Illinois Emergency Small Business Grant

and Loan Assistance

New as of 9/15

Under the leadership of Governor JB Pritzker, The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is working with partners to launch emergency assistance programs for Illinois small businesses. 

New as of 9/15: Business Interruption Grant (BIG) Program round 2 now open

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) announced the second round of Business Interruption Grants (BIG) today will be providing $200 million to businesses experiencing losses or business interruption as a result of COVID-19 related closures.

 

  • Eligibility:

    • For-profit and nonprofit entities with $20 million or less in annual revenue in 2019 (annualized for businesses that started after January 2019) and experienced losses due to COVID-19.

    • Grant size will be calculated base don revenue losses and/or expenses over that last two months, and will range from $5,000 - $150,000.

  • Application process:

    • Please visit IL DCEO website for application details, checklist, FAQs, and eligible cost list as well as to submit your application starting the afternoon of 9/17.

  • Applications for the second round of BIG Program will be accepted on the afternoon of Thursday 9/17.

  • DCEO will begin accepting applications through their grant administration partner Accion.

 

The second wave of funds includes the following provisions to ensure a wide distribution of funds geographically and across business type:

  • Heavily Impacted Industries - $60 million for heavily distressed industries, such as movie theaters, performing arts venues, concert venues, indoor recreation, amusement parks, and more.

  • Disproportionately Impacted Areas - $70 million set aside for DIAs, defined by zip codes identified by the General Assembly for communities that are most economically distressed and vulnerable to COVID-19. A map of DIAs can be accessed here.

  • Downstate Communities – DCEO has committed to ensuring that at least half of all remaining funds, totaling more than $100 million, are reserved for businesses in downstate and rural communities of Illinois that includes all counties except Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, and Will.

  • Priority Businesses – Apart from the $60 million for heavily impacted industries, applications from the following types of businesses will be prioritized for review for remaining funds: businesses directly affected by regional mitigation implemented by the state or local governments, independently owned retail, tourism- and hospitality-related industries including accommodations, and more.

  • Agriculture - $5 million of the remainder of funds will be set aside for livestock production disruptions. Applications will be available in the coming weeks from the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

  • Grants and Loan Forgiveness for Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan recipients - As authorized by the General Assembly, DCEO will offer grants for businesses that have incurred eligible costs to offset loans received under the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan program. This round of loan forgiveness and grants will go to businesses that have received loans or remain on the wait list and the program will sunset going forward as DCEO and its partners focus on making BIG awards.

  • Businesses outside the categories listed above are also eligible to apply and receive funding under the program but may be reviewed later than priority businesses. All businesses will receive a decision on their grant application within four to six weeks of application submission.

For assistance with your application, submit a question via either form in English or Spanish.

Distressed Capital Program

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Distressed Capital Program will provide $25 million to support Illinois businesses that have sustained property damage as a result of civil unrest during the recent protests and demonstrations on or after May 25, 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.

  • The program 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 Rebuild Distressed Communities NOFO will solicit applications from regional and local organizations that will perform outreach, coordinate local qualified vendors, and provide funds to cover the cost of repairs and building improvements for businesses in their region.

  • 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.

  • DCEO will host a webinar and other outreach to make eligible businesses aware of funding available to them.

  • DCEO will invite applications to become an administrator for the Rebuild Distressed Communities NOFO on Tuesday, June 23rd on the IL DCEO website and expect businesses impacted by property damage to be able to apply for support through this program by August. 

​Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund

  • DCEO and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) are establishing the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund to offer small businesses low-interest loans of up to $50,000.

  • Businesses located outside of the City of Chicago with fewer than 50 workers and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 will be eligible to apply. 

  • Successful applicants will owe nothing for six months, and will then begin making fixed payments at a below-market interest rate for the remainder of a five-year loan term. 

  • View full details and apply, go to the DCEO application website. 

  • IMPORTANT:

    • As of 6/1 update from the DCEO office: "DCEO and our lending partners are continuing to review the large number of submitted loan applications we have received.  To allow us to process received applications as quickly as possible, we are temporarily suspending the acceptance of applications from businesses. Please refer back to the DCEO website and follow us on social media, and subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated on upcoming opportunities.

    • Review the Frequently Asked Questions before applying.

    • For assistance with additional questions, please email CEO.Support@Illinois.gov

Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program

  • To support small businesses in downstate and rural counties across Illinois, DCEO is re-purposing $20 million in CDBG funds to stand up the Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program. 

  • This fund will offer small businesses of up to 50 employees the opportunity to partner with their local governments to obtain grants of up to $25,000 in working capital. These grants will be offered on a rolling basis.​

  • View full details (which includes a downloadable guidebook and FAQs) on the DCEO application website.

  • IMPORTANT:

    • As of 6/1 update from the DCEO office: "DCEO and our lending partners are continuing to review the large number of submitted loan applications we have received.  To allow us to process received applications as quickly as possible, we are temporarily suspending the acceptance of applications from businesses. Please refer back to the DCEO website and follow us on social media, and subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated on upcoming opportunities.

    • For technical assistance, please reach out to the grant manager in your area via email ceo.ocd@illinois.gov, or call the Office of Community Development at (217)785-6174.

    • A webinar recording covering the Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program Guidebook and Application was added to the DCEO website. 

    • A webinar recording specifically for local governments was also added to the DCEO website

  • IMPORTANT:

    • Local governments can apply on behalf of businesses with 50 employees or less.

    • Only units of local government recognized by the Illinois Constitution and able to support economic development activities on a sufficient scale are eligible to apply for Economic Development grant funding.  This includes cities, villages, and counties.  Municipalities must not be a HUD direct Entitlement community or be located in an urban county that receives "entitlement" funds. 

    • A map of eligible areas of the state can be accessed on the DCEO website, see “Staff Contact Information.”

    • Businesses in the eligible areas should work with their local governments to submit applications. 

    • Application materials are posted here. 

    • Unfortunately, Bloomington and Normal are NOT eligible​​.

    • Rural communities of McLean County that ARE eligible

      • Chenoa,El Paso, LeRoy, Lexington, Anchor, Arrowsmith, Bellflower, Carlock, Colfax, Cooksville, Danvers, Downs, Ellsworth, Gridley, Heyworth, Hudson, McLean, Saybrook, Stanford, Towanda

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Illinois Department of Commerce and Economc Opportunity
City of Bloomington, IL
Town of Normal, IL

Our SBDC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Illinois Wesleyan University, the City of Bloomington, and the Town of Normal.