First round of Illinois Business Interruption Grants program deadline Tuesday

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The deadline to apply for the first round of the Business Interruption Grants program is Tuesday.

After small businesses were hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, $60 million was set aside for grants.

The Business Interruption Grants Program (BIG) and the Rebuild Distressed Communities programs prioritize assistance for businesses that have experienced significant losses or business interruption due to the pandemic and recent civil unrest.

Applications for these programs are due on July 7 and can be found on DCEO's website.

In addition to the grants, seven new state-run centers will open this summer to support Illinois small businesses.

The new Small Business Development Centers are located in Chicago, Elgin and Joliet.
"With many Illinois businesses currently facing unprecedented burdens as a result of COVID-19 and recent civil unrest, our SBDC community partners can be a lifeline for businesses working to reopen safely," said Michael Negron, Acting Director of DCEO in a statement. "Our SBDCs are essential to the work we do day in and day out to help Illinois small businesses succeed That is why the Pritzker administration is proud to support their continued growth during this time of need so that we can help many more businesses unlock resources needed to help them get back on track."

The mission of the centers is to promote entrepreneurship, small business growth and the US economy by providing the critical funding, oversight and support needed by the nationwide network of Small Business Development Centers.

"As a restaurant owner in Chicago, I think I speak for my colleagues in saying that none of us could have fully prepared for the events that have unfolded during the COVID-19 crisis," said Chef Tsadakeeyah Emmanuel, owner of Majani Restaurant in a statement. "For me and for so many other restaurateurs, getting assistance on how to maintain my business today and plan for the future has been imperative. Working with the South Shore Chamber, I was able to receive expertise and a helping hand during a difficult time, and that's what an Illinois SBDC can do for any business owner at any level."

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development said the $11.5 effort brings the total number of centers statewide to 42.

As a result of new investments, the following brand new SBDC locations have opened or will launch in July:
Puerto Rican Cultural Center - Chicago
Joliet Junior College - Joliet
South Shore Chamber of Commerce - Chicago

Elgin Community College - Elgin
Build Bronzeville/Urban Juncture Foundation - Chicago
Rogers Park Business Alliance - Chicago
Chinese Mutual Aid Association - Chicago

Many of the newest SBDCs are located in or near disproportionately impacted areas- which are given preference as part of the new BIG and Rebuild Distressed Communities programs.
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