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Illinois BEP program to adjust formula for determining availability
Published on 02/17/2021

The Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) Business Enterprise Program (BEP) has announced a change to its formula used for setting diversity contracting goals for state agencies. The new formula is expected to result in a finding of greater availability of diverse businesses and hence a raising of the relevant participation goals.

In the past, CMS used a formula for determining BEP availability for the purposes of goal-setting which was similar to the federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program's model. Under this model, CMS counted BEP-certified vendors against the Dun & Bradstreet Hoovers business directory, a longstanding directory which includes hundreds of millions of businesses. The subset of businesses in this directory that CMS counted BEP vendors against contained over one million businesses in the relevant area.

The new methodology adopted by CMS, rather than using the Dun & Bradstreet Hoovers directory, will instead use the pool of only those vendors already registered in the State's BidBuy e-procurement system, which includes roughly 20,000 total vendors. Since the BEP availability formula divides BEP vendors versus the total registered vendors, this finding will almost certainly allow CMS to set higher participation goals for BEP vendors on State contracts.

The state is encouraging eligible businesses to register themselves as BEP vendors through the state's BidBuy portal (https://www.bidbuy.illinois.gov/bso/) in order to allow for their presence to be counted to the greatest effect in the new formula.

 "This new goal setting methodology is just the start of things to come from BEP. We are consistently working to [...] make significant economic impact for minorities, women and people living with disabilities," said Arielle Johnson, Deputy Director of the Business Enterprise Program.

Read the State's press release at https://www2.illinois.gov/Pages/news-item.aspx?ReleaseID=22787.

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