Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise Program

Please note:  Projects involving both loans and grants must use SRF DBE Guidance and Forms




Maryland Water Quality & Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund Programs Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program (DBE) Guidance for Loan Recipients, Prime Contractors, and Subcontractors

The Maryland Water Quality and Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund Programs (RLF) receive federal funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The funds are used to provide low interest rate loans to finance water quality and drinking water capital projects. As a condition of federal grant awards, EPA regulations require that loan recipients and sub-recipients (i.e., prime contractors and subcontractors) make a good-faith effort to award a fair share of work to DBEs who are small business enterprises (SBEs), minority business enterprises (MBEs) and women’s business enterprises (WBEs).  A/E service consultants who receive loan funds are also considered as prime contractors, and must comply with DBE requirements when they subcontract.  Additionally, EPA DBE rule requires loan recipients and sub-recipients to adhere to the terms and conditions in Appendix A (see below).

To ensure compliance with EPA DBE requirements, the MWQFA has developed guidance for both Loan Recipients and sub-recipients (prime contractors and subcontractors) to undertake certain good faith efforts to provide opportunities for DBE firms to participate in contracts. EPA regulations require evidence of the demonstration of the six good faith efforts in trying to achieve the DBE participation goals. MDE’s negotiated DBE participation goals with EPA are below. The goals below are not a quota and apply to DBE participation only.

Procurement Category  MBE Goal (%)   WBE Goal (%)  
Construction  18  16
Equipment  20 15
Services 28 19
Supplies  20  15

Good Faith Efforts

The following good faith efforts apply to the procurement categories involving EPA financial assistance funds (see Appendix B, below):

Step 1: Ensure DBEs are made aware of contracting opportunities to the fullest extent practicable through outreach and recruitment activities by placing qualified DBEs on solicitation lists whenever they are potential sources.

Step 2: Establishing delivery schedules, where the requirement permits to encourage participation by DBEs. The loan recipient and sub-recipients (prime contractor and subcontractors) should allow a 30-day minimum advertising period for bidding.

Step 3: Dividing total requirements, when economically feasible, into small tasks or quantities, to permit maximum participation of DBEs.

Step 4: Encourage contracting with a consortium of DBEs, when a contract is too large for one of these firms to handle individually.

Step 5: Using the services and assistance of the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce (See Appendix C, below).

Step 6: Require the prime contractor and each subcontractor, if additional subcontracts are to be let, to take the steps 1-5.

Demonstration of the Six Good Faith Efforts by Loan Recipients, Prime Contractors and Subcontractors (see Appendices A & B for additional bidding instructions and contract administrative provisions)

A. Steps 1 & 5 can be achieved by developing a bidders list of qualified DBE firms that can bid as prime contractors or as subcontractors.  Loan recipients, prime contractors, and subcontractors (if they further subcontract) should advertise in minority, local and regional newspapers.  Loan recipients can also advertise in the Dodge report.  Loan recipients should provide their bidders list to prime contractors, who can supplement this list with their own bidders list.

Information for developing bidders list of qualified DBE firms for participation as prime contractors or subcontractors in construction, equipment, services, and supplies, should be gathered from different resources (see Appendix C, below), such as

The DBE bidders list may be classified with Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) or NAICS codes, should be updated periodically, and should be made available to prime and subcontractors to solicit subcontractors.  The bidders list is required to be kept throughout the project’s construction period.

B. Steps 2, 3, & 4 can be achieved during the project planning, design, and/or pre-bidding phase, to assure that qualified DBE firms have procurement opportunities in construction, equipment, services, and supplies.

 The following steps need to be undertaken:

  • Conduct pre-bid meetings to inform potential bidders/contractors about DBE requirements and provide guidance in undertaking the required good faith efforts.
  • Use the bidders list developed in Item A (above) to solicit DBE firms as prime contractors or subcontractors.
  • Invite DBE firms, where appropriate, to meetings, conferences, etc., to inform them of procurement opportunities and develop, where possible, reasonable contract and delivery schedules that encourage and facilitate participation by DBEs.  This includes allowing a minimum of 30 calendar days for bids or request for proposals.
  • Determine if a project can be broken down into smaller components/contracts to allow opportunities for DBE firms to bid both as prime contractors and subcontractors.
  • For projects broken down into smaller components (e.g., painting, roofing, excavation, pipe laying, etc.), ensure that the delivery schedules are reasonable.
  • Encourage DBE firms, where appropriate, to apply as a consortium of DBEs, when a contract is too large for one of these firms to handle individually.
  • Loan recipient must require prime contractor to complete EPA forms 6100-4 and 6100-3 and submit with bid proposal.

C.  Loan recipients (step 6) must require the prime contractor to undertake steps 1 through 5 as a good faith effort in providing DBE firms opportunities as subcontractors by including the MDE Insert/Requirements and Contract Provisions for utilization of DBEs in the bidding documents.

Guidance Documents and Forms (EPA & State Forms)

The DBE requirements above are applicable to a project or segment of a project that is funded in part by Federal loan funds provided through the MDE under the following capital programs:

  • Clean Water Revolving Funds 
  • Drinking Water Revolving Funds

For questions and additional information, please contact:

Maryland Water Quality Financing Administration
Maryland Department of the Environment
1800 Washington Boulevard, Suite 515
Baltimore, MD 21230-1718
Attn: DBE Coordinator, MWQFA
Phone: 410-537-3146, Fax: 410-537-3968

For MDE Insert documents to include in plans and specifications for bidding construction contracts, please contact your MDE project manager, or call 410-537-4029.


