Equitable Business Opportunities (EBO) Program

It is the policy of the City to practice nondiscrimination based on social and economic disadvantage, race, color, gender, disability and national origin in the award and performance of contracts.

The City is committed to providing opportunities to businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged persons and is charged with ensuring their meaningful participation in the contracting activities of the City that involve public spending or private projects that utilize public funding or incentives. The objectives of the EBO program are to:

  • Increase the number of available, qualified and capable City certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs).
  • Increase the number and the dollar amount of contracts with DBEs.
  • Ensure compliance and monitoring of DBE participation on City contracts.
  • Create a level playing field upon which DBEs can compete fairly for City contracts.
  • Assist certified DBEs to build more competitive and sustainable businesses for the benefit of the City and its residents.

The City of New Orleans established an overall goal of 35% utilization of socially and economically disadvantaged businesses for all public spending or private projects that utilize public funding and/or incentives.

What is a DBE?

The State & Local Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (SLDBE or, just DBE for short) Program is a race and gender neutral program that does not presume social and economic disadvantage.  Each applicant carries the burden of proof regarding their eligibility in establishing their social and economic disadvantage.

Social and economic disadvantage is defined as a set of circumstances (historic and/or current and created by forces outside the applicant’s control) which have prevented the applicant’s business from successfully competing for contracts as compared to other similarly situated businesses. Evidence of individual social disadvantage must include:

  • At least one objective distinguishing factor such as race, ethnic origin, gender or gender identification, physical handicap, service in the military, long-term residence in an environment isolated from the mainstream of society, or other similar causes not common to individuals who are not socially disadvantaged.
  • Personal experiences of substantial and chronic social disadvantage.
  • Negative impact on the individual’s entrance into the business world or advancement in the business world because of the stated disadvantage(s).

Economic disadvantage must also be demonstrated for an applicant to be certified in the SLDBE Program, which is demonstrated by a limited capacity to compete in the public and private marketplace due to diminished capital and credit opportunities. 

The SLDBE Program also follows the economic thresholds of income & personal net worth as set forth in 49 CFR Part 26; where by an applicant's adjusted personal net worth shall not exceed $1.32 million. 

Being a DBE

Qualifying for the SLDBE Program

A business may qualify for the SLDBE Program if it is determined that the firm's ability to compete in the business world has been restricted due to industry practices, limited access to capital and/or restricted credit opportunities that are beyond the firm's control.

Eligibility is also determined by:

  • Ownership - The firm must be at least 51% owned by a socially and economically disadvantaged person(s).
  • Business Size - The firm (including its affiliates) must be a small business as defined by SBA standards. It must not have annual gross receipts over $23.98 million in the previous three fiscal years.
  • Independence - The business must not be tied to another firm in such a way as to compromise its independence and control.
  • Control - A disadvantaged owner seeking certification must possess the power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of the firm.  The owner must also have an overall understanding of, and managerial and technical competence and experience directly related to, the type of business in which the firm is engaged.

The SLDBE Program is a race and gender neutral program that does not presume social and economic disadvantage.  Each applicant carries the burden of proof regarding their eligibility in establishing their social and economic disadvantage.

Louisiana Unified Certification Program (LAUCP)

Firms certified with the Louisiana Unified Certification Program (LAUCP), are granted provisional certification as a DBE per Policy Memorandum No. 46(R). Such provisional certification shall entitle a business to be considered a valid DBE by the City of New Orleans.  LAUCP certified firms may be found on the LAUCP Directory at www.laucp.org/

Out-of-State firms that currently hold Unified Certification Program (UCP) certification within their home state are encouraged to apply for reciprocity through an LAUCP certifying agency. To find an LAUCP certifying agency please visit: www.laucp.org/.  

Any further questions may be answered by emailing the Office of Supplier Diversity.

How do I find opportunities to partner with a prime contractor?

There are three ways to find opportunities:

  1. View open bids, RFPs and RFQs
  2. View the Capital Projects Look-Ahead report
  3. View advertised sub-contracting opportunities submitted by contractors

Find DBE Opportunities

To Apply

Anyone interested in pursuing DBE certification should start and submit a Certification Application online through our Disadvanted Business Enterprise System.

How to apply for DBE Certification

Partnering with a DBE

Am I required to utilize and include DBE participation with my bid or solicitation (RFP or RFQ) response?

