Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevichâs office recently announced that more Illinois small businesses received state contracts in 2005 thanks to the recent expansion of the stateâs Small Business Set Aside Program. A record $16 million in set-aside contracts were awarded to Illinois small businesses last year, a full 165% increase over the 2004 total.
âEntrepreneurs are the backbone of our economy. But for too long, small businesses lost out on the opportunity to provide services and goods to the state because their size and lack of resources in comparison to bigger companies left them unable to compete. Weâve worked to turn that around, and now, more entrepreneurs in Illinois than ever before are not only competing for state business but winning state contracts,â? Governor Blagojevich said.
Last year the Administration expanded the number of contracts set aside for small firms, the number of contracts awarded to small businesses and the number of small firms eligible to compete in the Small Business Set Aside (SBSA) program. Further, a statewide educational outreach effort including dozens of workshops for small and diverse businesses led to a significant jump in SBSA-registered firms: the number of small businesses registered in the program increased by 57%, to nearly 3,100, in 2005.
In addition, nearly half of the contracts awarded under the SBSA program are won by diverse firms â those certified by the Stateâs Business Enterprise Program (BEP) as being owned by minorities, women, or persons with disabilities. Taken together, these statistics are evidence that the Stateâs programs are expanding opportunities for entrepreneurs.