|BEP Program: Compliance and its importance
The State of Illinois has developed and promotes a Business Enterprise Program (BEP) that encourages State agencies, such as IMSA, to provide opportunities to promote and encourage the continuing economic development of minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned and disadvantaged-owned business. A BEP Council whose members are comprised of individuals appointed by the Governor or are current diversity business owners. The BEP Council oversees the BEP program.
An aspirational goal of 20% is assigned to each State agency meaning 20% of our viable purchasing spend should be spent with one or more of these diverse classifications of vendors. There are certain purchases that are exempt from this spending goal. Items like salaries, benefits, electricity, water, gas, employee reimbursement, etc are all exempt from the goal. In addition, in past years IMSA has requested additional purchasing exemptions for things like: items purchased from State Master Contracts; Sole Source purchases; Proprietary items; existing contracts with vendors, etc.
Unfortunately, the BEP council has decided for FY20 that we will no longer be able to claim exemption from these purchases. Why is this important? Because this means that our dollar spend goal (not %) is increased significantly. While we have asked the Council for a reconsideration of this action no determination of our request has been made at this time. Thus, it is very critical that we work collaboratively to demonstrate our efforts at reaching out to BEP vendors as inclusion of our purchasing process. Certainly at the $1,000 spend level or greater we should be mindful to ensure inclusion of BEP vendors in our quote/purchasing process. Saving documentation of your efforts to your Procurement Case folder located in the IMSA Global ‘I’ drive is important.
While working with BEP vendors is important, should you not be able to identify a BEP vendor to work with for your purchase, it is important as well to partner with Small Business (SBSP) vendors. IMSA has a 10% goal to purchase from Small Business vendors.
As you seek out vendors to conduct business with, BEP vendors offer great opportunity to us and become important partners in our business relationships. If you have difficulty finding a BEP or SBSP vendor to seek quotes from, please contact me for assistance.