Unless a waiver of DBE requirements was granted prior to the release of a solicitation, you shall include with your bid, RFP or RFQ response, at a minimum, a Comprehensive Plan for DBE Participation that includes the following information:

  1. Name and contact information of the DBE firm(s) you will work with if awarded a contract;
  2. The scope of work for the commercially useful function the DBE firm(s) will perform on the contract;
  3. The percentage of work of the total project to be performed by the DBE firm(s) on the project (e.g., 35%); and
  4. A letter from the DBE firm(s) and on their letterhead acknowledging their participation with your firm on the project.

What if I cannot meet the 35% goal or the DBE goal established for the bid, RFP or RFQ?

If you cannot meet the goal established in the solicitation you must, at a minimum, show Evidence of Good Faith Efforts:

EVIDENCE OF GOOD FAITH EFFORTS (To be documented on DBE Compliance Form‐2)

  • PRE‐BID MEETING(S): The bidder/offerer attended all pre‐bids and meetings scheduled by the City to inform DBEs of contracting and subcontracting opportunities.
  • SLDBE/DBE LIST(S): The bidder/offerer utilized the Office of Supplier Diversity's list of certified SLDBE firms and the Louisiana Department of Transportation's list of certified DBE firms.
  • SMALL CONTRACT(S): The bidder/offerer selected specific portions of the work to be performed by DBEs in order to increase the likelihood of meeting the DBE goals (including breaking down contracts into smaller units to facilitate DBE participation).
  • INITIAL SOLICITATION: The bidder/offeror sent solicitations to all DBE firms certified in the indentified scopes of work and provided a listing of DBE firms that were contacted in writing or by telephone or e-mail and the scope of work solicited from each DBE firm.
  • FOLLOW‐UP: The bidder/offerer followed up on initial solicitations to DBEs, and on indications of interest by DBEs by contacting those DBEs to determine with certainty if they remained interested in bidding.
  • ADVERTISEMENT: The bidder/offerer advertised in general circulation and/or trade association publications concerning subcontracting opportunities, and allowed DBEs reasonable time to respond.
  • INTERNET ADVERTISING: The bidder/offerer advertised DBE and/or subcontracting opportunities on the City of New Orleans Office of Supplier Diversity DBE Opportunities page or other internet portals that are accessible to DBEs and/or potential subcontractors.
  • GOOD FAITH NEGOTIATIONS: The bidder/offerer negotiated in good faith with interested DBEs and did not reject DBEs as unqualified without sound business reasons based on a thorough investigation of their capabilities.
  • INFORMATION: The bidder/offerer provided interested DBEs with adequate information about the plans, specifications and requirements of the subcontract.
  • WRITTEN NOTICE(S): The bidder/offerer took the necessary steps to provide written notice in a manner reasonably calculated to inform DBEs of subcontracting opportunities and allowed sufficient time for them to participate effectively.
  • COMMUNITY RESOURCES: The bidder/offerer used the services of available community organizations, small and/or disadvantaged business assistance offices and other organizations that provided assistance in the recruitment and placement of DBE firms.
  • CONTACT RECORDS: The bidder/offerer has maintained the following records for each DBE that has bid on the subcontracting opportunity: 1. Name, address, and telephone number; 2. A description of information provided by the bidder/offerer or subcontractor; and 3. A statement of whether an agreement was reached, and if not, why not, including any reasons for concluding that the DBE was unqualified to perform the job.

Where can I find a list or lists of certified firms that qualify to participate on City of New Orleans procurements as a DBE?

You can utilize any of the following lists of certified SLDBE or DBE firms:

Where can I get the DBE forms and more information about EBO compliance?

All current DBE Compliance forms can be found on our EBO Compliance page.

How can I submit a DBE opportunity?

Complete this form to advertise your opportunity to partner with a DBE.

DBE Compliance Reporting

The Active Contracts Database can be viewed by visiting the City's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise System.

Performance Reports

The Office of Supplier Diversity provides a performance report to the City Council annually.





Laws and Policies Governing the EBO Program

The City of New Orleans established an overall goal of 35% utilization of socially and economically disadvantaged businesses for all public spending or private projects that utilize public funding and/or incentives. City Ordinance No. 25369, § 1, 6-20-13

Policy Memorandum No. 46(R) establishes the City of New Orleans' Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program and designates the Office of Supplier Diversity to oversee certification, compliance, training, and outreach for local, small and disadvantaged businesses in the City of New Orleans. 

DBE Rules and Regulations are under Attachment D, found within Attachments A-D of Policy Memorandum No. 46(R)

Please read more about the Equitable Business Opportunities (EBO) Program in the documents below:

EBO Rules and Regulations

EBO Program Manual