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Certification Overview

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.

Requirements

The Business Enterprise Program Certification division certifies minority, women, and persons with disabilities owned businesses that:

  • 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 $75 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 maximizing 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.

Three Certification Types

All Certification applications must be completed via the BEP Certification Portal by selecting the Apply for BEP and/or VBP Certification option. 

Full BEP Certification

Certification is valid for 7 years for MBE/WMBE/WBE/PBE and for 5 years for VOSB/SDVOSB.  No Change Affidavits, must be submitted by certified vendors annually in order to maintain certification status with BEP. Please see the Certification Application Checklist for a list of required documentation. On average it takes the BEP Certification Unit 60 days to make a determination after a vendor submits a complete application with all required documentation.

FastTrack Certification

A FastTrack Certification is only valid for one year. It is a streamlined certification process which allows vendors to apply for BEP certification by submitting proof of certification from a FastTrack partner identified below and a signed and notarized BEP/VBP application affidavit to the BEP Certification Unit for review and approval. FastTrack application processing time is 7 business days.

FastTrack Partners:

Recognition Certification

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 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.

Host Agencies:

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.

Renewal of FastTrack & Recognition Certification

The FastTrack and 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.