As Businesses Struggle During Pandemic, State Program Helps Companies Vie For Government Contracts

CHICAGO (CBS) — As Illinois continues the fight against COVID-19, the battle to keep businesses up and running during the pandemic rages on.

The Morning Insiders got curious about a recent state investment that comes with a fancy acronym. Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, or PTACs, are billed as a saving grace for companies looking for steady work. The client? The government.

CBS 2’s Lauren Victory broke down what PTACs are all about.

Pigeons and other pests aren’t in short supply around these parts. Just ask Rebecca Fyffe, CEO of Landmark Pest Management.

“We service 10,000 clients in the city of Chicago and the six surrounding counties,” she said.

Her company always has something to capture. Ten years ago, the hunt was for more business.

“I was missing that government element,” she said.

Joshua Moreno, director of the Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center at Greater Southwest Development Corporation, explained why landing a government contract isn’t easy: lots of documents, certifications, and legal language.

“Who is liable if you want to terminate the contract?” he said.

At the Greater Southwest Development Corporation on 63rd Street in Chicago Lawn, Moreno helps businesses sift through the federal, state, and local jargon; jargon that includes the technical name of his division: Illinois PTAC.

“Government spending is at an all-time high, just with COVID-19, and so there are many opportunities available,” said Kristie Dula, with the Office of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Dula’s department, along with Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, recently announced Moreno’s hub as one of two new homes for these contract helping services. It took a sizeable infusion of cash at time when taxpayer money is tight.

An August investment created two new PTACS, one at the Greater Southwest Development Corporation and the other was at Far South Community Development Corporation. The total new investment was for $2 million and it is spread across the state’s now nine PTACs — the two new ones and seven that already exist. All are inside established resource centers.

Dula explained the $2 million cost.

“They do have to hire staff to run the actual center, and then there’s need for marketing costs, there’s need for general outreach,” Dula said.

Fyffe is a poster child for this state investment. Landmark wouldn’t have had a gig to clean up pigeon waste at the CTA Irving Park Blue Line stop without it.

RELATED: State Rep. Searches For Funds To Clean Up Irving Park ‘Pigeon Poop Station,’ Gets Pooped On During Interview

PTAC counseling kept the contracts coming, Fyffe said.

“We’ve added about 350 government buildings through the city of Chicago,” she said.

It’s guidance from a decade ago that’s even more crucial in a pandemic.

“Luckily, I listened to the PTAC counselor,” Fyffe said. “We’re able to maintain our business stability without layoffs, because we did diversify, just like she instructed us to.”

And they’re elping and hoping to keep small businesses afloat.

Illinois’s nine PTACs are funded through state and federal dollars. It’s a free​ service for small business owners.

You can find a PTAC near you through the DCEO website.

Region: Chicago,Local,City: Chicago

via Chicago News From CBS Channel 2, WBBM-TV
– CBS Chicago

October 30, 2020 at 06:24AM

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