Chicago- HINA- Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) this week announced the latest in a series of grants made available for small businesses in Illinois facing the impacts of COVID-19.
A second round of the Business Interruption Grants (BIG) program, opened this week, will direct $220 million to provide relief for all types of small businesses, but with a particular focus on businesses downstate, in disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs) and heavily distressed industries and regions – representing businesses that have been unable to reopen or are operating at a severely diminished capacity since the spring.
The second round of BIG builds on $49 million in grants awarded last month. Initial grant funding extends to over 2,800 businesses in 400 cities and towns across Illinois, including over half of grants awarded to minority-owned companies.
The latest funding will continue to place an emphasis on equity – with priority for economically distressed communities, as well as downstate and rural businesses.
In the coming weeks, DCEO will be hosting webinars and conducting outreach to support businesses with applying. Additionally, four community navigators will provide boots on the ground to assist DCEO in conducting outreach to minority communities – these partners include The Chicago Urban League, The Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation, the Illinois Business Immigrant Coalition, and The Resurrection Project.