About the Business Enterprise Program
Do you want to manage your own business? If you are legally blind and a United States citizen, you might want to consider the Florida Bureau of Business Enterprise Program as your career choice.
About the Florida Bureau of Business Enterprise Program
Florida's Bureau of Business Enterprise Program is authorized by the Randolph-Sheppard Act (P.L. 74-732, as amended by P.L. 83-565 and P.L. 93-516; 20 U.S.C. section 107 et seq.). It provides persons who are blind with remunerative employment and self-support through the operation of vending facilities on federal and other property. The program, enacted into law in 1936, was intended to enhance employment opportunities for trained, licensed blind persons to operate facilities.
At the outset, many stands were placed in the lobbies of federal office buildings and post offices. The law was subsequently amended in 1954 and again in 1974 to ultimately ensure individuals who are blind a "priority" in the operation of vending facilities, which include cafeterias, snack bars, and automatic vending machines, on federal property. 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.
To be licensed as a Food Service Manager in Florida:
- You must be legally blind,
- You must be a client of the Florida Division of Blind Services,
- Be at least 18 years of age,
- Be a United States citizen,
- Have a high school diploma or GED,
- Pass a physical exam,
- Submit to and pass a Level 2 Criminal Background Screening,
- Successfully complete Florida Bureau of Business Enterprise training and licensing requirements.
Individuals who do not meet these requirements are not eligible for the program.
Those who successfully complete training may apply for licensing as a food service manager through the Florida Bureau of Business Enterprise Program. Once licensed, you are eligible to bid on specific business opportunities.
- You compete with other candidates for a specific food service business opportunity.
- You are selected based on your skills, performance, and experience.
- You are contracted with the state as an independent contractor to serve as the division's agent to operate the specific facility.
- Contact your DBS counselor and express your interest in finding out more about the Bureau of Business Enterprise (BBE). Your counselor will explain the different types of facilities (vending operations, cafeterias, and snack bars), the application requirements, and timeline related to training.
- Afterwards, if you feel this is something you wish to pursue, your counselor will schedule you for a vocational assessment.
- The counselor will then review the results from the vocational assessment, as well as the results from training assessments/evaluations conducted by the local CRP, to determine if you qualify as a candidate for the BBE program.
- If you meet the minimum qualifications, the counselor will next schedule a meeting for you with the Regional BBE Business Consultant. The Business Consultant will explain the BBE program including training, licensure, types of facilities, realistic timetable for advancement, and potential income levels.
- You will need to complete a Business Enterprise Program application and submit it to your VR counselor along with copies of the required eligibility documents. These include U.S. citizenship, at least eighteen (18) years of age, high school diploma or GED, a physical exam, and confirmation of legal blindness.
- A Level II criminal background check is required for all BBE participants. Your counselor will provide assistance and instructions with this process.
- An assessment interview will be set up via telephone conference call with the Business Consultant, the Committee of Vendors Chairperson (or designee), and the BBE Bureau Chief or Operations Manager.
- If the Interview Panel recommends you for BBE training program, a ten (10) day work experience will be scheduled with a local BBE vendor. This work experience will help you determine if this is a vocation you wish to pursue while it also allows the BBE to receive an assessment of your work from an experienced operator.
- Once you complete the work experience, you will be enrolled in a sixteen (16) week training program at our Daytona Beach campus.
- Finally, after you’ve completed training at Daytona Beach, you will be assigned On the Job Training (OJT), which may take between 4-10 weeks to complete.
Florida Bureau of Business Enterprise Program
Providing Tools and Support for the Blind and Visually Impaired in the Food Service Industry