Section 1: Introduction

1.0 Introduction

The information that follows will explain the rights and responsibilities of the Division of Blind Services (DBS), the rights and responsibilities of a Vendor, and the relationship between these parties. Specifically, this manual contains the policies and operational procedures by which the Business Enterprise Program (BEP) is administered.

As you use this manual, you may encounter the following acronyms:

ASC - Administrative Services Consultant
BEP - Business Enterprise Program
CEU - Continuing Education Unit
CFR - Code of Federal Regulations
DBS - Division of Blind Services
DFS - Department of Financial Services
DMS - Department of Management Services
FAC - Florida Administrative Code
FS - Florida Statutes
LOFA - Licensed Operator Facility Agreement
MBR - Monthly Business Report
MFMP - My Florida Market Place
MIT - Miscellaneous Invoice Transmittal
OJT - On-the-Job Training
USC - United States Code
VR - Vocational Rehabilitation

1.1 Preface

The Business Enterprise Program (BEP) was established as a result of federal law and supported by state statute to provide employment opportunities for blind individuals in the food service and vending machine industries. The federal Randolph-Sheppard Act mandates that such opportunities on federal property be first offered to state agencies such as the Florida Division of Blind Services (DBS). Florida Statute (FS) 413.051 provides the same first right of refusal priority to be given on State property. With the development of the Interstate Highway system, the Kennelly Amendment to the federal Surface Transportation Act {23 USC Section 111 (b)} obligates the Florida Department of Transportation to first offer DBS any vending machine operations at Interstate Rest Areas and Welcome Centers.

The Randolph-Sheppard Act is regulated by Title 34, Part 395 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and the Little Randolph-Sheppard Act, is regulated by Chapter 6A-18 of the Florida Administrative Code (FAC). Individuals should contact a Regional Business Enterprise Consultant or the DBS State Office regarding any information not found in this manual or an explanation of any of the included items.

Signature Required: Each Trainee will be given a copy of this Manual in an electronic format. Recipients will sign an acknowledgement of having received this information. This Manual may be revised as needed with the most current edition always available on the BEP Web site.

1.2 Purpose

The purpose of the Division's BEP is to provide the opportunity for persons who are blind or legally blind to obtain gainful employment. These opportunities are provided through the establishment of vending facilities, each as an independent business, to be managed by persons who become licensed through the DBS.

1.3 Program Eligibility

Eligibility for licensure by DBS is set forth in the Title 34, Part 395.7, CFR and the Chapter 6A-18.042, FAC. The criteria are summarized here due to its verification importance.

  1. Legal blindness
  2. U S Citizenship
  3. 18 years of age or older
  4. High School diploma or its equivalency
  5. Pass a security background investigation
  6. BEP certification as qualified to operate a facility

Each requirement must be corroborated with written evidence and documentation.

1.4 Division Retention of Records

The division retains active files of a Licensee or Vendor for five years. After this time, records are archived according to the retention requirements established by Chapter 413.013 of the Florida Statutes. Records of licensees include documents such as monthly reports, letters, and Licensed Operator Facility Agreements (LOFA).  Some data is maintained electronically. Records in the custody of the BEP, not subject to public record exemption, are available upon request.

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Florida Business Enterprise Program

Providing Tools and Support for Legally Blind Vendors in the Food Service Industry

DISCLAIMER: Links on the Florida Division of Blind Services (DBS) website that are directed toward websites outside the DBS, provide additional information that may be useful or interesting and are being provided consistent with the intended purpose of the DBS website. DBS cannot attest to the accuracy of information provided by non-DBS websites. Further, providing links to a non-DBS website does not constitute an endorsement by DBS, the Florida Department of Education or any of its employees, of the sponsors of the non-DBS website or of the information or products presented on the non-DBS website.