Disability Business Enterprise

The Disability Business Enterprise program certifies businesses that meet the State of Rhode Island’s criteria for businesses owned by or employing people with disabilities. It is designed to carry out the state’s policy of supporting the fullest possible participation of small, disadvantaged businesses owned and controlled by persons with disabilities.

This includes assisting disadvantaged disability businesses and non-profit rehabilitation facilities throughout the life of contracts in which they participate.

To become a certified Disability Business Enterprise in the State of Rhode Island, your business must meet one of the following criteria:

  1. Businesses owned and controlled by persons with disabilities, with 50 or fewer employees
  2. Manufacturers of any goods or merchandise if not less than sixty percent (60%) of the work hours or direct labor required for the products are performed by persons with disabilities;
  3. Service Providers if not less than sixty percent (60%) of the work hours or direct labor required for the services are performed by persons with disabilities; and
  4. Non-profit rehabilitation facilities

Program History

The Rhode Island Disability Business Enterprise Program was created through the Governor’s Commission on Disabilities in 1987 when the Handicapped Products Procurement Bill became law. It was brought forth through the effort of then Governor Edward DiPrete, Senator Richard Patterson, Representative Paul Sherlock and citizen advocates Peter Holden and Paul Pickens. Its purpose was to help establish a market for the goods and services produced by the employees of the State recognized rehabilitation agencies. Originally, called the Handicapped Products Procurement Committee and under the stewardship of the State's Economic Development Corporation (www.riedc.com), the program was moved to the Governor’s Commission on Disabilities in 1996 and is now titled the Disability Business Enterprise program. It has evolved through amendments made to the original legislation in 1992, 1997 and 2004 to now certify companies owned by and employing people with disabilities.

The DBE Program would like to publicly acknowledge the following for their contributions since 1987 toward making our program a success.

  • The Governors who have served since 1987
  • The Department of Administration
  • Our elected Senators and Representatives, especially the Chairs of the Legislature's Finance Committees
  • The Directors of MHRH, EDC, ORS, and the Division of Purchases
  • The buyers for the State of RI and its Agencies
  • The Directors of the State recognized rehabilitation agencies
  • DBE Committee Members past and present
  • GCD Commissioners past and present
  • GCD staff past and present
  • And, finally, our certified DBEs who work hard to provide quality goods and services

2013 Disability Business Enterprises Proposed Amendments

RULES AND REGULATIONS PERTAINING TO

Chapter J Disability Business Enterprises

  • Proposed on November 15, 1996
  • Public Hearing on December 16, 1996
  • Adopted on December 16, 1996  
  • Effective on January 15, 1997
  • Technical Revisions on October 10, 1997
  • Advertised October 21, 1999
  • Public Hearing on November 22, 1999
  • Adopted December 13, 1999
  • Effective on March 6, 2000
  • Amendments proposed on April 23, 2001
  • Hearing June 11, 2001
  • Adopted July 18, 2001
  • Effective September 3, 2001
  • Technical Amendment Adopted September 13, 2003
  • Technical Amendment Adopted November 1, 2004
  • Amendments proposed on August 11, 2009
  • Public Hearing on September 14, 2009
  • Adopted on September 21, 2009
  • Effective on October 28, 2009
  • Amendments proposed on September 14, 2012
  • Posted for Comment on February 5, 2013
  • Public Hearing February 18, 2013

Statutory Authority

RI GL 37-2.2 Disability Business Enterprises

Definitions

A. “The Commission” shall mean the Governor’s Commission on Disabilities.
B. The terms “A physical or mental impairment”; “Persons with disabilities” or “person with a disability”; and “Small disadvantaged disability businesses owned and controlled by persons with disabilities”; are defined in RIGL 37-2.2-2 and “disadvantaged [disability] businesses as used in the context of RIGL 37-2.2-1”.
C. The terms: “Construction”; “Contract”; “Contractor”; “Government entity”; “Procurement”; “Public agency”; “State agency”; “The State”, and as used in the context of “Procurement”, the term “services” are defined in RIGL 37-2-7.

