Department of Small and Local Business Development

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CBE Program History

The Certified Business Enterprise (“CBE”) Program provides preference to District-based firms pursuing District Government issued procurement opportunities, and expands the availability of business opportunities with District-sponsored development projects.

In order to be eligible for CBE certification, a business must meet a local standard to demonstrate that it is a bona fide District-based business. Among other requirements, the business must have its principal office located in the District and the chief executive officer and highest level managerial employees of the business must maintain their office and perform their managerial functions in the District. In addition, the business must meet one of four standards: it must have more than 50% of its assets located in the District; more than 50% of its total sales or other revenues derived from transactions in the District; more than 50% of its employees must be District residents; or, more than 50% of the owners must be District residents.

The CBE Program evolved from the Sheltered Market program managed by the Minority Business Opportunity Commission (“MBOC”) and the Local, Small, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (“LSDBE”) program managed by the Office of Local Business Development (“OLBD”) and, eventually, DSLBD.

The CBE program’s history within the District dates back to the mid-1970s. Over three decades, the program has evolved as one of the most progressive local inclusion programs in the United States, serving as a best practice model for other local and state jurisdictions.

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