Appendix C - Appendix C to Part 26—DBE Business Development Program Guidelines

The purpose of this program element is to further the development of DBEs, including but not limited to assisting them to move into non-traditional areas of work and/or compete in the marketplace outside the DBE program, via the provision of training and assistance from the recipient.

(A) Each firm that participates in a recipient's business development program (BDP) program is subject to a program term determined by the recipient. The term should consist of two stages; a developmental stage and a transitional stage.

(B) In order for a firm to remain eligible for program participation, it must continue to meet all eligibility criteria contained in part 26.

(C) By no later than 6 months of program entry, the participant should develop and submit to the recipient a comprehensive business plan setting forth the participant's business targets, objectives and goals. The participant will not be eligible for program benefits until such business plan is submitted and approved by the recipient. The approved business plan will constitute the participant's short and long term goals and the strategy for developmental growth to the point of economic viability in non-traditional areas of work and/or work outside the DBE program.

(D) The business plan should contain at least the following:

(1) An analysis of market potential, competitive environment and other business analyses estimating the program participant's prospects for profitable operation during the term of program participation and after graduation from the program.

(2) An analysis of the firm's strengths and weaknesses, with particular attention paid to the means of correcting any financial, managerial, technical, or labor conditions which could impede the participant from receiving contracts other than those in traditional areas of DBE participation.

(3) Specific targets, objectives, and goals for the business development of the participant during the next two years, utilizing the results of the analysis conducted pursuant to paragraphs (C) and (D)(1) of this appendix;

(4) Estimates of contract awards from the DBE program and from other sources which are needed to meet the objectives and goals for the years covered by the business plan; and

(5) Such other information as the recipient may require.

(E) Each participant should annually review its currently approved business plan with the recipient and modify the plan as may be appropriate to account for any changes in the firm's structure and redefined needs. The currently approved plan should be considered the applicable plan for all program purposes until the recipient approves in writing a modified plan. The recipient should establish an anniversary date for review of the participant's business plan and contract forecasts.

(F) Each participant should annually forecast in writing its need for contract awards for the next program year and the succeeding program year during the review of its business plan conducted under paragraph (E) of this appendix. Such forecast should be included in the participant's business plan. The forecast should include:

(1) The aggregate dollar value of contracts to be sought under the DBE program, reflecting compliance with the business plan;

(2) The aggregate dollar value of contracts to be sought in areas other than traditional areas of DBE participation;

(3) The types of contract opportunities being sought, based on the firm's primary line of business; and

(4) Such other information as may be requested by the recipient to aid in providing effective business development assistance to the participant.

(G) Program participation is divided into two stages; (1) a developmental stage and (2) a transitional stage. The developmental stage is designed to assist participants to overcome their social and economic disadvantage by providing such assistance as may be necessary and appropriate to enable them to access relevant markets and strengthen their financial and managerial skills. The transitional stage of program participation follows the developmental stage and is designed to assist participants to overcome, insofar as practical, their social and economic disadvantage and to prepare the participant for leaving the program.

(H) The length of service in the program term should not be a pre-set time frame for either the developmental or transitional stages but should be figured on the number of years considered necessary in normal progression of achieving the firm's established goals and objectives. The setting of such time could be factored on such items as, but not limited to, the number of contracts, aggregate amount of the contract received, years in business, growth potential, etc.

(I) Beginning in the first year of the transitional stage of program participation, each participant should annually submit for inclusion in its business plan a transition management plan outlining specific steps to promote profitable business operations in areas other than traditional areas of DBE participation after graduation from the program. The transition management plan should be submitted to the recipient at the same time other modifications are submitted pursuant to the annual review under paragraph (E) of this section. The plan should set forth the same information as required under paragraph (F) of steps the participant will take to continue its business development after the expiration of its program term.

(J) When a participant is recognized as successfully completing the program by substantially achieving the targets, objectives and goals set forth in its program term, and has demonstrated the ability to compete in the marketplace, its further participation within the program may be determined by the recipient.

(K) In determining whether a concern has substantially achieved the goals and objectives of its business plan, the following factors, among others, should be considered by the recipient:

(1) Profitability;

(2) Sales, including improved ratio of non-traditional contracts to traditional-type contracts;

(3) Net worth, financial ratios, working capital, capitalization, access to credit and capital;

(4) Ability to obtain bonding;

(5) A positive comparison of the DBE's business and financial profile with profiles of non-DBE businesses in the same area or similar business category; and

(6) Good management capacity and capability.

(L) Upon determination by the recipient that the participant should be graduated from the developmental program, the recipient should notify the participant in writing of its intent to graduate the firm in a letter of notification. The letter of notification should set forth findings, based on the facts, for every material issue relating to the basis of the program graduation with specific reasons for each finding. The letter of notification should also provide the participant 45 days from the date of service of the letter to submit in writing information that would explain why the proposed basis of graduation is not warranted.

(M) Participation of a DBE firm in the program may be discontinued by the recipient prior to expiration of the firm's program term for good cause due to the failure of the firm to engage in business practices that will promote its competitiveness within a reasonable period of time as evidenced by, among other indicators, a pattern of inadequate performance or unjustified delinquent performance. Also, the recipient can discontinue the participation of a firm that does not actively pursue and bid on contracts, and a firm that, without justification, regularly fails to respond to solicitations in the type of work it is qualified for and in the geographical areas where it has indicated availability under its approved business plan. The recipient should take such action if over a 2-year period a DBE firm exhibits such a pattern.