program
  • Assist in identifying and removing barriers to participation for DBEs in federally assisted contracts
  • Assist in the development of Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, in order to increase their competitiveness in the market place

To participate in the DBE program a business must:

  • Be an existing "for profit" business and meet the federal definition of a small business based on it primary North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code, as described by Small Business Administration (SBA).
  • Be at least 51% owned by a minority or woman or, in the case of a corporation, at least 51% of the stock must be owned by one or more such individuals.
  • Not have a net worth that exceeds $1.32 million.
  • Be determined to be both socially and economically disadvantaged as defined by the U.S. DOT.
  • Be managed and have daily business operations controlled by one or more of the socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who own the business.
  • Submit an application to and be approved by the SCDOT's Unified Certification Program (UCP).

To become DBE certified:

  • Firms seeking to be certified as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) should complete the DBE UCP Application, which can be found online at the SCDOT's Office of Business Development and Special Programs.
  • For one-on-one application assistance, you can contact the Charleston County DBE Program representative at 843-958-4754 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
  • Completed applications and supporting documentation must be returned to:
        SCDOT Office of Business
        Development and Special Programs
        PO Box 191 Columbia, SC 29202

Advantages of DBE Program enrollment:

  • Portable program for economically and socially disadvantaged businesses that is recognized all over the U.S.
  • Mandatory subcontractor bid opportunities on all Charleston County Transportation Development contracts.
  • Included as an approved subcontractor on the SCDOT's list of pre-qualified contractors and consultants.
  • Mandatory subcontractor bid opportunities for all SCDOT-funded construction contracts.
  • Technical assistance as needed.
  • Schedule meetings to introduce subcontractors with prime contractors.
  • Registrants have access to business development resources and other advantages such as free workshops and training programs designed to make the application process convenient and simple.

Charleston County DBE Program contacts:

Darrell Williams, Manager, 843.202.6923 dwilliams@charlestoncounty.org
Holly Chesser, Project Officer II, 843.958.4753 hchesser@charlestoncounty.org
Aliya Ross, Administrative Assistant, 843.958.4754 aross@charlestoncounty.org

Procurement Homepage

  • Bid Opportunities Link located on the Procurement Homepage
  • Workshops Link located on the Procurement Homepage




SCDOT's function and purpose is the systematic planning, construction, maintenance, and operation of the state highway system and the development of a statewide mass transit system that is consistent with the needs and desires of the public. The SCDOT also coordinates all state and federal programs relating to highways. The goal of the SCDOT is to provide adequate, safe, and efficient transportation services for the movement of people and goods.

The Governor's Office of Small and Minority Business Assistance


The mission of the S.C. Office of Small and Minority Business Assistance is to promote the interest of small and minority-owned businesses as a part of the free enterprise system; thereby, enhancing economic growth and development in South Carolina.

U.S. Small Business Administration


Since its founding on July 30, 1953, the U.S. Small Business Administration has delivered millions of loans, loan guarantees, contracts, counseling sessions and other forms of assistance to small businesses.

South Carolina Women in Business Center


This program provides FREE, confidential one-on-one business counseling, training workshops and networking opportunities for women entrepreneurs at all levels. We are here to help small businesses in SC start, grow and succeed.

S. C. O. R. E.


SCORE provides FREE BUSINESS MENTORING for entrepreneurs, existing and start-up businesses. We mentor and educate aspiring and established entrepreneurs to help them achieve their business and personal goals.

South Carolina Small Business Development Centers


For more than thirty years, entrepreneurs have turned to South Carolina Small Business Development Centers (SC SBDC) for help expanding an existing business or starting a new enterprise. Through free consulting, low-cost seminars and links to resources, the SC SBDC helps jump start startups and makes existing businesses thrive. SC SBDC consultants work with companies in all stages of development – from a person with an innovative product but no idea how to move forward to the owner of a company looking to capture new markets.

City of Charleston Minority Business Enterprise Office (MBE)

Charleston’s Minority & Women Owned Business Enterprise office (MWBE) strives to increase participation of minority and women-owned business enterprises in the full array of contracting opportunities available in the City of Charleston.