BESB: Program Description

Business Enterprise Program

Program Description

Under the Statutory Authority of Sections 10-303 and 10-304 of the Connecticut General Statutes, the Business Enterprise Program is responsible for the development of high quality business ventures for participants who desire to become entrepreneurs. Under permits with host agencies, entrepreneurs operate businesses that range from gift shops to full scale restaurants. The entrepreneurs derive the full profits from their operations.

Mission Statement

To enable qualified adults who are legally blind to become more financially independent through the operation of food service, retail shops, and vending facilities located in municipal, state, and federal buildings.

Statement of Need and Program Objectives

To provide entrepreneurial opportunities, including training and business consultation, to people who are blind which result in financial independence.

The Randolph-Sheppard Act:

In June of 1936, the Randolph - Sheppard Act was passed by the US Congress after similar pieces of legislation had been defeated. The purpose of this piece of legislation was to provide people who are blind with gainful employment leading to a greater degree of self sufficiency.


Prior to the passage of this Act, very few vocational opportunities existed for people who are blind.  Now there are literally thousands of entrepreneurs all over the country enjoying the benefits of running their own businesses.  Could you be one of those who could benefit from running their own business?

Program Qualifications:

Applicants must be:

  • blind as defined by State Regulations

  • registered for Services with Services for the Blind

  • citizens of the United States

  • qualified by the Board’s Division of Industries as qualified to operate a vending facility after going through a suitable program training; and

  • have executed a vending facility operating agreement

Program Benefits:

  • Earnings – Your business earnings are your income.  There is no limit!

  • Health Insurance and Retirement Benefits:  You would have access to the state insurance and retirement programs.

  • Individualized Training is provided on an individualized self-paced basis.

  • Advancement – Your drive and ability sets the limit on your achievement and advancement!  Upward mobility is based upon performance and additional training is provided as needed.

Over Thirty Locations!

There are currently over thirty locations operating in Connecticut; more are sought and planned out every day!

  • Current Types of Locations Include:

    • Gift Shops

    • News Stands

    • Snack Bars and Coffee Bars

    • Cafeterias

    • Retail shops

    • Vending Machine Locations

  • Current Incomes Average in Excess of $32,000

        Manager Trainees Needed

As a Business Enterprise Manager you would be responsible for the management and maintenance of one of the various facilities located in Federal, State, or Municipal buildings.  The work involves all phases of management, in addition to all the responsibilities of being an independent business manager.  As a B.E.P. Manager you would be responsible for all areas of your operation.  In addition to dealing with customer relations on a daily basis, you would be responsible for any or all of the following:

  • Personnel Interviewing

  • Hiring

  • Orientation

  • Training

  • Scheduling Employees

  • Payroll Administration

  • Motivation

  • Counseling

  • Termination

  • Purchasing

  • Working with purveyors to purchase products

  • Evaluation of best prices and service, and quality of products

  • Taking a monthly inventory of resale products to obtain a cost of goods sold

  • Projecting and Calculating Payroll Costs

  • Follow-up, and Evaluation

  • Product/Menu/Service Planning

  • Determine the needs and wants of the customers

  • Knowledge of cost of each product.

  • Maintain quality control, portion control, proper preparation and presentation of each menu item, product, or service.

  • Communication of menu to customers.

  • Merchandising - The proper use of promotional tools such as displays, posters, table tents, promotion programs, and suggestive selling.

  • Sanitation - Comply with city, county, state, and B.E.P. guidelines, and the training of employees in proper sanitation procedures.

  • Equipment - Responsible for maintenance of all the facilities equipment.

  • Accounting - Responsible for daily, weekly, quarterly and yearly reports due to the State and Federal government.  This includes the weekly BE#72 report and annual 1040 Schedule C required by the Business Enterprises Program.  The payment of all business expenses (including payments to suppliers, and payroll), business related taxes, self-employment taxes and maintenance of commercial bank accounts.

  • Public Relations - Developing and maintaining a good rapport with customers and building host, thereby promoting the B.E.P. program and blindness in a positive light.  The B.E.P. Manager has a very high public visibility.

Traits Needed By B.E.P. Managers:

It is expected that each person who successfully completes the B.E.P. management training program will have the skills necessary to successfully manage a B.E.P. service facility.  All of the various facilities will present daily challenges to your technical as well as your decision-making skills.  It will be a rewarding career as long as you learn the subject matter well.  You should understand that your career choice is a dynamic one and will require you to continuously refine your skills.

The following are some traits of successful managers for trainees to consider and aspire to:

  • Decision making:  Gather information through listening, questioning, review of reports, and other sources, developing solutions and making decisions which are based on logical assumptions which reflect factual information.  Readiness to make decisions, render judgments, to take action or commit one’s self.

  • Organizing and planning:  Establish a course of action for self and/or others to accomplish specific goals; planning proper assignment of personnel and appropriate allocation of resources.

