CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) today hosted an educational workshop and networking event at Malcolm X College on behalf of the administration of Governor Pat Quinn. The event was designed to connect business owners with other professionals and to raise awareness about opportunities to participate in state contracts. One of a series of ongoing events around the state, it is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to create jobs and ensure a level playing field for all contractors in Illinois.
The event was hosted by CMS’s Business Enterprise Program (BEP), which promotes economic development through its certification program for small and diverse businesses and veteran-owned businesses across the state.
“Today’s networking event provided an excellent opportunity for business owners and professionals from all industries to gain insight and access to key information about doing business with the state of Illinois,” Acting CMS Director Simone McNeil said. “We encourage business owners across Illinois to take advantage of these informational workshops and networking opportunities that can lay the foundation for successful partnerships with the state.”
The event was also supported by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and a number of state and local public officials, including: Sen. Mattie Hunter, Rep. Kenneth Dunkin, Rep. Arthur Turner, Rep. La Shawn Ford, Sen. Patricia Van Pelt, Rep. Derrick Smith, Ald. Walter Burnett, Ald. Robert Fioretti, and Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele.
The workshop included information about the business certification process, contracting, loan programs, the prompt vendor payment program and resources that provide one-on-one guidance to business owners.
The state of Illinois has been making steady progress in creating opportunities for a diverse array of businesses to participate in contracting opportunities with the state. In Fiscal Year 2013, BEP vendors achieved more than $320 million in contracts, or more than 31.1 percent of the total contact dollars subject to the BEP goal. This exceeded the target of 20 percent set in the state’s BEP law by more than 11 percentage points.
The BEP program works to assist businesses owned by minorities, women and persons with disabilities participate in contracting opportunities with the state. BEP now also administers the Veterans Business Program (VBP), which provides opportunities for veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned small business owners to compete for state contracts. To learn more about the BEP program, visit: http://cms.illinois.gov