- Expand opportunities for minority business owners to secure state contracts by increasing the use of sheltered markets, expanding the range of contracts subject to the Business Enterprise Program, increasing the M/WBE aspirational goal to 30%, unbundling contracts, and adding metrics to the procurement scoring process that benefit firms that meet diversity benchmarks in both their public and private sector work.
- Drastically increase M/WBE participation in the state’s procurement of professional services, including but not limited to legal, financial, and accounting services.
- Create a new cabinet-level position responsible for fostering diversity, economic inclusion, and accountability throughout the procurement process and executive agencies.
INCREASE ACCESS TO CAPITAL
- Create new loan programs to ensure that minority business owners have the resources, working capital, and bridge financing they need to expand their businesses and compete for state contracts.
MINORITY AND WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESS (M/WBE)-FOCUSED BUSINESS ACCELERATORS
- Establish M/WBE-focused accelerators in communities across the state that provide entrepreneurs with access to targeted resources & services, mentorship, technical assistance, bridge financing, and investment capital. The purposes of these accelerators are to foster M/WBE startups, to help existing M/WBE small businesses grow, and to help promote M/WBE procurement subcontractors to become prime vendors.
DIVERSIFY THE PIPELINE OF WORKERS EMPLOYED BY UNION AND NON-UNION BUILDING TRADES AND CONTRACTORS
- Establish state-funded career readiness and pre-apprenticeship programs targeting disadvantaged communities.
- Utilize bid credits at the Capital Development Board and the Illinois Department of Transportation to reward firms that employ minority and female workers.
- Foster greater employment opportunities for women and minority workers by promoting the use of Project Labor Agreements.
ENSURE COMMUNITIES OF COLOR SHARE IN THE ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION
- Create a Cannabis Equity Program that promotes black and brown entrepreneurs in the ownership and licensing of new marijuana dispensaries and offers fee waivers, technical assistance, and subsidized loans to equity applicants.
- Allow individuals with misdemeanor marijuana convictions to expunge records and qualify for DBE small business loans, cannabis permits, and licensing.
INCENTIVIZE JOB CREATION
- Provide tax incentives for businesses that relocate or initiate new businesses in Opportunity Zones and adhere to state diversity targets.
- Expand employment opportunities for disadvantaged youth throughout the state by enhancing the geographic reach of youth employment programs and the number of youth participating across the state.
ACCESS TO FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS
- Partner with banks and financial institutions to provide banking services in public libraries and public spaces in underserved communities.
- Establish rate caps on how much check cashing agencies can charge consumers.
- Provide entrepreneurs with a comprehensive online portal to help them identify and apply for non-predatory business loans.
SMALL BUSINESSES BORROWERS’ BILL OF RIGHTS
- Establish consumer protections for small businesses that will safeguard against predatory lending practices by unscrupulous lenders.
INCREASE HIGH-SPEED CONNECTIVITY
- Build statewide high-speed broadband internet infrastructure to ensure access in underserved communities across Illinois. Broadband will assist startup entrepreneurs and provide easy access to educational resources.