Coronavirus Chicago: City awards nearly 1,000 microbusinesses with $5K relief grants amid pandemic

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Thursday, May 14, 2020
Micro-businesses are facing an especially complex battle to survive the coronavirus stay-at-home orders and plan for their futures.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor Lightfoot and BACP will announce Thursday that grants have been awarded to nearly 1,000 microbusinesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak through the $5 million Microbusiness Recovery Grant Program.

Through this program, 959 microbusinesses from across 36 low- and moderate-income community areas have received a grant of $5,000 just one week after applications closed for the program on Monday, May 4.

RELATED: Applications for Chicago small business recovery grant program due Monday

The 959 businesses awarded today are located throughout Chicago and represent all types of industries, from coffee shops and general retail to daycares and travel companies.

More than 90 percent of the awardees identify as having diverse ownership, including 55 percent women, 45 percent African American and 34 percent Latinx. Additionally, the awarded businesses employ an average of 2 employees and have been in business for an average of over 10 years.

RELATED: COVID-19 help, information and resources

The Chicago Microbusiness Recovery Grant Program was designed for businesses that may not be able to obtain funding through federal and other financing programs.

To be eligible, businesses had to have four or fewer employees, revenues of less than $250,000 and must be located within a low- or moderate-income community area.

The grantees were selected from over 4,500 applicants through a lottery system.

At her press conference Wednesday, Mayor Lightfoot said the plan to reopen Chicago will be a slow and calculated process driven by science and the public.

"Reopening will be like slowly turning on a dimmer - not flipping a light-switch," she explained. "Our reopening process only works if we're stopping the spread of the disease."

The mayor said the plan is specifically tailored to the needs of residents, with an initial focus on essential workers.