CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn joined state officials today to promote equal economic opportunity programs available for businesses and to encourage diversity in state government contracting. More than 500 people attended the Illinois Department of Central Management Services’ (CMS) Business Diversity Summit, where Acting Director Malcolm Weems and experts from state government highlighted vendor certification processes and support services offered by CMS and other state and federal agencies. Officials discussed programs for small businesses, and businesses owned by minorities, women and persons with disabilities, and underscored procurement rules regarding veterans’ preference in contracting and hiring at the state.
“One of our top priorities is to continue increasing diversity in our business practices and contracts, and create greater awareness of state government programs from which businesses can benefit,” said Governor Quinn. “The Business Diversity Summit offers a one-stop resource for companies to learn how to do business with the state, and gives us an opportunity to share important details that can help small and diverse entities grow, retain and create jobs and continue to drive our economy.”
Representatives from fourteen state agencies, several federal and local government agencies, and business and not-for-profit groups participated in the Business Diversity Summit at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Hermann Hall. Following a presentation by CMS, attendees met with government officials and current state vendors during a networking session.
“By providing access to our staff members and representatives of relevant government entities and business groups, we can foster more dialogue with companies and entrepreneurs,” said Acting Director Weems. “The goal is to help us better understand the changing needs of the business community.”
Participating entities included: the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the Capital Development Board (CDB), the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS), the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA), the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), the City Colleges of Chicago, the Illinois Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDC).
Demonstrating the agency’s commitment to accountability, efficiency and service, Acting Director Weems also announced the launch of the new CMS web site, which is focused on enabling better feedback from stakeholders, including state agencies, employees, local governments and the public. More information about the Business Diversity Summit and CMS is available at www.cms.illinois.gov.