Our SBDC is providing support virtually... until May 31st

New as of 4/27: Three McLean County Financial Assistance Programs:

Two McLean County Board Loans: 

The McLean County Board has allocated $300,000 for the Recovery Loan program

  • The Recovery Loan is a 1% gap loan up to $20,000 (20% of total loan) for nonresidential for-profit businesses under 50 employees in McLean County.

  • The loan requires a partnership from a bank to cover the other 80% of the loan. 

  • Payments are deferred until January 2021

  • To learn more, view the list of required documents, and apply visit the Bloomington Normal EDC website 

The McLean County Board has allocated an additional $300,000 for the Micro-Bridge Loan program

  • The Micro-Bridge Loan is a 1% bridge loan up to $5,000 for nonresidential for-profit businesses under 10 employees in McLean County.

  • The loan requires a support letter from a lender.

  • Payments are deferred until January 2021.

  • To learn more, view the list of required documents, and apply visit the Bloomington Normal EDC website 

State Farm LISC Loan:

The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) of Central Illinois is providing loans from $75,000 to $500,000 to small businesses through their Rapid Relief and Resiliency Fund. 

  • This program allows LISC to make loans similar to banks, but with more flexible credit standards to reach businesses that might not qualify for concentration  bank financing. 

  • State Farm provided $10 million in April as a loan to LISC to enable loans to be distributed to small businesses and nonprofits in central Illinois. 

  • Eligibility is based on an accurate and complete submission of request and providing the required documents.

  • The program is NOT eligible to employees of State Farm or LISC. 

  • You can learn more about LISC of Central Illinois at their website:

  • You can learn more about the requirements and submit an application via this form:  


Be aware. Scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the Coronavirus

Here are some tips to help keep the scammers at bay:

  • Hang up on robocalls. Don’t press any numbers. Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from scam Coronavirus treatments to work-at-home schemes. The recording might say that pressing a number will let you speak to a live operator or remove you from their call list, but it might lead to more robocalls, instead.

  • Ignore online offers for vaccinations and home test kits. Scammers are trying to get you to buy products that aren’t proven to treat or prevent the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) — online or in stores. At this time, there also are no FDA-authorized home test kits for the Coronavirus. Visit the FDA to learn more.

  • Fact-check information. Scammers, and sometimes well-meaning people, share information that hasn’t been verified. Before you pass on any messages, contact trusted sources. Visit What the U.S. Government is Doing for links to federal, state and local government agencies.

  • Know who you’re buying from. Online sellers may claim to have in-demand products, like cleaning, household, and health and medical supplies when, in fact, they don’t.

  • Don’t respond to texts and emails about checks from the government. The details are still being worked out. Anyone who tells you they can get you the money now is a scammer.

  • Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know. They could download viruses onto your computer or device.

  • Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying they have information about the virus. For the most up-to-date information about the Coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

  • Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites. Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it.


View the full list, what the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is doing about scams, and more on the FTC website here 


The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

  • The programs and initiatives in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress are intended to assist business owners with whatever needs they have right now.

  • Want to familiarize yourself with CARES Act?

    • Review the CARES Act General Guide and the  CARES Act FAQs  to see information about the major programs and initiatives that will soon be available from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to address these needs, as well as some additional tax provisions that are outside the scope of SBA.

  • Want to compare and contrast the five (5) SBA Coronavirus Pandemic Disaster Loan programs?

    • Review the SBA Coronavirus Pandemic Disaster Loans Comparison Table which includes details on: ​

      • SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) - column 1

      • EIDL Forgiveness/Advance (grant up to $10,000) - column 2

      • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP SBA 7a) - column 3

      • SBA Express Bridge Loan - column 4

      • SBA Small Business Debt Rebate Program - column 5​

  • Want to compare just PPP and EIDL and see how the EIDL Advance fits into the picture?​


The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP SBA 7a)

  • The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.  

  • The SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.

  • Small business owners must apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating.

  • Unfortunately, 501(c)6 organizations DO NOT qualify for the PPP Loan


    • As of Monday 4/27 @ 9:30am the PPP application process was reopened. 

    • It had been put on hold on Thursday 4/16 when the original funding had been exhausted. By law, the SBA nor SBA approved lending institutions were not able to issue new loan approvals until the program received additional funds.

