Forbes recently released an article about Randy Hazelton, a young entrepreneur and Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) owner who grew his business from a streetside restaurant in Atlanta to a $50 million enterprise with assistance from the USDOT's ACDBE program.
Hazelton, owner of Atlanta-based H&H Hospitality, got his start in corporate America before opening a storefront in Atlanta that he and partner built from the ground up. After eventually selling the restaurant and moving into airport concessions, H&H now operates franchises in Atlanta, Texas, and Washington D.C. and co-owns more than 20 franchises that include brands like Shake Shack, Boar's Head, Vino Volo, and more. Hazelton attributes some of his success to having a captive audience in air passengers at major airports and he mostly credits the ACDBE program for changing his life and allowing him to grow his business.
The federal DBE/ACDBE program provides disadvantaged businesses like H&H the opportunity to compete in the business marketplace. Certified DBEs and ACDBEs are businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. The program allows DBEs and ACDBEs to receive supportive services and mentorship to help them succeed in the government contracting arena. Public agencies are required to establish utilization goals to provide a specified percentage of federally-funded work to DBEs and ACDBEs. This allows DBEs and ACDBEs to work on government contracts, earn capital, and build capacity. The DBE and ACDBE programs promote equal opportunities for small and diverse businesses and helps level the playing field contributing to economic growth and diversity.
Although the DBE/ACDBE program is fundamental in allowing socially and economically disadvantaged individuals to develop and grow their businesses, the Supreme Court's recent decision to repeal affirmative action in education endangers the expectancy of the DBE/ACDBE program which bears certain structural similarities to affirmative action. Hazelton, in Forbes, is even quoted as saying that disturbing the ACDBE program could lead to "a significant decline in minority- and women-owned participation" in franchising which would undo a large amount of progress achieved through the DBE/ACDBE programs.
Stories like Hazelton's prove the value and impact of the DBE/ACDBE program on disadvantaged business owners and the success that can be achieved through properly utilizing the program's resources. The program creates greater competition in the marketplace which improves the quality of goods and services provided to customers, and it ultimately allows for entrepreneurs to do what they do best—create, innovate, and elevate.
GCAP is a certified DBE with over 25 years of experience in DBE compliance and DBE supportive services. As a small, diverse, and disadvantaged business, we understand the value of the DBE/ACDBE program and the opportunities and resources it provides to minorities and women. To discuss all things DBE/ACDBE, contact our Business Development team at firstname.lastname@example.org.