The Illinois Department of Innovation & Technology (DoIT) announced today it will be providing an opportunity for traditionally underrepresented minority-owned businesses in the IT/Telecom industry to become vendors for the state. The department will issue a Project/Resource Sheltered Market (PRSM) solicitation in the coming weeks. The PRSM program offers minority, women and persons with disabilities owned businesses in the IT/Telecom industry the opportunity to bid on State projects, with the goal of increasing supplier diversity in Illinois. Businesses interested in responding to the solicitation must be Business Enterprise Program (BEP) certified in order to participate. The upcoming PRSM will be the third solicitation developed in response to the Sheltered Market Report conducted by the Business Enterprise Council in 2013. The report found significant disparities in the State of Illinois’ contracting with minority and women business enterprises in the IT/Telecom industry. Participation in sheltered market solicitations is limited to entities certified by the Illinois Department of Central Management’s (CMS) BEP program. PRSM is targeted toward BEP-certified vendors when there is a resource needed for a specific and well-defined project. An Invitation for Bid (IFB) will be issued to prequalified PRSM vendors, who are able to bid for projects that fall into the following IT skills categories IT Planning Services, Information Security Services, Software/Application Development Services among others. Minority IT/Telecom suppliers wanting to work with the State of Illinois through PRSM, who are not currently BEP certified, should contact CMS’ BEP office at 312-814-4190 or via email at BEP.CMS@illinois.gov to obtain information on certification. DoIT anticipates PRSM will be published in the coming weeks. DoIT is encouraging vendors who intend to submit offers for the upcoming solicitation to register now in the Illinois Procurement Gateway (https://ipg.vendorreg.com/) and the Illinois Procurement Bulletin (BidBuy) (https://www.bidbuy.illinois.gov/bso/login.sdo). To submit bids, vendors must also have a current Department of Human Rights Employer Eligibility Number. Taking these steps will help to ensure that vendors are ready and have completed some of the required paperwork in advance of the solicitation posting.