MnDOT’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program was established by the federal government to ensure women-owned and minority-owned businesses have the opportunity to participate in MnDOT contracts.
Several contracting barriers exist for DBEs, which may have been exacerbated by COVID-19, such as access to capital, a shortage of PPE materials and staffing shortfalls due to workplace risks and caregiving responsibilities.
“We’ve seen detrimental effects on minority-owned businesses in other industries,” explained Kim Collins, MnDOT’s deputy commissioner and chief administrative officer. “We want to see how construction and professional engineering services may be impacted by COVID.”
A new MnDOT-funded study will examine the effects of COVID-19 on DBEs, needs that have emerged, and solutions that may help advance state contracting goals and offer potential to have greater impact post-pandemic. Researchers will interview business owners and key stakeholders to identify the following:
- Unique challenges DBEs faced.
- How well DBEs have overcome those challenges and anticipate staying in business through this construction season and beyond.
- Opportunities for MnDOT to support DBEs (such as training, technical assistance and linking to other community small business resources).
- Support that state departments need to work effectively with and uphold contracting commitments to DBEs.
- Estimated Start Date: 12/1/2020
- Estimated Completion Date: 6/30/2021
- Funding: Minnesota Department of Transportation
- Principal Investigator: Moira Gaidzanwa
- Technical Liaison: Kim Collins
Details of the research study work plan and timeline are subject to change.
To receive email updates about this project, visit MnDOT’s Office of Research & Innovation to subscribe.