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State offers small and emerging businesses 'Get Ready for Prime Time' conference          Send a link to a friend

[APRIL 1, 2005]  SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Timothy W. Martin announced Tuesday an upcoming conference to provide new and emerging business owners -- particularly small, female-owned and minority-owned businesses -- a chance to get information on doing business with the state of Illinois. The "Get Ready for Prime Time" conference, hosted by the Department of Transportation on April 5, provides a unique networking opportunity for startup businesses to meet with prime contractors and find out what they look for when they need a subcontractor.

"One of the top priorities of my administration is creating jobs," Gov. Blagojevich said. "Small businesses are the backbone of the Illinois economy, and we have to get them the information they need to be successful. By hosting this conference, IDOT is helping to do just that -- provide startup business owners the technical assistance they need to 'Get Ready for Prime Time.'"

The "Get Ready for Prime Time" conference is primarily directed toward the category of disadvantaged business enterprises, which typically are small, minority-owned and woman-owned businesses. However, the conference is open to any companies interested in working with the Department of Transportation or other branches of state government and related entities.

"We are committed to diversity, not just in our workplace, but on our jobsites," Martin said. "We are working with communities to get the resources in place that small businesses need, and this is just one of the ways we are trying to do it. We have opened a one-stop shop in Chicago and will soon open another in the Metro East area, and we continue to push our prime contractors to meet our goals of minority participation on each and every job."

The conference will offer information on a variety of topics that will assist small businesses, including workshops on financing, bonding, getting work as a subcontractor, how to find work and using technology to access state government. It will conclude with a roundtable forum, "Ask the Expert," featuring participants from throughout the Department of Transportation.

The "Get Ready for Prime Time" disadvantaged business enterprises conference will be at the Renaissance Hotel in Springfield on Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Registration is free and begins at 8 a.m. the day of the conference.

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"As a small-business owner, working with IDOT technical experts has been a tremendous asset for me to get my company off the ground and on the road to success," said LaJobie Mosley, owner of Mosley Construction. "Working with IDOT experts is opening doors for my business, giving me the information I need to make my company competitive."

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there were approximately 969,700 small businesses in Illinois as of 2003. Of those, 27.2 percent were owned by women, generating $44.3 billion in revenue. Minorities owned 21.5 percent of these companies, generating 90 percent of the total revenue from minority-owned business in the state.

Some of the items and services IDOT and the rest of state government seek bids on are road and bridge construction and improvement, airport construction and improvement, consultant engineering services, land surveying, land acquisition appraisals, negotiations and relocations, landscaping, heavy material hauling, public relations, training, auditing, information technology, technical writing, vehicles, heavy construction equipment, mowing tractors, power tools, generators, materials testing equipment, surveying equipment, ice melting compounds, signposts, sign-making materials, traffic-marking paints, safety apparel, office supplies, janitorial supplies, hand tools, repair parts, hardware, building maintenance and repair, grounds maintenance, equipment repair, guardrail and fence repair, traffic signal and highway lighting maintenance, advertising services, and equipment rental.

[News release from the governor's office]

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