Office of Children and Family Services

New York State Commission for the Blind

The Business Enterprise Program (BEP)

The Business Enterprise Program was created via the Randolph-Sheppard Act of 1936 and paved the way for government statutes that provide a "priority" for blind vendors to operate food service facilities in federal and state buildings.

Any New York State resident who is legally blind or deaf-blind and is a United States citizen may be eligible for this program.

New York State Commission for the Blind (NYSCB)'s Business Enterprise Program (BEP) provides a rigorous training curriculum that teaches BEP participants to successfully manage a deli, vending operation, vending route, newsstand, snack bar or cafeteria. Participants receive an interest-free loan to buy their initial product inventory. BEP specialists visit vendors monthly to provide support.

Participants learn business math, labor and merchandise management, purchasing, legal requirements and customer service. Participants will also earn (through study and passing a test) the ServSafe® nationally-accredited food safety certification from the National Restaurant Association.

If you are interested in becoming a BEP participant, call 866-871-3000 toll-free. You will be connected to your local Commission for the Blind District Office. Indicate that you are interested in the Business Enterprise Program when you call, or include that information in the "Remarks" section when you fill out the required Application for Services Form.

BEP Program Facts

  • In FY 2017, there were a total of 1,821 blind vendors operating 2,090 vending facilities throughout the United States.
  • The gross national revenue from these operations generated $664.7 million annually.
  • There are 64 BEP vendors operating in New York State with an average income of $50,887 annually.