CHICAGO – Determined to give minority and women-owned businesses more opportunities to supply goods and services to the state, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed Senate Bill 2961, extending the Business Enterprise Program (BEP) until 2008.
Under BEP, 54 state agencies and nine state universities have a goal of allocating at least 19 percent of their purchasing contracts to qualified businesses that are at least 51 percent owned or controlled by a minority, woman or person with a disability. As of June 2004, the state has certified more than 2,600 vendors. An average of $357 million in state contracts have been awarded to BEP vendors over the last three fiscal years.
“By extending the Business Enterprise Program, we are continuing to encourage state agencies and certified minority vendors to work together to make this process as inclusive as it can be,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Emil Jones (D-Chicago) and Rep. Ruth Munson (R-Elgin)
“The Business Enterprise Program has provided opportunities in the past for minority-owned businesses,” said Sen. Jones. “The extension of the Act continues to open doors and sends a clear message to businesses owned by minorities, women and the disabled that we will continue to invest in their products and services.”
SB 2961 takes effect immediately.