  • Additional information:

    • The SBA has set up a call center for lenders having issues related to PPP: (833)-572-0502.

    • If interested in applying for the PPP loan, you must consult with either your current or a local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.

    • Applications are accepted through local lenders/banks that are SBA 7(a) approved, not the SBA, not the SBDC. 

    • Starting April 3, 2020 - small businesses and sole proprietorship can apply.
      Starting April 10, 2020 - independent contractors and self-employed individuals
      can apply.

    • The Paycheck Protection Program will be available through June 30, 2020.

Want to familiarize yourself with the Paycheck Protection Program?


The SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) are available in Illinois

The SBA's "Economic Injury Disaster Loan" (EIDL) program provides:

  • Low-interest loans of $25,000 to $2 million to small businesses and private non-profits affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • These "working capital loans" can be used to meet needs including payroll, accounts payable, and fixed debt payments until the situation improves.

  • Repayment terms of up to 30 years. Exact repayment terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower's ability to repay. 

  • To process these loan applications, the applicant must have a credit history acceptable as decided by the SBA and be able to demonstrate the business has the ability to repay the loan.

  • Interest rates are 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for private non-profits.

  • There is no cost to apply.

  • There is no obligation to take the loan if offered, and applicant may defer the acceptance of loan for up to one year from date of approval. 

  • Deadline to apply is December 21, 2020.

  • View full details in resource links below.


    • As of Thursday 4/16 the EIDL and EIDL Advance funding was exhausted and the application website has been temporarily closed and the approval process has been put on hold for both EIDL and EIDL Advances.  

    • By law, the SBA is not able to issue new loan approvals until the program receives additional funds.

    • Applicants who have already submitted their applications to a SBA  will continue to be processed on a first-come, first -served basis if additional funds are approved by Congress. 

EIDL Advance of up to $10,000

On March 29th, following the passage of the CARES Act, the SBA provided small business owners and non-profits impacted by COVID-19 with the opportunity to obtain up to $10,000 Advance on their Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).

  • To ensure the greatest number of applicants can receive assistance during this challenging time, the amount of the Advance will be determined by the number of the small business' pre-disaster (as of January 31, 2020) employees.

  • The Advance will provide $1,000 per employee up to a maximum of $10,000. 

  • The Advance is available as part of the full EIDL application (it's literally a check box on the EIDL application) and will be transferred into the account the applicant provides shortly after submitting the EIDL application. 

Interested in applying for a SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan?  Follow these 4 steps: 


1. Familiarize yourself with the process, requirements, criteria, and application itself FIRST via the below resources BEFORE starting the application or contacting our center.

  • Applicants MUST ensure they have ALL required documentation submitted to the SBA for consideration when submitting an application. 

  • View the SBA Disaster Assistance Loan Website here. 

  • View the SBA Disaster Loan Fact Sheet

  • View the Three Steps of the Disaster Loan Process 

  • Want to compare just PPP and EIDL and see how the EIDL Advance fits into the picture?​

  • Want to compare and contrast the the EIDL and EIDL Advance  to the other three (3) SBA Coronavirus Pandemic Disaster Loan programs?

  • Important items:

    • Incomplete submissions will delay the application process.​

    • If you do not already have a login, you can register to create an account. You will then be directed to the required application form.

    • Businesses will receive an app number once someone in the loan center enters your documents into the system.

    • If you started using the old system, upload a cover page and then complete and upload the unfinished documents noting the application number you were previously given on each page.

    • The disaster loan center will send out email notifications when the status changes on your application. 

    • Chrome browser seems to work best if you are having technical difficulties. 

2. Consider attending​ a webinar or workshop to ask questions.

  • The SBA District Offices across the country are holding no cost webinars  each day as long as there is a need, some in Spanish. 

    • Sign up via the SBA's list of upcoming webinars and look for "Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Overview for Small Business"

3. Assemble the Required Forms and apply


4. Want to check the status of your EIDL application?

  • You can check the status of your EIDL application on the SBA's website by clicking the green "Check Application Status" button 

  • Note: You  must have the username, password, and EIDL application # to login. 

Frequently asked EIDL questions: 

  1. My business just started recently. Am I eligible?

    • There is no minimum time that a business must have been open, but you must demonstrate that the disaster caused economic injury.

