Speaker Welch Urges Small Businesses to Apply for $226 Million in Remaining Funds Before Deadline on October 13, 2021 (Springfield, IL) – The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced the first grants that have been awarded through the Back to Business (B2B) recovery program. The grants awarded, that total more than $24 million, are intended to help businesses facing acute operational impacts due to COVID-19.
Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch would like to congratulate Chicago Smartphone Repair Center (Maywood), The Tax Spa (Maywood), Broadview Family Restaurant (Broadview), Kim Thomas Pro Services LLC (Broadview), O’Sullivan’s Public House (Forest Park), and Orlando Lawn Service Inc. (Maywood) for applying and receiving B2B funds.
“These businesses are the backbone of our communities and our state’s economy,” said Speaker Welch. “This first wave of grants will help hundreds of our state’s businesses, some right here in our community, continue to rebuild and recover. I am so incredibly proud of our state, Governor Pritzker and the General Assembly for the work we’ve done to provide the resources our most vulnerable communities need. I hope many more businesses take advantage of this opportunity.”
Building on efforts to shape an equitable recovery, of B2B funds deployed thus far, more than half have gone to minority-owned businesses. This includes 17 percent of grants made to Black owned businesses, 12 percent to Latinx owned businesses, 21 percent to Asian American or Pacific Islander (AAPI) owned businesses, and 1.2 percent to multiracial and/or Native American owned businesses. On average, recipients of B2B grants experienced revenue declines of 39 percent last year.
To make B2B grants more accessible to the most vulnerable businesses, DCEO has invested $9 million in a comprehensive outreach model leveraging support from over 100 trusted, local organizations – “community navigators” performing outreach and technical assistance with applications. To date, DCEO and the community navigators have conducted direct outreach to more than 125,000 unique businesses and have hosted hundreds of virtual and in-person canvass events. To find a community navigator near you, please visit the DCEO website.
“These latest grants prioritize the business sectors and communities hardest hit by the pandemic so our economic recovery can be faster and more equitable,” said House Majority Leader Greg Harris (D-Chicago). “I’m glad these grants are being distributed as expeditiously as possible to save jobs and revitalize the community businesses we all treasure.”
“For any businesses out there who have yet to receive or who are still in need of assistance –the State of Illinois and our partners stand ready to help you apply for these funds before the October 13 deadline – awards are being made on a rolling basis, so don’t wait, apply today,” said DCEO Acting Director Sylvia Garcia.
To be considered for a grant, applicants must demonstrate a reduction in revenue in 2020, compared to 2019, and annual revenues of no more than $20 million in 2019. Businesses must also provide two bank statements, a business owner ID, and federal tax returns for 2019 and 2020.
For more information on the B2B program, or for assistance with the application, please visit DCEO’s website.
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