SARASOTA COUNTY – Sarasota County will hold an open house for small businesses that have been – or may be eligible to become – designated as a disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) on March 29.
The DBE open house will take place from 9-11:30 a.m. at the Sarasota Operations Center, 1001 Sarasota Center Blvd., in conference room 1. The event is sponsored by Sarasota County, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and Construction Estimating Institute (CEI). It is free and open to the public.
DBEs are for-profit small businesses in which socially and economically disadvantaged individuals own at least a 51 percent interest and also control management and daily business operations. These groups include women, veterans, African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific and subcontinent Asian-Americans. DBE certification can increase access to public contracts for minority-owned businesses.
To participate in the DBE program, a small business owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals must receive DBE certification from the state, generally through the state Uniform Certification Program. To qualify as economically disadvantaged, an individual must have a personal net worth that does not exceed $1.32 million. The firm must meet Small Business Administration size criteria and have average annual gross receipts of no more than $22.41 million.
The open house March 29 will give small businesses the opportunity to network with peers and learn about where to find and how to bid on upcoming local and state projects. In addition to county purchasing staff, FDOT staff will be available to discuss website design, management, business plans, bonding, estimating, loans and financing, bidding assistance and marketing. Assistance with the DBE certification process will be offered at no charge.
Although representatives of Sarasota County, FDOT and CEI will be available for free consultations, there will be no formal presentation. For more information, call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 941-861-5000.