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See our Diverse Suppliers Policy here.

Definition of Terms

Small Business Enterprise / Concern (SBE)

The Small Business Act defines a small business as a concern that is organized for profit; has a place of business in the U.S.; operates primarily within the U.S. or makes a significant contribution to the U.S. economy through payment of taxes or use of American products, materials or labor; is independently owned and operated; and is not dominant in its field on a national basis. The business may be a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or any other legal form. In determining what constitutes a small business, the definition will vary to reflect industry differences as measured by its employment and/or business receipts in accordance with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) numerical size standards. These standards are defined as FAR 52.219-8, 13 CFR Part 121 and 13 CFR 121.410.

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE)

DBEs are defined as a business which are (a) owned by socially disadvantaged individuals who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identity as a member of a group without regard to their individual qualities; or (b) owned by economically disadvantaged individuals whose ability to compete in the free enterprise system has been impaired due to diminished opportunities to obtain capital and credit as compared to others in the same line of business who are not socially disadvantaged.

Disabled Business Enterprise (DIS)

DIS businesses are at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more U.S. citizens who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person’s major life activities.

Small Disadvantage Business Concern (SDB)

SDB businesses are certified by the SBA as meeting the following criteria: (1) they are small business concern and (2) must be at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more U.S. citizens who are socially and economically disadvantaged. African Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, Asian Subcontinent Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans are presumed to qualify as being socially disadvantaged. Other individuals can qualify if they show by a preponderance of the evidence that they are socially disadvantaged. In addition, the personal net worth of each eligible owner applicant must be less than $750,000, excluding the values of the applicant’s ownership interest in the business seeking certification and the owner’s primary residence. Successful applicants must also meet applicable size standards for small businesses in their industry. SDB regulations can be found in FAR 52.219-8 and 13 CFR parts 121 & 124.

Veterans-Owned Business Concern (VBE)

VBE businesses are at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more U.S. citizens who are Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. In the case of any publicly owned business, at least 51% of the stock is owned by one or more veterans and one or more veterans must control the management and daily business operation. The term "Veteran" means a person who served in the active military, naval or air service and who was discharged or released there from under conditions other than dishonorable. VBE regulations can de found in FAR 52.219-9 & 38 USC 101 (2).

Service-Disabled Veterans-Owned Business Concern (DVBE)

DVBE businesses are at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more U.S. citizens who are service-disabled Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. In the case of any publicly owned business, at least 51% of the stock is owned by one or more service-disabled veterans and one or more veterans must control the management and daily business operation. The term "Veteran" means a person who served in the active military, naval or air service and who was discharged or released there from under conditions other than dishonorable. The term "Service-Disabled" means a veteran of the U.S. Military Service has a service-connected disability with a disability rating of 0%-100%. In the case of permanent or severe disability, the spouse of caregiver of such a service-disabled veteran may control the management and daily operations. DVBE regulations can be found in FAR 52.219-9 & 38 USC 101 (2) & USC 101 (16).

Women-Owned Business Concern (WBE)

WBE businesses are at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more U.S. citizens who are female gender. In the case of any publicly owned business, at least 51% of the stock is owned by one or more women and one or more women must control the management and daily business operations. For Federal contracting regulations see FAR 52-219-8.

Minority-Owned Business Enterprise (MBE)

MBE businesses are at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more U.S. citizens belonging to certain ethnic minority groups. In the case of any publicly owned business, at least 51 % of the stock is owned by one or more minorities, and one or more minorities must control the management and daily business operations. "Ethnic Minority Groups" are people of Asian Pacific American, Asian Subcontinent American, African American, Hispanic American and Native American descent.

  • African Americans: People whose origins lay in any of the Black racial groups of Africa.
  • Asian Pacific Americans: People whose origins lay in Brunei, Burma, China, Guam, Indonesia, Japan, Kampuchea (Cambodia), Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Northern Mariana Islands, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau (U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands), the Philippines, Samoa, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • Asian Subcontinent Americans: People whose origins lay in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka or Nepal.
  • Hispanic Americans: People whose origins are in the South and Central America, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba or the Iberian Peninsula (including Portugal).
  • Native Americans: American Indians, Inuit (Eskimos), Aleuts, and native Hawaiians of Polynesian ancestry.

HubZone Business Concern

  • It must be a small business by SBA standards;
  • It must owned and controlled at least 51% by U.S. citizens, or a Community Development Corporation, or an agricultural cooperative or an Indian tribe;
  • Its principal office must be located within a HUBZone, which includes lands considered "Indian Country" and military facilities closed by the Base Realignment and Closure Act; and
  • At least 35% of its employees must reside in a HUBZone, living in a primary residence within that area for at least 180 days or be a currently registered voter in that area. Existing businesses who choose to move to qualified areas are eligible.