Business Enterprise Program
The mission of the Florida Business Enterprise Program (BEP) is to provide people who are legally blind with rewarding and profitable entrepreneurial ventures, broaden their economic opportunities, and invigorate all blind people to be self-supporting, while dispelling misconceptions about blind people by showcasing their abilities.
The Florida Business Enterprise (BEP) administers one of the largest vending and food service programs operated by people who are legally blind in the United States. The Florida Business Enterprise Program provides entrepreneurial opportunities in the food service industry for eligible blind persons licensed in Florida under the Randolph-Sheppard Act. Job opportunities include: snack bar, cafeteria, micromarkets, highway vending machines, or non-highway vending.
Everything a visually impaired person needs to get started running their own food service facility is provided including training, facility, equipment, inventory, and the necessary funds to begin operations. The BEP prides itself in allowing visually impaired entrepreneurs independence in their day-to-day operations, while at the same time providing continual support through professional business consultants and educational workshops.
Florida broadened the federal Randolph Sheppard Act with its own version. Blind licensees, under the Little Randolph Sheppard Act (FS 413.051) are given the first opportunity to participate in the operation of vending stands on all state properties acquired after July 1, 1979, when such facilities are operated under the supervision of the Florida Division of Blind Services of the Department of Education.
If you are legally blind and a United States citizen, you might want to consider the Florida Business Enterprise Program as your career choice. Read How to Get a BEP Vendor License and find out how you can begin an exciting career as the manager of a vending or food services facility.
There are two ways to submit the completed Reimbursement Request Packet:
- E-mail – BEP Facility Operators are encouraged to participate in and use the E-mail Reimbursement Request System. Send the request packet to the e-mail address of BBE.Reimbursements@dbs.fldoe.org. In the e-mail’s Subject Line, include the Invoice Number to assist in quick referencing. In body of the e-mail, include the Invoice Number, the BEP Facility Operator’s name, and include any additional notes necessary for clarification to assist in processing the request when needed.
- Ground Mail – Send the completed Reimbursement Request Packet to:
Division of Blind Services
Office of the Comptroller, DBS Fiscal Section
Suite 924, Turlington Building
325 West Gaines Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-04000
January Selection Cycle
Business opportunities for the January Selection Cycle are now posted on the Business Opportunities page.
Upcoming CEU opportunities
Mississippi State University's National Research & Training Center on Blindness & Low Vision (NRTC) offers educational modules covering important aspects of the Randolph-Sheppard program. While NRTC does not offer continuing education credits for these modules, CEUs are offered internally through the Business Enterprise Program. A list of BEP pre-approved NRTC courses for CEU credit can be found at https://dbs.fldoe.org/BEP/ceu.html.
Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of America Sagebrush 2024 National BEP Training Conference
February 12 - 16, 2024 at the Golden Nugget Hotel in Las Vegas, NV.
The RSVA Sagebrush National BEP Training Conference begins on Monday, February 12 with Sagebrush registration at 3 pm and the welcome reception at 7 PM. The conference ends on Friday, February 16 with a special “You don’t have to see it to tee it” golf outing.
- Special Sagebrush hotel rates apply from February 12 through Saturday, February 17. Due to the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 11, much higher rates apply if you wish to stay at the Golden Nugget before Monday, February 12. Since Monday is overflow from the Super Bowl, the rate is slightly higher that night.
- A fee for one night's stay will be charged when you register for your room. For hotel reservations, please call 1-800-331-5731. When booking reservations over the phone, it is essential to give the group code: GSRSV24 to ensure the group rates and other amenities are applied.
- To book online: go to https://goldennugget.reztrip.com/ext/promoRate?property=1115&mode=b&pm=true&sr=843490&vr=3
- Conference updates will be placed on the RSVA website: www.randolph-sheppard.org.
- For further information or to receive the registration form for the conference, contact RSVA® by email: email@example.com
- Download the Sagebrush 2024 attendee registration form (MS Word)
- BEP will again pay the vendor’s registration fee for Sagebrush, however you must notify Alan Risk of your intent to attend no later than December 18, 2023.
- BEP Vendors that attend Tuesday through Thursday sessions can earn up to 1.500 CEU credits.
- Remember, registration fees are non-refundable. If BEP pays your registration fee and you do not attend, you will be required to reimburse BEP for the registration cost.
- BEP will pay for Registration Fees ONLY. Each attendee is responsible for all other expenses, including travel, lodging, meals, etc.
- BEP will only pay registration fees one time per vendor, per calendar year to attend national training conference associated with the Business Enterprise Program.
- BEP does not pay registration for spouses that attend with you.
- IMPORTANT: DO NOT PAY REGISTRATION FEE WHEN REGISTERING if you wish to have your registration fee paid by BEP.
- Be sure to notify Alan Risk once you’ve completed the registration form. Registration fees will be paid by Purchase Order from the State of FL.