What is the Airport Concessionaire Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program (ACDBE) and who is eligible to apply for certification under the Program?

By: James R. Benjamin, Esquire                     jbenjamin@pklaw.com

The ACDBE Program was established to increase contract opportunities for disadvantaged business enterprises (“DBEs”) in the operation of concessions at airports which receive assistance from the U.S. Department of Transportation.  To meet eligibility requirements with MDOT for certification as an ACDBE, a business must be at least 51% owned by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual who controls the managerial and day-to-day operations of the business. The owner must have technical competence and experience directly related to the type of work in which certification is being sought and must be a United States citizen or a lawfully admitted permanent resident of the United States.  The business must also meet the appropriate size standards. 

While eligibility standards for ACDBEs are similar to those of an MBE or DBE, businesses seeking ACDBE certification are advised that the personal net worth requirements for ACDBE owners differ from those required for MBEs and DBEs.  As it currently stands, the personal net worth for MBE owners cannot exceed $1,577,337.00 and cannot exceed $1,350,000.00 for DBE owners.  However, the personal net worth requirements for ACDBE owners cannot exceed $750,000.00. 

Certification of a business can be viable tool for developing and maintaining business relationships. Businesses seeking certification as an MBE, DBE or ACDBE may want to consider obtaining legal advice concerning eligibility requirements for certification prior to applying for certification.