Purpose

The purpose of this regulation is to implement RIGL 37-2.2 and carry out the state’s policy of supporting the fullest possible participation of small disadvantaged businesses owned and controlled by persons with disabilities in state funded and state directed public construction and projects and in state purchases of goods and services. This includes assisting disadvantaged disability businesses throughout the life of contracts in which they participate.

Certification of Disadvantaged Business Enterprises

A. A disadvantaged disability business shall apply to the Disability Business Enterprise Committee for certification as a “disadvantaged disability business” by:

  1. Completing an on-line Rhode Island Vendor Information Program vendor registration process, including the selection of commodity codes indicating the products and services offered for sale to the State, and
  2. Submitting RI GCD Form J “Disability Business Enterprise Application for Certification”.

B. The Disability Business Enterprise Committee shall be entitled to request such additional documentation, as it deems necessary to adequately evaluate the application, and where appropriate, meet with the applicant to informally review the application, prior to issuing or rejecting its application for certification.
C. The Disability Business Enterprise Committee shall, by majority vote of those members present and voting, certify or deny certification of each applicant at a scheduled meeting of the committee. The applicant shall be notified that the committee will be considering the application, at least 6 business days in advance of the meeting.
D. Applicants shall receive written notification of the actions of the Disability Business Enterprise Committee concerning their application, within 6 business days of that action. The appeal procedures will be attached to the written notification of denial of certification.

Annual Recertification

A. A disadvantaged disability business shall annually apply for recertification, on the first day of December following the anniversary of the initial awarding of certification to the Disability Business Enterprise Committee as a “disadvantaged disability business” by:

  1. Completing or updating on on-line Rhode Island Vendor Information Program vendor registration process, including the selection of commodity codes indicating the products and services offered for sale to the State, and
  2. Submitting RI GCD Form J “Disability Business Enterprise Application for Certification” and only supporting documentation that indicates changes since the last submission.

B. The Disability Business Enterprise Committee shall be entitled to request such additional documentation, as it deems necessary to adequately evaluate the application, and where appropriate, meet with the applicant to informally review the application, prior to issuing or rejecting its application for recertification.
C. The Disability Business Enterprise Committee shall, by majority vote of those members present and voting, certify or reject recertification of each applicant at a scheduled meeting of the committee. The applicant shall be notified that the committee will be considering the application, at least 6 business days in advance of the meeting.
D. Applicants shall receive written notification of the actions of the Disability Business Enterprise Committee concerning their application, within 6 business days of that action. The appeal procedures will be attached to the written notification of rejection of recertification.

Revocation of Certification

A. Grounds for revocation of DBE certification may include but are not limited to:

  1. Failure to comply with disability business enterprise or purchasing statues and/or regulations;
  2. Suspension or debarment by the State or Federal Government;
  3. Falsification of information on the application; and
  4. Failure to comply with Federal and/or State wage requirements.

B. The Disability Business Enterprise Committee shall, by majority vote of those members present and voting, revoke certification of a “disadvantaged disability business” at a scheduled meeting of the committee. The “disadvantaged disability business” shall be notified that the committee will be considering the application at least 6 business days in advance of the meeting.
C. The “disadvantaged disability business” shall receive written notification of the actions of the Disability Business Enterprise Committee concerning their certification, within 6 business days of that action. The appeal procedures will be attached to the written notification of revocation of certification.

Procedure for Appealing Rejection of Certification/Recertification or Revocation of Certification

A. In the event an applicant is not certified, recertified, or if certification is revoked, the applicant shall have the right to appeal said decision. The applicant shall submit, in writing, a request for a hearing within 20 business days of the receipt of the Disability Business Enterprise Committee’s denial of certification to the Commission.
B. The Commission’s Executive Committee shall conduct the appeal hearing in accordance with the Administrative Appeals Act, RIGL 42-35.

