In response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Chicago has joined the State of Illinois in issuing a Stay at Home order effective Saturday, March 21st at 5pm CT. In addition, City of Chicago facilities are closed to the public. Staff are prioritizing essential services to protect the health and safety of our residents and employees. As such, we may be delayed in responding to non-essential inquiries and service requests. To stay up to date on the City of Chicago’s COVID-19 response, please click here.
The City of Chicago VBE certification can be awarded to small and local business that are owned and operated by veterans who have been generally or honorably discharged. To take advantage of City of Chicago veteran programs/incentives, veteran-owned businesses must be VBE certified by the City of Chicago.
Existing Certified Firms: Email email@example.com to receive an online request through the Certification & Compliance (C2) system. At that time you will be required to upload a letter on company letterhead and supporting documentation including the DD-214 and/or DD-215 forms.
Ownership: At least 51% of the business entity must be owned by one or more veterans.
Independence: Must demonstrate the ability to independently perform in the firms’ area of specialty/expertise without substantial reliance upon non-minority or non-women business enterprises.
Control: Must exercise majority control over the management and daily business operations of the firm in the specialty area (s) the firm is applying.
Expertise: Must demonstrate prior experience and expertise in the desired specialty area (i.e. training, licenses, certifications or academic credentials).
Location: Must be located in the Illinois counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Will, Lake, McHenry
Size: Firm’s gross receipts must not exceed the maximum dollar threshold value and must meet other U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards.
Does the City have goals on VBE? How can I use this certification?
No. The City is in the process of taking first steps in determining potential goals for VBE certification. DPS provides programs and incentives for utilizing veterans. The Veteran’s Preference Bid Incentive provides a 5% bid incentive to small, local veteran businesses or joint ventures between small local businesses and veteran-owned businesses. Additionally, there is a bid incentive for up to 2% for utilization of veteran-owned construction subcontractors.
What are the processing times?
New certification applications will take an average of 90-120 days to process upon receipt of all required application documents. For existing certified firms, the addition of the VBE certification will be processed within 30 days or less.
Will I receive a certification letter listing all of my certifications?
Yes. Once processed and approved, the certified firm will receive a letter listing all applicable certifications. For firms with existing certifications, once VBE documentation is received and approved, a new letter will be issued that will include the new VBE certification as well as all previous certifications. To maximize efficiency, the VBE certification end date will align with any previous certifications so that renewal dates are the same and a single application can be submitted for recertification.
Is there reciprocity for the VBE certification with Cook County?
No. The City of Chicago certification program has geographic boundaries. The program is limited to the 6 regional counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Will, Lake, and McHenry.
Is there a fee?
For a new VBE certification, yes. The fee is $250 for a 5-year certification. If you are applying as a disabled veteran for the BEPD certification, there is no fee required. For existing certified firms who are adding VBE certification, there is no fee until recertification.