The State of Illinois Business Enterprise Program (BEP), demonstrates the State’s continued commitment to opportunity and inclusion of minority-owned, women-owned, and persons with disabilities-owned businesses by offering certification opportunities to M/W/PBE firms.
The Business Enterprise Program Certification division certifies minority, women, and persons with disabilities owned businesses that meet the following requirements:
- Have at least 51% ownership by a minority, woman, or person with a disability
- Have at least 51% of their business controlled by one or more minority groups, women, or persons with a disability
- The owner must be a citizen of the United States or a legal permanent resident alien
- Have annual gross sales of less than $150 million
Benefits of Becoming Certified with the State of Illinois
Certification benefits include: being listed in a public online directory used by State Procurement Officials and prime vendors promotes visibility thereby increasing the opportunity for bidding on State contracts with BEP goals; it is recognized by other municipalities and organizations to meet their supplier diversity initiatives; and it’s FREE!!!
NOTE: Applicants do not have to be certified with the Business Enterprise Program to bid on state contracts. You must register with the proper state procurement bulletin boards. Vendors should also register with BidBuy to receive bid notifications.
All Certification applications must be completed via the BEP Certification Portal by selecting the Apply for BEP and/or VBP Certification option.
How to Apply
Full BEP Certification
Full BEP Certification is valid for 7 years for MBE/WMBE/WBE/PBE and for 5 years for VOSB/SDVOSB. Each year vendors must file No Change Affidavits, to maintain their certification. Typically it takes the BEP Certification Unit 60 days to make a determination after a vendor submits a complete application with all required documentation.
Please see the Certification Application Checklist for a list of required documentation.
Renewal of Full BEP Certification
The BEP Certification Portal will send three renewal notices 90 days, 60 days and 30 days before the BEP certification expires.
The Annual No Change Affidavit (NCA Renewal) process only applies to vendors that have submitted a Full Certification in the prior year. A No Change Affidavit allows a vendor to attest that there were no changes in the following: ownership, control, management, and gross sales of the business. All BEP certified vendors must update the company’s information (if necessary) and submit a signed and notarized No Change Affidavit along with a current business license and current tax return to the BEP Certification Unit for review and approval.
BEP allows vendors to request recognition of their certification from one of the state’s partners. Below you will find the different recognition certification programs available. The application process for these programs has been significantly scaled-down from the full certification process.
BE Enrolled Business Enterprise Certification Program
The Commission on Equity and Inclusion is pleased to offer businesses certified with the City of Chicago and/or Cook County activation of their state certification through the new BE Enrolled Business Enterprise Certification Program (BE BEP). The BE BEP Certification Program allows for seamless activation into the State of Illinois BEP certification program while reducing duplicative red tape.
CEI will activate the vendor’s BE BEP certification based on the diversity certification issued by their initial host agency. The NAICS codes provided by the host agency, will be translated using CEI's Translation table NAICs Codes to National Institute of Government Purchasing (NIGP) commodity codes, which are used by the State of Illinois.
Businesses must maintain their certification and comply with the rules of their initial host agency to remain active in the BE BEP Program. The duration and commodity codes for the newly activated BEP certification will match the existing certification held with the City of Chicago and/or Cook County. Businesses can opt-out of the BE BEP Program by sending an e-mail to CEI.BEP.Certification@illinois.gov requesting be removed from the CEI BEP Diversity Management System directory.
If the host agency’s certification expires or bidding privileges are suspended by the host agency, then the BE BEP Certification will also expire or be suspended. BEP will notify vendors through email to update their BE BEP Certification 90 days prior to the expiration of both their host agency’s certification and BE BEP Certification.
Vendors must notify BEP within two weeks if any of the following changes occur:
- Changes in ownership.
- Changes in who controls of the business; or
- Changes in the business' certification status with your host organization.
Businesses certified through the BE BEP program shall have their business name listed in the State’s BEP Certified Vendor Directory, which is used by prime vendors to identify certified M/W/PBE who can fulfill the state’s minority contracting goals.
Renewal of BE BEP Certification
The BEP Certification is dependent on the host agency’s certification. Renewal is therefore predicated on vendors renewing with their host agency. BEP shall send emails to vendors via the BEP Diversity Compliance Portal three times. Renewal notices will be emailed 90 days, 60 days and 30 days before the BE BEP certification expires.
A FastTrack Certification allows vendors who were certified by one of the partner organizations listed below to apply for BEP Certification. Vendors must submit proof of certification from a FastTrack and a signed and notarized BEP/VBP application affidavit to the BEP Certification Unit for review and approval. Typically it takes the BEP Certification Unit FastTrack 7 business days to process and application. FastTrack Certification is valid for one year.
Renewal of FastTrack Certification
The FastTrack Certifications are only valid for one year. Renewal with one’s host agency does not automatically renew your BEP certification. To renew, vendors must complete the certification process again by submitting the required documentation mentioned above.
Transportation Recognition Certification (TRC)
The Transportation Recognition Certification is valid for one year. It is a scaled-down version of the Full Certification process with condensed documentation requirements. Vendors are required to complete an online application as well as provide a signed and notarized BEP/VBP application affidavit, proof of certification from any of the host agencies listed below, a current business license and current tax return to the BEP Certification Unit for review and approval. A host agency is the certifying entity with whom the applicant currently has an approved certification. The Recognition Certification application processing time is approximately 15 to 30 business days. The Transportation Recognition Certification is valid for one year
A Recognition Certification is only valid for one year. It is a scaled-down version of the Full Certification process with condensed documentation requirements. Vendors are required to complete an online application as well as provide a signed and notarized BEP/VBP application affidavit, proof of certification from any of the host agencies.
Renewal Transportation Recognition Certification
The Transportation Recognition Certifications are only valid for one year. Renewal with one’s host agency does not automatically renew your BEP certification. To renew, vendors must complete the certification process again by submitting the required documentation mentioned above.
Veteran Affairs Recognition Certification
United States Department of Veteran Affairs Center for Verification & Evaluations (CVE) VOSB/SDVOSB. Veteran Business Enterprises must be an authorized business registered within and home office located in the State of Illinois ONLY.
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