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State of Illinois announces nearly $1 million for Procurement Technical Assistance Centers

Rosa Gaytan, administrative assistant to State Rep. Lisa Hernandez, addresses attendees. Seated are (from left) Pedro Pineda from the Illinois Central Management Office (CMS)., Manuel Lopez, Regional Economic Development Manager of the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, and Joe McKeown from “Team RED." Photo courtesy of the Town of Cicero

State of Illinois announces nearly $1 million for Procurement Technical Assistance Centers

Funds will Enable Businesses Throughout Illinois to Identify, Compete for, and Win Government Contracts – Deadline to Apply is July 10, 2020

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) today announced a new grant opportunity for the renewal or establishment of new Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) – a statewide network focused on matching small business with governmental entities seeking goods and services that the businesses offer.

Through a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) released today, the State will make up to $816,000 available in federal and state funds for new or existing community-based PTACs to offer continued support in helping small businesses become certified so they can identify and obtain contracts with local government and their contractors.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

“PTACs are another powerful tool we have to support the growth of Illinois’ small businesses by helping them bid on and land government contracts,” said Michael Negron, Assistant Director of DCEO. “Our PTACs are doing critical work in strengthening our communities and rebuilding the state by connecting hundreds of our small business to serve as vendors on state, local and federal contracts.”

The Illinois PTACs are the portal for small businesses looking to enter the world of government contracting. These centers provide one-on-one counseling, technical information, market research and training to existing businesses interested in selling their goods and services to local, state, and/or federal government agencies. The Illinois PTAC collaborates with Department of Defense (DoD) and other Federal, State, and local agencies working cooperatively with them to accomplish the mission of this program.

PTACs play a critical role in helping small businesses apply for lucrative government contracts. In fact, Illinois businesses won nearly 800 government contracts – worth over $1.1 billion in FY 2019, with the help of the Illinois PTAC program, while creating 489 and saving 693 jobs. The matching grant will allow current and proposed new centers to provide technical assistance through the employment of professional, experienced advisors and may cover costs associated with salary, fringe benefits, facility and indirect costs associated with the PTAC.

“Access to government contracts is very important for the growth of minority owned companies in our state. Having an Illinois PTAC at IHCC is crucial for the development of our business community,” said Angie Alonso, Director of Illinois PTAC at IL Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

The Illinois PTAC program has served as a statewide resource for businesses to obtain procurement technical assistance services for the over 35 years. There are currently cooperative agreements with 7 host organizations that serve the entire state. These local centers provide procurement technical assistance at 9 physical locations.

To help more minority- and women-owned businesses become certified for government work, PTACs provide one-on-one guidance and training on the local, state, and federal minority and women business certification programs.

“For firms interested in competing in the government market, Illinois PTACs provide the education, tools, research and support necessary for them to enhance their capacity and ability to successfully compete, “ said Emilia DiMenco, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Women’s Business Development Center, who operates an Illinois PTAC at their center.

In addition to guidance on certification, PTACs host focused outreach events and collaboration with other state and federal agency efforts targeting these special groups. PTACs make a concerted effort to seek out and assist small business concerns, Small Disadvantaged Businesses concerns (SDB), Women-Owned Small Businesses concerns (WOSB), HUBZone small business concerns, and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business concerns (SDVOSB), historically black colleges or universities and Minority Institutions (HCBCU/MIs).

Eligible applicants will include qualified Illinois universities, colleges, chambers of commerce and other non-profit business development related organizations that are interested in hosting and operating an Illinois PTAC. All eligible organizations interested in becoming an Illinois PTAC are invited to submit an application to the NOFO, found HERE.

For interested applicants, an optional Technical Assistance Informational meeting will take place on June 17, 2020 at 10 AM Please register by clicking the following link: Join meeting. The meeting number (access code) is: 285 495 267; meeting password: anHXKgFQ553; for call-in: 1-312-535-8110.