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Northeastern Illinois University Exceeds Goals for its Business Enterprise Program

Northeastern Illinois University Exceeds Goals for its Business Enterprise Program


CHICAGO, March 21, 2023 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/– Access—all deserve it, yet too many barriers still prevent equitable access in the workforce. The Business in Enterprise Program (BEP), created by the state of Illinois in 1994 to promote the economic development of underrepresented businesses owned by minorities, women, and persons with disabilities, bridges this gap by ensuring fair access and equitable opportunities.

Northeastern Illinois University

As a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), Northeastern Illinois University believes in a diverse student body and the importance of diversity among the vendors they utilize to provide goods and services to the institution.

” The university supports breaking down barriers and increasing opportunities for underrepresented vendors,” said Vicky Santiago, whose responsibility as the Director of Procurement Services and the University’s BEP Liaison is to ensure that the procurement processes and procedures are followed in order to maximize BEP participation in NEIU contracting. 

Under the purview of the Commission on Equity and Inclusion, BEP requires state agencies and public universities to conduct a certain percentage of business with BEP vendors. NEIU’s commitment to the program surpassed goals. In the fiscal year 2022, Northeastern Illinois University exceeded their BEP goal by almost 16%. The University was able to surpass their goals because of the Procurement Office’s continued efforts to reach out to registered BEP firms to provide contracting opportunities through Invitations for Bids, Requests for Proposals and Qualifications Based Selection solicitations that include a 30% BEP goal, where feasible. 

Manish Kumar, Vice President for Finance and Administration at NEIU, supported the procurement office in initiating and implementing an eProcurement process to increase efficiency and compliance in business transactions which increased NEIU’s capacity to participate in the Business Enterprise Program.

“I am a firm believer that all higher educational institutions, particularly universities, should strive to build a community of individuals with diverse backgrounds and life experiences, free of discrimination based on racial and ethnic origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, social economic status or religious belief,” said Kumar. “Our University’s BEP goals reflect that.”

NEIU also reaches out to current vendors to encourage registration in the BEP program and provides in-house training to NEIU personnel on how to search for vendors in the BEP database. In their commitment to exploring additional opportunities where they can engage BEP vendors for future projects, the Purchasing Office often helps new and existing vendors register for the Business Enterprise Program by providing information about the program, sharing the registration link and explaining the benefits of being registered in the Program. 

“Diverse vendors provide goods and services through a different lens that benefits the university and ultimately benefits the students,” said Santiago. “Northeastern’s board of trustees and administration take the commitment to award contracts to diverse vendors very seriously.”


Northeastern Illinois University offers more than 40 undergraduate degree and certificate programs and more than 50 graduate degree, certificate, licensure and endorsement programs. The Main Campus is located on 67 acres in an attractive residential area on the Northwest Side of Chicago. The University has additional locations in the metropolitan area, including the Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, El Centro and the University Center of Lake County.

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SOURCE Northeastern Illinois University

Northeastern Illinois University Exceeds Goals for its Business Enterprise Program