  2. What's the minimum credit score?

    • Credit score is considered, but our underwriters use a number of factors in evaluating applications. Check your credit report to make sure it's accurate.

  3. Where do I ask for how much money I want?

    • There is a blank narrative section on the loan application where you can indicate how much you would like, but SBA will make a determination based on your past sales and future projections.

    • If you’re approved, there will be an opportunity to request more funds later if needed.

  4. What if I own more than one business? What if my business has locations in more than one state?

    • Apply in the state where your headquarters or primary location is.

    • Additionally, if you have two similar businesses, apply together. If you have two different businesses – say, a restaurant and a staffing company -- apply separately.

  5. What collateral/personal guarantee is required?

    • Personal guarantees and collateral are required depending on the dollar amount of the loan requested.

    • See the application for the dollar amount thresholds for personal guarantee vs collateral required. 

    • Real estate is the preferred form of collateral, but machinery, equipment, and inventory will also be accepted.


Emergency Small Business Grant and Loan Assistant Initiatives for Illinois


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. 


View the DCEO presentation from 3/27 for a review of:

  • all three Illinois emergency assistance programs,

  • the SBA EID and PPP Loans, 

  • PPE donations,

  • Unemployment Insurance,

  • and more. 

Hospitality Emergency Grant Program

  • To help hospitality businesses make ends meet in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, DCEO is launching the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program with $14 million drawn from funds originally budgeted for job training, tourism promotion, and other purposes. 

  • Grant funds are available to support working capital like payroll and rent, as well as job training, retraining, and technology to support shifts in operations, like increased pick-up and delivery.

  • Bars and restaurants that generated between $500K and $1M in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $25,000.

  • Bars and restaurants that generated less than $500K in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $10,000. 

  • Hotels that generated less than $8M in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $50,000.​

  • View full details on the DCEO application website.


    • The application deadline for these awards has passed. Applications were due Wednesday April 1st at 5pm. Businesses that are selected to receive the grant will be notified by Accion, the program administrator, on April 4.

    • Winners will be chosen via a lottery, therefore, there was no benefit to submitting an application first as long as a valid, complete application is received by the deadline.

    • Accion and DCEO are striving to make funds available to awarded businesses within two days of receiving the necessary bank information from an awarded grantee.

    • The list of Grant Awardees are updated daily on the DCEO website

      • Once businesses have submitted final documents acknowledging the acceptance of the grant and these documents have been verified and cleared to award fund by the grant administrator, Accion the business will receive the grant funds.  

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. 

  • As of 4/17 update from the DCEO office: "Applications for the ISBEL are still open and lenders are continuing to review applications and approve loans as quickly as possible. However, the program does have a funding limit and is subject to the capacity of our lending partners." 


    • Review the Frequently Asked Questions before applying.

    • As of 6:00pm April 1st, businesses that submitted an expression of interest form have been contacted at the email address provided. Please check your junk, spam or promotions folders if you submitted the form and have not received a message.

    • For assistance with additional questions, please email

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.​

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

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

  • On 4/17 a webinar recording covering the Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program Guidebook and Application was added to the DCEO website. 

  • On 4/17 a webinar recording specifically for local governments was also added to the DCEO website


    • 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


U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation announced "Save Small Business Fund"

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is teaming up with a coalition of companies to establish the "Save Small Business Fund" to provide $5,000 grants. These grants will help employers get through the days and weeks ahead, because no business should have to close their doors as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Visit the Save Small Business Fund website for full details. 

  • Grant applications went live Monday 4/20/2020 at 2pm
    • As of 10am on 4/21 the website indicates they are no longer accepting applications.
    • "Due to the overwhelming response to this grant program, we have reached our capacity and we are not accepting new applicants at this time. We know these are difficult times, and we wish we could help everyone who needs it. You can find additional resources to help guide your business through this challenging time at"
  • Additional details:
    • The Fund is providing $5,000 in short-term relief to employers across the United States.
    • These one-time supplemental cash grants are for businesses that have between three and 20 employees.
    • Your business must be "located in an economically vulnerable community" as defined by the U.S. Chamber Foundation. Check your businesses zip code eligibility on their website
    • The application is short, and takes 10 minutes to complete and is managed by the U.S. Chamber of commerce, not the SBA or SBDC. 
    • All you need is your businesses's W-9 form. 
    • Grants will be awarded on a weekly basis, but you only need to apply one time to be eligible for funding. 
    • See FAQs on their website as well.  

