A Linear Development Model for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises in Construction Engineering and Management

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Department or Administrative Unit

Engineering Technologies, Safety, and Construction

Publication Date



A disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) is a small, for-profit business at least 51% owned by one or more both socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. The United States (U.S.) Department of Transportation (DOT) mandates state transportation agencies to have a DBE program to ensure nondiscrimination in federally assisted contracts for DBEs. The number of certified DBEs has been increasing under the economic boom. However, few DBEs have been successful, and even fewer have sustainable growth in the DBE program due to many complex factors. One factor is the lack of a development model for DBEs. The purpose of this study is to propose a linear development model that has five levels. Each level has about $5 million growth in revenue, totaling up to $25 million. Based on survey results, most DBEs are in the first level of the linear development model. Some DBEs are in the fourth and fifth levels. Few DBEs are in the second and third levels. Also, survey results reveal some correlations among revenue growth and other factors, especially business areas. The contributions of this paper to the body of knowledge are (1) the identification of DBE revenue distribution in the linear development model and (2) the implementation of the model for providing effective supportive services to DBEs.


This article was originally published in Construction Research Congress 2020. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Construction Research Congress 2020


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