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Business diversity

Having a diverse group of business partners is important to us. It’s a better way to do business that creates strategic opportunities for small, minority, and women-owned businesses—making the Columbus Region stronger.


As a recipient of U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) funds, the Columbus Regional Airport Authority administers a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program in compliance with Part 26 – Participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprise in Department of Transportation Financial Assistance Programs and Part 23 – Participation Of Disadvantaged Business Enterprise In Airport Concessions. These programs assist with participation in contracting opportunities for businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, including minorities and women.

The DBE Program objectives are to:

  1. Ensure nondiscrimination in the award and administration of federally assisted contracts.
  2. Create a level playing field on which DBEs can compete for federally assisted contracts.
  3. Help remove barriers that affect participation of DBEs in federally assisted contracts.
  4. Assist the development of firms that can compete successfully in the marketplace outside the DBE program.
  5. Ensure the DBE program is narrowly tailored in accordance with applicable law.
  6. Ensure that only firms that fully meet the eligibility standards are permitted to participate as DBEs.
  7. Promote the use of DBEs in all types of federally assisted contracts and procurement activities.
  8. Provide appropriate flexibility in establishing and providing opportunities for DBEs.

In 2011, the USDOT issued a rule requiring the addition of a small business element to the DBE program. The small business element is one method of achieving race-neutral efforts for DBE participation. As a result of this requirement, Columbus Regional Airport Authority instituted the Diversity Business Partner (DBP) Program. By definition, DBEs are also SBEs or Small Business Enterprises. The Authority’s small business element includes outreach activities, verification of certified SBEs, monitoring SBE participation on contracts, and tracking payments made to SBEs.

For firms interested in registering as a small business with the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, please register via our vendor portal at

Please contact the Office of Business Diversity with questions at [email protected].

In order for small disadvantaged firms, including those owned by minorities and women, to participate as a DBE or Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) in federally assisted contracts, they must apply for and receive certification.

Eligibility requirements:

  • The owner must be a member of a socially and economically disadvantaged group. This means owners who are citizens of the United States, or who are lawfully admitted permanent residents, and are: Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian-Pacific Islander, Subcontinent Asian, or women regardless of race.
  • The business must be owned, at least 51%, by one or more individuals who are considered members of a socially and economically disadvantaged group.
  • The disadvantaged owner(s) must control the company’s management and daily operations.
  • A disadvantaged owner(s) personal net worth cannot exceed $1,320,000 (excluding ownership interest in the firm and the equity in his/her primary residence).
  • The company must meet the Small Business Administration’s Size Standard requirements.
  • Within the State of Ohio, DBE and ACDBE certification is performed by the Ohio Unified Certification Program (OHUCP). The Columbus Regional Airport Authority is a member of the Ohio UCP. The Ohio Department of Transportation’s Office of Contracts, DBE Section, processes DBE/ACDBE certification applications for the State of Ohio. To download an application, obtain additional information regarding DBE/ACDBE Certification, or for a listing of currently certified DBE/ACDBE firms, please visit

The DBE Program ensures all program participant compliance with federal requirements pursuant to 49 CFR Part 26. DBE compliance is to ensure that scheduled work is actually being performed, managed, and controlled by the DBE Company contracted to perform on the contract.

The Authority’s DBE Compliance Program engages in the following activities in its efforts to monitor contracts:

  • Conducts desk audits to determine actual DBE participation level for each project
  • Conducts onsite readiness and compliance visits
  • Reviews prime contractor’s billings and payments to subcontractors and suppliers for payment
  • Reviews change orders for their effect on DBE contract values
  • Attends project progress meetings

Review our DBE Compliance program (PDF).

For additional information, bidding forms, and resources, visit our document library.

DBE public notices:
The approved three-year goals and DBE Program Documents for Columbus Regional Airport Authority are below. If you have any questions or comments on these documents, please contact:

Columbus Regional Airport Authority
Office of Business Diversity
4600 International Gateway
Columbus, OH 43219
Email: [email protected]

Columbus Regional Airport Authority’s Business Diversity and Planning & Engineering teams held a public outreach Microsoft Teams meeting to review the proposed triennial Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) goal for John Glenn Columbus International Airport and the Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) goal for Rickenbacker International Airport for fiscal years 2023 – 2025. To view the documents related to these goals please click the appropriate link below.

ODOT ACDBE DBE certification presentation