Looking for webinars to get your questions answered?

With all the emergency assistance resources available, it can get confusing and overwhelming. Sometimes you just want a chance to ask your question that can't be found in a FAQ document or Fact Sheet. 


Check out the many reliable organizations that are putting on webinars below.  

  • Most require registration before the webinar and spaces fill up fast due to limited seats.
  • Check the webinar topics closely to see which assistance resources and topics will be discussed, some are highly focused on one topic while others are general overviews of many. 
  • All are no-cost. 

  1. The SBA District Offices across the country are holding webinars almost daily, as long as there is a need, some in Spanish.
  2. Visit the McLean County Chamber of Commerce Facebook page to see upcoming webinars and meetings with various local and state resources​
  3. Visit the SBDC of Champaign County Facebook page to see upcoming webinars on various topics
  4. Visit the SIU SBDC Facebook page to see upcoming webinars on various topics
  5. New as of 4/27: The NIFB is also providing weekly briefings for small businesses and answering how-to questions regarding PPP and EIDL via webinars
  6. New as of 4/27: America's SBDC Network is also offering webinars on a variety of topics each week. 

Emergency, Recovery, and Resiliency Plan Resources for Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

  1. COVID Recovery Guide for Businesses (in McLean County)

    • The Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council (EDC) released the this guide on April 7th 

    • View the full guide and additional resources for business owners

      • Note: The information in this guide is specific to McLean County, and  he resources and assistance programs listed are administered through state and federal agencies and you must apply through the appropriate channels listed in each section, not the EDC.

    • Visit for additional McLean County resources related to COVID-19

    • Visit for additional EDC information and resources. 

  2. COVID Recovery Guide for Residents (in McLean County)

    • The Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council (EDC) released the this guide on April 10th 

    • View the full guide and additional resources for residents

      • Note: The information in this guide is specific to McLean County, and the resources and assistance programs listed are administered through state and federal agencies and you must apply through the appropriate channels listed in each section, not the EDC.

    • Visit for additional McLean County resources related to COVID-19

    • Visit for additional EDC information and resources. 

  3. COVID-19 Emergency Resources for Businesses (in Illinois)​

  4. CARES Act Unemployment Benefits Expansion Package​ FAQs

    • The Illinois Dept of Employment Security (IDES) released an FAQ document on April 7th. 

      • Note: This document contains information specific to the following federally funded unemployment benefits expansions: Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), and the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). While these new expansions will financially help unemployed Illinoisans in the months to come, not everyone will be eligible for all the benefits contained in the package, and some benefits will not begin immediately.

    • New as of 4/23: An updated "part two" FAQ document was released by IDES on April 22nd

      • Note: This document answers additional questions that members of the General Assembly submitted and IDES is continuing to work on the remainder of the questions. 

    • Visit the IDES website for additional information.

  5. Small Business Resiliency Guide, Templates, and Webinar

    • America's SBDC and Grow with Google held a live webinar on April 14th to share these resources

      • View the 4 resources on  the America's SBDC "Protect your business" website 

      • Note: These four resources provide the foundation for an actionable business resilience plan that could mean the difference between business continuity or closure. Every business will fact an unexpected disruption at some point, and the planning you do now can mean the difference in how quickly, or whether, your business recovers

        • Small Business Resiliency Guide

        • Small Business Resiliency Template

        • Small Business Emergency Procedures Template

        • Recording of the Webinar​ 1 hour webinar

      • Note: These resources are created as general introductory resources and templates for small businesses across the country, and each small business owner must decide for themselves the best approach to remaining resilient and helping their business recover from business interruption such as the COVID-19 pandemic. ​

      • Visit the America's SBDC COVID-19 Small Business Resources website for additional resources, webinars, and information related to COVID-19

  6. COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide​

    • The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) ​released this guide on April 13th. 

    • View the full guide

      • Note: This guide contains information on funding opportunities identified in the CARES Act and other federal resources that can help support rural America. The opportunities are categorized by customer and assistance type. 

