State’s $2 million investment to help small businesses get government contracts
A $2 million government investment to help small businesses better compete for government contracts at the local, state or federal level was announced Monday.
This money, a mix of state and federal funds, will help establish two new Procurement Technical Assistance Centers in Chicago Lawn and Morgan Park — and also support the other seven centers already operating across Illinois.
Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton said investing in small businesses is important — and government investment is vital for them to thrive during a troubled economy.
“With government spending at an all-time high, these Procurement Technical Assistance Centers are essential in helping small businesses to grow and diversify and thereby helping to provide jobs and long-term careers,” Stratton said.
The centers offer free counseling, training and technical support to small-business owners wanting to sell goods or services to the government. It also helps business owners gain proper certification before bidding on government contracts.
Both new centers are in underresourced communities and will assist businesses owned by minorities, women and people with disabilities. The centers will be housed in the Greater Southwest Development Corporation, 2518 W. 63rd St., and the Far South Community Development Corporation, 837 W. 115th St.
The centers “exist to help right an historic wrong where government contracts flowed to connected insiders while leaving behind small and minority-owned businesses,” said Michael Negron, acting director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
Negron said the model is working. Just last year, the centers helped small businesses secure over 800 government contracts valued at over $1.1 billion.
The $2 million investment to the program comes from the state and the U.S. Department of Defense Logistics Agency.
Adrian Soto, executive director of the Greater Southwest Development Corporation, said the partnership with the state will help improve the quality of life on the Southwest Side. Opening the center in their facility will bring “much needed investment and resources” to their community.
The expansion “will not only help the businesses in my district and on the South Side gain better access to government contracts but will also help to heal the economic inequities our Black and Brown businesses and communities face,” said state Rep. Sonya Harper, D-Chicago.
RICHMOND, Va. — Jerry Falwell Jr.’s future at evangelical Liberty University was unclear late Monday, with a senior school official saying he had resigned from his leadership post but Falwell telling several news outlets that he does not plan to leave permanently.
A formal announcement from the school was expected, according to the school official, who spoke with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter. The disclosure of Falwell’s resignation followed the publication of news stories about his wife’s sexual encounters with a much younger business partner.
On Monday night, attorneys for Falwell and the school were negotiating the details of a possible departure, according to a person close to the school’s board of trustees who also spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss it.
But several news outlets quoted Falwell as saying that he has not agreed to leave the post permanently, nor does he plan to.
Falwell, who was already on an indefinite leave of absence, did not return a call from the AP seeking comment.
The uncertainty developed a day after Falwell issued a statement to The Washington Examiner publicly disclosing that his wife had an extramarital affair and saying the man involved had been threatening to reveal the relationship “to deliberately embarrass my wife, family, and Liberty University unless we agreed to pay him substantial monies.”
Falwell said he was seeking mental health counseling after dealing with fallout from the affair, which he said he had no role in.
“Over the course of the last few months this person’s behavior has reached a level that we have decided the only way to stop this predatory behavior is to go public,” the statement said.
But hours before the school official confirmed Falwell’s resignation, Reuters reported that he knew of his wife’s affair and participated in some of the liaisons as a voyeur. The news agency based the information on an interview with Giancarlo Granda, whom it identified as the man involved in the affair.
Falwell, an early and ardent supporter of President Donald Trump, began a leave of absence from the university on Aug. 7 after an uproar sparked by a photo he posted on social media showing him with his pants unzipped, stomach exposed and arm high around the waist of his wife’s pregnant assistant. Falwell has said the photo was taken at a costume party during a family vacation.
Critics of the photo said it was evidence of hypocritical behavior from the leader of a university where students must follow a strict code of conduct.
Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton speaks about the creation of two new Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, one based at the Greater Southwest Development Corporation, 2601 W. 63rd St., where Stratton and others spoke Monday.
Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Acting Director Michael Negron says the procurement centers “help right an historic wrong.”
The Rev. Jerry Falwell Jr. and his wife, Becki, at a town hall in 2018.