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Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program

The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program is designed to encourage disadvantaged minority or women-owned businesses to participate in request for bids from Memphis International Airport (MEM).

Wondering how this program differs from the Business Diversity Development (BDD) Program? They are essentially identical from your perspective as a bidder/vendor. The only real difference being the source of funds the airport uses to pay for the goods or services needed. If federal funds are to be used, the airport submits bid requests through the DBE Program. If the funds are not federal, the airport submits bid requests through the BDD Program.

Both programs require DBE Certification to participate.

Get Certified

Minority or woman owners are encouraged to complete the DBE certification process. Certification determines whether individuals and firms have sufficiently demonstrated group membership, ownership, control, and social economic disadvantage. All businesses seeking to do business with the Airport as a DBE must be certified. The Memphis Shelby-County Airport Authority (MSCAA) performs the certification evaluation of prospective DBEs. Each business wishing to participate as a DBE or a joint venture DBE must be certified through MSCAA or the Tennessee Uniform Certification Program (TNUCP) at the time of bid/proposal submission.

This will allow you to bid on both BDD and DBE projects. Begin this certification process by going to MEM Vendor Resource Center to begin the application process. You will then be contacted for an on-site interview at your place of business.

The certification process itself requires a thorough investigation of a company’s operations including, but not limited to: financial statements; by-laws; charter; stock certificates; lease agreements; salaries of owners; number of employees; licenses/authorities; etc. Each applicant is required to undergo a personal interview with a member of the BDD staff during a site visit. MSCAA publishes a directory of all certified DBEs and makes it available to all prime and sub-contractors. The certification process can take up to 90 days.

If you are only interested in bidding on a concessions contract, the Airport Concessionaire Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program (ACDBE) uses the same application and process as the DBE Program. For more information read the ACDBE Program document below.

Once the certification process is completed successfully, all vendors must renew their certification annually by going to MEM Vendor Resource Center.

Qualification Criteria

  • The business must be at least fifty-one percent (51%) owned by one or more individuals who are both socially and economically disadvantaged or, in the case of a corporation, in which fifty-one percent (51%) of the stock is owned by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
  • Business management and daily business operations must be controlled by one or more of the socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who own it, are U.S. citizens, and who have personal net worth (PNW) not to exceed $1,320,000.
  • Socially and economically disadvantaged groups are defined as:
    • African-Americans
    • Hispanic-Americans
    • Native-Americans
    • Asian-Pacific Americans
    • Subcontinent Asian-Americans
    • Women
    • Any additional groups found to be socially and economically disadvantaged by the SBA under section 8(a) of the Small Business Act

See what goods and services are available for bid and submit a proposal

Once certified, you can review goods and services up for bid here. If your company offers the goods or services requested, we encourage you to submit a proposal according to the guidelines provided in the bid notification. We also encourage you to register as a vendor at MEM Vendor Resource Center. This will allow you to receive automated messages regarding bids/services that match your listed NAICS code.

Memphis International Airport posts all bids and legal notices in the following Memphis metro area newspapers:

Bid and legal notices are forwarded to business association and advocacy groups as well. If you would like your organization listed, please contact the Business Diversity Development Office at (901) 922-0255 or email us at certification@flymemphis.com.

Bid documents may be examined at the following locations:

  • Engineer’s Office at the MSCAA Development Office
  • Builder’s Exchange Plans Room
  • Construction Market Data, Inc.
  • F.W. Dodge Plans Room
  • Memphis Area Minority Contractor’s Association
  • Memphis Business Development Center
  • Mid-South Minority Business Council
  • National Minority Contractors Association


If you have any questions, you please contact the Business Diversity Development Office at (901) 922-0255 or email us.

Information Change Requests

If you have previously completed a certification application and have information to change on your application, please click here (PDF).

Additional Resources