- Blind and Visually Impaired
Business Enterprise Program
What is the Business Enterprise Program?
The Business Enterprise Program, under the Randolph-Sheppard Act of 1936, is a unique opportunity designed to train and license blind and visually impaired individuals to operate their own food service businesses in government facilities. This opportunity was created and is supported by both state and federal law, which require government agencies to contract with the BEP to provide for food service requirements. After successfully completing the training program, our licensed managers are allowed to bid on various facilities as they come available. A licensed manager is selected from the bid pool by a group of their peers and BEP administrative staff. A contract is then awarded for the business.
These businesses consist of vending routes, gift shops, c-stores, snack bars and cafeterias of varying sizes. The BEP works to obtain a permit with various government entities for a facility. The BEP then contracts directly with the blind manager to operate that facility as a small business owner. The Program provides equipment and the first stock of inventory to get the manager started, and then continues to provide consulting and management services to help the blind manager operate their business successfully.
Who is the BEP for?
The BEP is for individuals who are legally blind, a minimum of 18 years of age, in good physical and mental health, a U.S. citizen and a resident of the State of Utah for at least one year. Good math and cognitive skills are a must, as successful applicants will be overseeing the day to day operations of their own business. To become a participant in the BEP, potential trainees must pass an entry exam, as well as a site review and initial interview. Once accepted, they must complete a thorough training program designed to prepare them to operate their own business.
The BEP is a fantastic opportunity for individuals with the drive and desire to own and operate their own business, and who understand the risks and responsibilities associated with that.
What the BEP is not.
The BEP is not an assisted employment opportunity – it is an entrepreneurial venture. Blind Managers are not paid an hourly wage, and in fact are not guaranteed a base income. Their income will be a direct result of their efforts and management skills with their business. Managers are required to pay 10% of their profit back into the program; commissions are not paid to any agency.