The Greening of Cook County
The Cook County Office of the Chief Procurement Officer, in partnership with the City of Chicago Department of Procurement Services, will host the 2013 Vendor Fair this coming Monday, June 24, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the UIC Forum in Chicago, IL. More than 50 separate Chicago and Cook County exhibitors will participate in the fair to provide information to a wide number of firms on contracting opportunities. At previous events, more 1,000 attendees representing hundreds of companies, suppliers and manufacturers gathered information on hundreds of projects of all sizes and dollar amounts. “These contracting opportunities are expected to create thousands of jobs for companies doing business with Chicago and Cook County,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Receiving details in advance can help small businesses consider the possibility of being a prime contractor or teaming up with firms to joint venture or serve as subcontractors on larger contracts.” “The 2013 Vendor Fair offers a unique opportunity for Cook County and Chicago to provide information to companies interested in doing business with local government,” President Preckwinkle said. “It also allows businesses to network with other firms seeking government work. Cook County is happy to partner with the City of Chicago to bring opportunities to the local business community, particularly in these challenging economic times.” In addition to the government agencies, numerous trade associations, chambers of commerce and business groups will participate in the event at Malcolm X College to encourage greater networking of firms of all sizes. This event ensures continued fairness and transparency of the procurement process by having staff available to answer questions regarding upcoming opportunities. This announcement is the latest in a series of efforts made by Mayor Emanuel to increase opportunity for small businesses and MBEs/WBEs. Additional announcements have included the MBE/WBE Mentorship Program, Diversity Business Initiative, the Small Business Initiative, and the Graduation Phase-out Program for MBEs/WBEs. The mentor/protégé program is designed to foster improved economic opportunity for MBE and WBE businesses throughout Chicago by offering up to five percentage points of MBE or WBE credit for contractors that agree to take on a mentor/protégé relationship with an MBE or WBE firm. The Graduation Phase-out Program allows M/WBEs that have exceeded the program’s size standards to continue to participate for a period of three years to gradually exit the program, with 75 percent credit allowed in year one, 50 percent in year two, and 25 percent in year three. The Small Business Initiative encourages small businesses to participate in City funded construction projects. The program is exclusive to small businesses and is limited to construction projects that are under $3 million in total cost. The Diversity Credit Program allows private sector firms who also bid on public work to obtain up to five percent M/WBE utilization credit on a City contract for work performed by a certified firm on one or more of the prime’s private sector contracts.