MDE State Grant Capital Programs
Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises (M/WBE)
Guidance for Grant Recipients & Prime Contractors

The Maryland Department of the Environment’s mission is to protect and restore the quality of Maryland’s air, water, and land resources, while fostering smart growth, economic development, safe communities, and quality environmental education, for the benefit of the environment, public health, and future generations.  As a part of our mission, fostering economic growth and opportunities for all Marylanders, all grant recipients and sub-recipients (i.e., prime construction contractors and A/E services vendors) are REQUIRED to make good-faith efforts to utilize Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) to participate in state grant contracts.

This guidance is intended for both Recipients and Prime (Construction & A/E) Contractors (sub-recipients) to undertake these good-faith efforts to provide real opportunities for M/WBE firms to participate in procurement contracts financed with State grants. Grant Recipients and Prime Contractors are also required to meet local requirements. The attached forms are REQUIRED to be used to guide and report the good faith efforts undertaken and any M/WBE participation outcomes achieved.

Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises M/WBE Good-Faith Efforts

The following good-faith efforts apply to all procurement contracts involving state grant funds:

Step 1: Placing qualified minority business enterprises (MBEs) and women’s business enterprises (WBEs) on solicitation list.

Step 2: Assuring that MBEs and WBEs are solicited whenever they are potential sources.

Step 3: Dividing total requirements, when economically feasible, into small tasks or quantities, to permit maximum participation of MBEs and WBEs.

Step 4: Establishing delivery schedules, where the requirement permits, which encourage participation by MBEs and WBEs.

Step 5: Using the services and assistance of the Maryland Department of the Transportation (MDOT). MDOT is designated as the primary agency within Maryland for listing and certifying MBEs.

Step 6: Recipients should encourage the prime contractor, if subcontracts are to be let, to apply the good faith efforts listed above (1-5).

Good Faith Efforts for Grant Recipients & Sub-recipients

A. Recipients and sub-recipients are required to undertake Steps 1 & 5, to develop lists of qualified M/WBE firms that can bid as subcontractors.

In developing a list of qualified M/WBE firms for participation as subcontractors in construction, equipment, services, and supplies, Contractors are required to contact and gather information from different resources such as:

  • Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT)
  • Loan recipient/project owner
  • Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE)

The M/WBE vendor lists may be classified with Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) or NAICS codes to facilitate solicitation of sub-contractors for specific tasks.

B. Recipients and Prime contractors are required to undertake Steps 3 & 4 to assure that qualified M/WBE firms have opportunities as contractors in construction, equipment, services, and supplies being procured under the prime contract.

 To provide procurement opportunities to M/WBE firms, the Recipient and Prime Contractor are required to undertake the following:

  • Determine if the prime contract can be broken down into smaller categories for purposes of sub-contracting or entering into joint ventures.
  • For prime contract broken down into smaller components (e.g., painting, roofing, excavation, pipe laying, etc.,) ensure that the delivery schedules are reasonable.
  • Invite M/WBE firms, where appropriate, to meetings, conferences, etc., to inform them of sub-contract procurement opportunities.
  • The Grant Recipient should require the prime contractor to submit all the required M/WBE information with the bid proposal.

C.  Recipients and Prime contractors are required to undertake affirmative Step 2, to assure qualified M/WBE firms have opportunities to bid on the project procurement (in construction, equipment, services, and supplies).

Use the list developed in Item A (above) to solicit proposals from M/WBE firms to work as contractors. In addition, you may contact the resources listed below for posting your bid opportunities.

  1. Maryland Department of Transportation:  http://www.mdot.state.md.us/MBE_Program/Index.html
  2. Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs: 
    http://www.oma.state.md.us/
  3. E-Maryland Marketplace’s website: 
    https://www.emarylandmarketplace.com
  4. U.S. Small Business Administration’s subnet:  https://www.sba.gov/offices/district/md/baltimore
  5. U.S. Dept. of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency: 
    http://www.mbda.gov
  6. U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce’s opportunity Center: 
    http://www.uswcc.org
  7. Maryland Washington Minority Companies Association: 
    http://www.mwmca.org

Guidance Documents and Forms

Additional Information and Contact

The M/WBE requirements above are applicable to a project or segment of a project that is funded in part by State grant funds provided through the MDE under the following capital programs:

  1. Bay Restoration Fund
  2. Water Pollution Control Fund (State Grant more than $500,000) 
    • Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR)
  3. Water Supply Financial Assistance Fund (State Grant more than $500,000)
    • Water Supply Grant (WSG)

Please note that A/E service consultants who receive grant funds are also considered as prime contractors and must comply with M/WBE requirements. The guidance and forms are to assist recipients and subrecipients in reaching out to M/WBEs when procuring contracts.

For questions and additional information, please contact:
Maryland Water Quality Financing Administration
Maryland Department of the Environment
1800 Washington Boulevard, Suite 515
Baltimore, MD 21230-1718
Attn: DBE Coordinator, WQFA
Phone: 410-537-3146, Fax: 410-537-3968

For MDE Insert documents to include in plans and specifications for bidding construction contracts, please contact your MDE project manager, or call 410-537-4029.