Can joint ventures be certified as an Airport Concessionaire Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) under the ACDBE Program?

No.  Because a joint venture under the ACDBE Program refers to an association of an ACDBE business entity and one or more other firms to carry out a single, for-profit business enterprise for which the parties combine their property, capital, skills and knowledge, the joint venture cannot be certified as an ACDBE – even if the joint venture itself is more than 51% owned by an ACDBE firm.  However, participants in the joint venture can be certified as an ACDBE so long as they are eligible for ACDBE certification.  

To meet eligibility requirements for certification as an ACDBE, a business entity must be at least 51% owned by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual who controls the managerial and day-to-day operations of the business. The owner must have technical competence and experience directly related to the type of work in which certification is being sought and must be a United States citizen or a lawfully admitted permanent resident of the United States.  The business entity must also meet the appropriate size standards.   

Certification of a business can be a viable tool for developing and maintaining business relationships. Businesses seeking certification as an MBE, DBE or ACDBE may want to consider obtaining legal advice concerning eligibility requirements for certification prior to applying for certification.  

By:  James R. Benjamin, Jr., Esq.