The Arizona Business Enterprise Program (BEP) provides Vocational Rehabilitation program (VR) clients who are visually impaired with opportunities to own and operate merchandising businesses. BEP is administered by the DES VR program in partnership with Services for Blind/Visually Impaired and Deaf (SBVID) and was created in 1936 in accordance with the Randolph-Sheppard Act to provide entrepreneurial career pathways for job seekers with visual impairments.
After completing a training program, BEP participants can run their own businesses under Federal and State agency management and earn a stable income, including medical and retirement benefits. BEP has already provided the foundation for more than 30 business owners resulting in over 275 food service jobs throughout Arizona. BEP is also responsible for the operation of more than 4,800 vending machines statewide.
BEP aims to empower visually impaired entrepreneurs in Arizona through our program by building an inclusive business community and contributing to economic growth.
BEP Training for Participants
BEP participants undergo 6-9 months of training to learn how to successfully operate merchandising businesses, cafeterias, micro markets and vending operations. The training helps participants develop their customer service skills, learn how to manage a labor force, and purchase and manage merchandise. BEP participants will also receive their ServSafe certification during the training.
After successful completion of the BEP training program, participants can own and operate merchandising businesses, including vending and food service operations under Federal and State agency management. BEP businesses can be located inside private and public (city, State and Federal) locations including State prisons.
BEP businesses include:
Micro Markets with equipment including 365 Kiosks, Minus Forty coolers and freezers, with cash and credit card capability.
Vending Machines with a wide array of options that may include snacks, frozen or cold food, soda, dollar bill changers and more. All machines come equipped with credit card readers with Apple Pay.
Full Food Service Operations including full-service cafeterias and coffee shops, "Proudly serving Starbucks."
Become a BEP Operator
If you meet the eligibility requirements (below) and are interested in becoming a BEP operator, please speak to your VR counselor. If you are not a VR client and are interested in becoming one, visit the VR web page.
Have a GED or High School Diploma and the ability to pass competency exams for
10th-grade level math and English
Assistive Technology and Independent Living proficiency
Have the ability to use Microsoft Word and Excel, email and Accounting software
Participate in job shadowing, meetings and pass a BEP screening interview
Complete an intensive 6-9 month unpaid training program
Establish a Business Enterprises Program Food Vendor at Your Workplace
BEP can provide your workplace with quality snack bars, vending machines and full food service operations managed by licensed blind vendors, overseen by Business Enterprise Consultants. Email BEP Maintenance and Repair for more information.
Pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other nondiscrimination laws and authorities, ADES does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. Persons that require a reasonable modification based on language or disability should submit a request as early as possible to ensure the State has an opportunity to address the modification. The process for requesting a reasonable modification can be found at Equal Opportunity and Reasonable Modification.