EAST ST. LOUIS – The administration of Gov. Pat Quinn will host an educational workshop and business networking event geared toward small and diverse entrepreneurs this month at the East St. Louis campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
The goal is to connect business owners with like-minded professionals and raise awareness about opportunities to participate in state contracts. The workshop is one of a series of ongoing events around the state.
The event will be hosted by the Department of Central Management Services’ (CMS) Business Enterprise Program (BEP), which promotes economic development through its certification program for small and diverse businesses and veteran-owned businesses, along with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
The workshop from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17, in Building D, Room 1007, at 601 James R. Thompson Blvd., is open to the public at no cost. The agenda includes information about how to become certified to do business with the state; the state contracting process; financing options, tax incentives and financial assistance for training; the vendor payment program; and opportunities for one-on-one guidance to business owners.
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 goal 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 people with disabilities participate in contracting opportunities with the state. BEP also administers the Veterans Business Program, 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.