Legislative Wrap Up 2011: 10% of State Contracts Now Designated to Small Businesses

As a result of strong advocacy efforts by the Small Business Advocacy Council (SBAC), HB 3186 was signed into law this past session setting a goal of 10% of all state procurement contracts to be issued to small businesses. The legislation was sponsored by State Representative LaShawn Ford and State Senator Maddie Hunter.

State Representative LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago) convened the Illinois House Small Business Committee in October of this year to share current data on small business contracts and address implementation and compliance with the 10% goal. SBAC lobbyist Dan Johnson, who requested the hearing, noted that convening a hearing on legislation after it becomes law is rather unusual,
but was necessary to ensure that obstacles and challenges are identified and addressed.

It was noted at the hearing that small businesses only attain 2% of state procurement contracts. And while small businesses number over one million statewide, about 6,000 small businesses are registered with the state, and only 2,100 small businesses are active vendors. Major challenges for small businesses in obtaining state contracts include lack of capital and resources to complete work, as well as lack of education in navigating a complicated and cumbersome registration and bid process.

Many positive suggestions arose out of the hearing to streamline the process and encourage more small businesses to participate. At Representative Ford’s request, Dan Johnson will draft many of these suggestions into legislation to be introduced in the next session. Tune in to the SBAC blog and Legislative E-Newsletter to learn more once the legislation is introduced!

For more resources or to register with the state to become a certified vendor, check out the CMS web site at http://www2.illinois.gov/cms/business/sell2/Pages/default.aspx.

Are you a registered vendor with the State of Illinois and have a story to share about the procurement process? Post your comment below!