The Government Procurement Compliance (GPC) Forum, a strategic partnership of over 30 government agencies and non-profit assist agencies representing small business, hosted the 2018 Vendor Fair drawing over 1,000 participants representing contractors, developers, manufacturers, and suppliers of all sizes and specialties. The GPC was created under the leadership of Mayor Rahm Emanuel in January 2014 to drive bold, cross-agency improvements to make the region a benchmark for procurement, certification, and compliance processes that are streamlined, standardized, equitable and transparent.
“Creating a world-class procurement process starts with collaboration and the GPC Forum is an example of government agencies taking the initiative to make an impact on the City of Chicago and the regional economy,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This is an important step in our larger goal of supporting small businesses and creating a more efficient and accountable government.”
This year’s Vendor Fair included expanded resources for the vendor community. Over 125 exhibitors were featured, comprising government agencies, non-profit assist agencies, veteran organizations, employment and labor organizations, and financial institutions. Additionally, the Vendor Fair included participation by prime contractors and, new this year, private developers to PRIMES/DEVELOPERS Connect, a matchmaking event to encourage networking of prime contractors and developers with small, minority, veteran, women-owned, and businesses owned by people with disabilities. PRIMES/DEVELOPERS Connect is expected to create over 150 one-on-one meetings between local small businesses and the large contractors and developers.
“We continue to look to ways to create economic opportunities for our residents and ensure the vendors who work on City projects reflect the diversity of the City itself,” said Chief Procurement Officer Jamie L. Rhee. “Outreach events like the Vendor Fair ensure continued fairness and transparency of the procurement process and allows attendees to interact with multiple agencies and vendors under one roof. Having that direct access to ask is crucial and helps businesses become empowered to compete for, and earn, City contracts.”
In addition to learning about contracting opportunities with government agencies, attendees had the opportunity to attend workshops comprised of a diverse selection of topics such as: Doing Business with City, State, and Federal Government, Resources for Veterans, Navigating Financial Challenges and Opportunities, and many more.
To help vendors plan ahead, the City issued a special edition Consolidated Buying Plan that includes upcoming contracting opportunities for the City of Chicago as well as 12 additional government purchasing entities including: Chicago Board of Elections, City Colleges of Chicago, Chicago Housing Authority, Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Transit Authority, Public Building Commission, Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, Cook County, Forest Preserves of Cook County, Illinois Tollway, and the State of Illinois.
Outreach events like the Vendor Fair are the latest in a series of efforts made by Mayor Emanuel to maintain transparency and increase opportunity for small, local, minority, women, veteran, and businesses owned and operated by people with disabilities. These initiatives include the MBE/WBE Mentorship Program, Diversity Credit Program, and the Small and Mid-Size Business Initiatives. For more information on all upcoming outreach events and to download the current Buying Plan, visit www.vendorfair.info.