  • Work standards/follow-up:  Actions which demonstrate a high degree of concern for achieving the highest levels of service, quality of products, cleanliness/sanitation, administration procedures, sales and profitability.  Following up on tasks, processes, or activities of subordinates.  Taking action to check the results of the delegated task or project.  Importantly, the work standard must be clearly taught to the employee before it can be upheld.

  • Initiative:  Active attempts to influence events to achieve goals; being a self-starter rather than a passive follower.  Taking action to achieve goals beyond what is necessarily called for;  originating action.

  • Energy:  Maintain a high level of energy over a long period of time.  The work day can run up to ten hours long, it can be challenging and the challenge must be accepted.

  • Sensitivity:  Actions that indicate a consideration for the feelings and needs of others.

  • Leadership:  Utilization of appropriate interpersonal styles and methods in guiding individuals (subordinates, peers, and or superiors) toward accomplishment.

  • Career ambition:  The expressed desire to advance to higher levels of achievement with active efforts towards self development for advancement.

  • Adaptability:  Maintain effectiveness while working varying shifts, hours, under varying conditions.

  • Oral communication:  Clear effective expression of ideas, needs, and wants.

                Functional Abilities:

  • Good finger, hand, and arm coordination

  • Ability to bend, stretch, and lift items weighing up to 50 pounds

  • Ability to work at a steady pace up to 10 hours per day, and up to 5˝ days per week, and in various environments without ill effects

  • Mobility sufficient to travel independently and safely using public transportation.  An ability to safely traverse the distance between a public transportation stop and the B.E.P. facility

Personal Characteristics Desired:

  • Pleasant, mature, and self-confident; well adjusted and stable personality

  • Positive, healthy outlook on life

  • Clean, neat, well-groomed appearance

  • Ability to relate well and work cooperatively with others

  • Ability to project a generally acceptable and favorable image of blindness to the public and

  • Promote a positive Image of the Program to the Public

        Mathematics - The Language of Business:

  • From recording the day’s business, to budgeting, bill paying, planning for profits, and tax reporting, mathematics is the language of business and it pays to understand it well.

  • Mathematical Aptitude Testing - A math aptitude test must be passed with a minimum score of 70

                The Two-Week Work Evaluations:

  • This time should help you to decide if you are really interested in becoming a B.E.P. Manager

  • The evaluation exposes you to the environment in which you would be working

  • Gives you the opportunity to try the many skills needed to successfully operate your own business.

                The Training Program:


                Academic Training (approximately four weeks) including:

  • Customer Relations – Interpersonal skills development for appropriately interacting with customers

  • Menu/Product/Service – Development of the products lines or services which will be offered to the consumer

  • Merchandising – Effective display of product or services and facility space use

  • Marketing - From in house sales development via flyers, fax machines, or computer links, to point of sales marketing for enhancing sales and profitability

  • Purchasing/Receiving – The ordering according to inventory and sales needs, and receiving of goods to be offered for sale

  • Food/Product/Service Costing – Cost Development based on the actual cost of merchandise and or service, and the development of Retails based on cost and what the market will bear within the particular business planned

  • Inventory Control - Planning for inventory purchasing based on actual inventory and budget constraints

  • Reports – From reporting the day’s business, filing the week’s on the BESB #72 Business Report, to the development of organized business records

  • Budgeting – Developing business budgets to maximize profits while paying suppliers, employees, and taxes on a timely basis

  • Taxes Collecting and Reporting – Maintaining records sufficient to allow for the proper reporting and paying of business and personal taxes


On The Job Training – 6 to 8 Weeks

On-the-job practice and skill development of all the above, either in a specific location or at the Business Enterprise Training Center in Hartford including:

  • Training on the safe use of facility equipment (griddles, deep fat fryers, meat slicing equipment, knives, vending machines, etc.) as appropriate for the candidates goals

  • Production of Products and or Services – On-the-job practice of systematically tracking and producing products or services as needed

  • Customer Service:

    • At the cash register

    • Selling Products and or Services including grill, sandwich service, and steam table service if appropriate

    • Facility maintenance

  • Housekeeping – Practice and on-the-job skills development in maintaining a clean facility using systems and methods developed on the job.

Certification in Food Sanitation:

For those seeking to manage facilities requiring food licenses, a food safety sanitation course is included in the training framework.  This food sanitation certification is required for two of the four types of food license.  The ServSafe Serving Safe Foods Certification Program (provided by the National Restaurant Association) is taught by a Certified Instructor.  This is a home study course followed by sixteen hours of class room study and Certification Test.  The training materials are available in book form, on audio cassettes, or as a follow up – on one of our classroom computers.

The Licensed Business Enterprise Manager understands he is responsible for all aspects of his business and must be available to perform any and all job functions necessary to maintain the business.  During the course of training, the trainee participates in all areas of the operation through hands on training and practice.  Training is self-paced and wherever possible tailored to the individual and the particular business goal.


For more information, call:


Edward Owens, Program Supervisor, at 860-602-4198

Content Last Modified on 2/23/2007 1:24:33 PM