Policy and Application

A. It is the policy of the State of Rhode Island that small disadvantaged disability businesses shall have the maximum opportunity to participate in the performance of procurements and projects to any and all state purchasing, including, but not limited to, the procurement of goods and services, construction projects, or contracts funded in whole or in part by state funds, or funds which, in accordance with a federal grant or otherwise, the state expends or administers or in which the state is a signatory to the construction contract.
B. The Disability Business Enterprise Committee will advise the director of administration on the establishment of rules and regulation formulas for awarding contracts to small disadvantaged businesses owned and controlled by persons with disabilities in the procurement of goods, services, construction projects, or contracts funded in whole or in part by state funds, in accordance with section 37-2-9(b)(14) on or before January 1, 2013.

Procurement

A. The Commission’s Disability Business Enterprise Committee shall prepare ad submit a list of the certified small disadvantaged disability businesses and the products and services provided by them to the chief purchasing officer at least once a year. The chief purchasing order shall utilize that procurement list in the program which involves small disadvantaged businesses as contractors established by subsection 37-2-9(b)(14).

  1. The list of products and services shall be created from information provided by participating disability business enterprises. The Disability Business Enterprise Committee shall require such information as part of the application for certification or recertification.
  2. The Committee may evaluate the appropriateness of including items in the list by utilizing customer references provided by the applicants.
  3. Such list shall be published as a catalog that includes commodity codes and shall be made available to all state entities, municipal entities, and the general public.
  4. The DBE Committee shall publish a catalog annually, but may, as it deems necessary, amend such catalog at any time to reflect changes in availability of commodities or services.
  5. The chief purchasing officer shall utilize the list in implementing the program.

B. Items in the catalog shall be subject to deletion based on a determination by the DBE Committee, that such items are not available for State purchase or that a certified “disadvantaged disability business” has been unable to fulfill a contract for an item. Prior to the removal of any item for the catalog, the affected “disadvantaged disability business” shall be given written notification of intent and provided an opportunity for a hearing at the next scheduled meeting of the DBE Committee. Petitioners shall be informed in writing of the DBE Committee’s determination within 6 business days after the meeting. The appeals procedures shall be contained in the notification.

Outreach

A. State agencies and the Division of Purchasing shall periodically conduct meetings with disadvantaged disability businesses as appropriate, to inform them of procurement opportunities within the department or division.
B. State agencies and the Division of Purchasing shall use DBE newspapers as part of their regular advertising.

Reporting

A. The Division of Purchasing shall submit an annual report to the Disability Business Enterprise Committee of the following:

  1. Listing of awarded contracts and value of procurements from small disadvantaged disability business for construction contracts and projects and state purchases of goods and services;
  2. Outreach efforts made by the Division during the previous quarter; and
  3. Number of small disadvantaged disability businesses that submitted bids and were rejected.

B. All entities awarded government contracts, through the Disability Business Enterprise Program, shall submit an annual report at the end of each year listing:

  1. The number of persons with disabilities working employed on government contracts awarded through the Disability Business Enterprise Program;
  2. The number of government contracts bid on, through the Disability Business Enterprise Program; and
  3. The number of government contracts awarded, through the Disability Business Enterprise Program.
  4. The number of customers pre and post Disability Business Enterprise program involvement;
  5. The number of non-government contracts pre and post Disability Business Enterprise program involvement;
  6. The financial size of contracts pre and post Disability Business Enterprise program involvement
  7. The number of employees pre and post Disability Business Enterprise program involvement; and
  8. Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) status pre and post Disability Business Enterprise program involvement.

Severability of Provisions

If any clause, sentence, paragraph or part of these rules or the application thereof to any person or circumstances shall, for any reason, be adjudged by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder of said sections or their application to other persons or circumstances.

Forms

The Commission’s staff shall prepare and revise the forms referenced above, as necessary.

Endnotes

These endnotes are the text of several general laws and are provided for clarification and are not part of the regulation. They are subject to revision, as amended by the General Assembly.

More Information

Forms

Disability Business Enterprise Reports