Emerging Small Business (ESB)

The ESB Program is managed by the CDOT Civil Rights & Business Resource Center as a "race- and gender-neutral" small business program. The goal is to help all small businesses obtain work on CDOT state-funded construction, professional service, and research contracts. ESB certification applies only to CDOT projects and is not transferable to or used by other agencies. 

Some of the benefits include financial incentives to primes for utilizing ESB subcontractors/subconsultants, projects restricted for bidding only by ESB firms, tuition reimbursement, company listing in the CDOT public directory, and support services.

  • For-profit small business concern with revenues totaling one half of the current SBA size standard (based upon primary industry).
  • Less than $11.205 million in revenues.
  • Ability to provide services/supplies on highway design, construction or maintenance projects offered by CDOT.
  • Completion of the CDOT ESB Orientation (see the Calendar of Events for upcoming dates/times).
Small businesses interested in becoming certified as an ESB must submit an online application to CDOT and complete a mandatory ESB Orientation session. Upon approval, your business can be used to meet ESB target participation percentages on CDOT projects, compete for ESB restricted projects, and take advantage of free small business support and resources. Specific information about the ESB Program can be found in the ESB Program Rules and Guidelines.

Level Designation
Once approved, CDOT will designate your firm as a Level 1 or Level 2 ESB. The level will be listed in the Letter of Certification and on the ESB Directory. ESB levels are based upon evaluation of the firm's size. Level 1 ESB firms may be eligible for additional benefits or support because of their smaller size.

  • Level 1 Construction: Less than $3 million in average annual gross receipts;
  • Level 1 Consultants: Less than $1 million in average annual gross receipts;
  • Level 2: All others.
Annual Renewal
ESB firms are required to renew their certification each year. A renewal application must be completed in CDOT’s online application portal by the anniversary date of the firm’s certification. Firms that do not complete a renewal application by their anniversary date will have their certification revoked and will be given 15 calendar days to appeal this decision. If no appeal is submitted, the firm will be removed from the Colorado UCP ESB Directory and must wait 12 months before reapplying for certification with CDOT.

Contact Information
Click here for a list of CDOT contacts that can help answer questions or provide additional information about the DBE Program and certification.