Chicago- July 7 (Hispanic News Agency) The State of Illinois is reminding small businesses across Illinois that applications are due today, July 7th, for the Business Interruption Grant program, otherwise known as BIG.

 Governor Pritzker’s BIG initiative – an economic recovery program for businesses – makes $60 million available for up to 3,500 impacted by COVID-19. Businesses located in areas hit hardest by COVID-19 will be prioritized in this first round of funding – with restaurants/bars, barbers/salons, gyms/fitness centers and businesses located in disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs) prioritized for funding.

Funding can be used to help businesses cover costs of payroll, rent, utilities, and other working capital.

“This funding comes at an important time for Illinois businesses: as Illinois continues to make public health advancements needed to reopen our economy – state grants programs will help business owners that have experienced closure or loss to turn their attention toward safe reopening”, said the Government in a press release.

Over 3,000 applications have been received for BIG so far – but the State continues to encourage eligible businesses to apply. The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will work with community financial institutions to ensure businesses suffering extreme hardship and/or located in disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs) are first in line for funding.

For those businesses that do not apply in this round – the good news is that there will be additional waves of funding as part of the larger $540 million set aside for small businesses by the state and funded by the CARES Act. New BIG funding also builds on over $150 million in small business relief and assistance programs launched by DCEO from the time the crisis first hit.

The deadline to apply is today at 5 pm. DCEO is encouraging businesses to reach out and seek assistance for applying by either visiting our website or contacting the recently expanded network of small business development centers (SBDCs). More info on BIG is available at ildceo.net/big. More info on where to locate your nearest SBDC is available on our website here.

Hispanic News Agency (HINA), is the  Nicado Publishing’s news agency to create and distribute content and press releases to the Hispanic community.