Illinois Announces $900M Package of Community & Business Grant Programs

Applications Open: Monday, June 22nd

As part of a broader $900M community and business assistance program announced by Governor Pritzker on June 17, DCEO will make available two new business assistance programs. These programs will direct working capital to help businesses recover quickly – with capital funds to help businesses sustaining damages restore and repair.​

1. Business Interruption Grants Program (BIG)

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will launch the first round of Business Interruption Grants (BIG) by providing $60 million to businesses experiencing losses or business interruption as a result of COVID-19 related closures. The BIG Program is available for up to 3,500 businesses that experienced a limited ability to operate due to COVID-19 related closures. DCEO will begin distributing funds to qualifying businesses in early July. The total program funding will amount to at least $540 million in grants for small businesses, $270 of which has been set aside for childcare providers and is funded by the CARES Act.

In the first wave of grants, priority will be given to small businesses that have been heavily restricted or completely shut down during the pandemic and are located in DIAs. Businesses eligible for the program must have experienced extreme hardship, demonstrated by eligible costs or losses in excess of the grant amount, since March and may continue to face depressed revenues or closure. Businesses must also have been in operation for at least three months prior to March 2020. An emphasis will also be placed on those businesses that are located in areas that have experienced recent property damage due to civil unrest, exacerbating the economic impacts of COVID-19.​

Specifically, the program includes support for:​

WHEN TO APPLY: DCEO will make the application for BIG available on Monday, June 22nd.​

2. Distressed Capital Program

Rebuild Distressed Communities is a $25 million economic recovery program to support Illinois businesses that have sustained property damage as a result of civil unrest during protest and demonstrations on or after May 25th, 2020.​

The Distressed Capital Program will reimburse the costs to repair structural damages, including repairs to storefronts and entrances, improving electrical systems, and restoring exterior work. Projects that were denied coverage by an insurance company are eligible, but must include documentation proving denial. Grants will range from $1M to $10M; with subgrants ranging in size from $1,000 to $200,000.

The Distressed Capital Program will specifically help businesses located in DIAs and will prioritize small businesses, women and minority-owned businesses, underinsured or uninsured businesses, businesses that have a high community impact – such as grocery stores – and businesses in communities that have experienced historic disinvestment.​

The Distressed Capital Program also includes provisions to ensure BEP-certified contractors, including minority- and women-owned businesses, are the first in line to do the repair work.

WHEN TO APPLY: DCEO will invite applications for the Distressed Capital Program with a NOFO made available on Monday, June 22nd. To help applicants apply for the Distressed Capital Grant program, DCEO will host a webinar and other outreach to make eligible businesses aware of funding available to them.​

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