      • Visit the USDA's COVID-19 website for additional USDA resources and actions related to COVID-19


Illinois State Treasurer Small Business COVID-19 Relief Program

The state treasurer’s office has made $250 million available in bridge loans to small businesses through participating Illinois banks and credit unions. The financial institutions will determine who is eligible for the loans.

  • The Illinois State Treasurer has made $250 million in deposits available to financial institutions throughout the state, at near-zero rates, to assist Illinois small business and non-profits negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The Illinois State Treasurer's Office will partner with approved financial institutions to provide loans -- either lower rate loans, or loans to a business or non-profit that would not otherwise qualify -- to Illinois small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    • Eligible Illinois businesses or non-profits must: (1) have been shut down or limited due to COVID-19; (2) have less than $1 million in liquid assets or $8 million average annual receipts (per SBA standards); and (3) be headquartered in the state of Illinois or agree to use the funds in Illinois.

  • See full details of the program on the Illinois State Treasurer's website. 


The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

  • The FFCRA provides small and midsize employers refundable tax credits that reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing paid sick and family leave wages to their employees for leave related to COVID-19.

  • The FFCRA gives businesses with fewer than 500 employees (referred to throughout these FAQs as "Eligible Employers") funds to provide employees with paid sick and family and medical leave for reasons related to COVID-19, either for the employee's own health needs or to care for family members.

  • Workers may receive up to 80 hours of paid sick leave for their own health needs or to care for others and up to an additional ten weeks of paid family leave to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed or child care provider is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions.

  • The FFCRA covers the costs of this paid leave by providing small businesses with refundable tax credits. Certain self-employed individuals in similar circumstances are entitled to similar credits.

  • For a more detailed overview of FFCRA:


Illinois DCEO is calling for your support in donations of PPE items

Under the leadership of Erin Guthrie, Director, the Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) recognizes the tremendous impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having, not only on businesses, but our communities and families as well. Not surprisingly, during this challenge Illinoisans are stepping up and pulling together. Many businesses and organizations have already reached out to DCEO to offer support, donations and assistance in any way they can. Their contributions are much appreciated by us all.


DCEO is asking for your support on their DCEO website in providing our hospitals, Illinois doctors and first responders that are in desperate need of items. For donations of personal protective equipment, please email:


All donated items should be in the manufacture's original packaging and unopened. When emailing items available for donation to it is essential to list the items’ current location and exact quantity in an “each” type standard as opposed to boxes/pallet, etc. We will then be in touch about the next logistical steps. Please note that if you have smaller quantities of these items, you may redirect or donate to your nearby police, fire, and ambulance services in order to minimize your travel and other logistical steps with your donation.

For non-PPE items, tangible or financial - please email:

“Make”: Manufacturers who are ramping up or altering their operations to provide more essential items should contact the Illinois Manufacturers Association (IMA) at:

“Sell”: Wholesalers, suppliers, or manufacturers that already have items on hand to sell or will in the future, should contact:

The following items are in greatest need:

  • Masks: N-95, ear loop, procedural, or surgical

  • Gloves: Nitrile, sterile, or surgical

  • Gowns (impermeable)

  • Eye Protection: Face shields and goggles

  • Infection Control Kits

  • Hand Sanitizer: Any size

  • Disinfectant Wipes: Any size

  • Sanitizing wipes

  • Purple-top wipes

  • Hand sanitizers

  • Digital thermometers (forehead only) 

  • PAPR hoods

  • Ventilators – LTV1200 Vyaire/ReVel Carefusion or BiPAP v60 Phillips Respironics


Walmart has announced Open Call 2020 with applications open as of March 26, 2020

If you are a supplier of new, shelf-ready, U.S. made goods and are looking to sell your products with Walmart, consider joining an upcoming Pre-Open Call webinar.

  • Walmart's Pre-Open Call webinars will help potential applicants begin to understand:

    • What Open Call is and why Walmart hosts it

    • Walmart's minimum requirements for suppliers

    • Preparing to pitch your product

    • How to do business with Walmart

  • Attending this webinar will not guarantee a successful Open Call application, but it will help businesses be better prepared in the event they apply and are invited to attend.

  • Register to join a Pre-Open Call Webinar

  • Learn more at the Walmart "JUMP" portal or view the Open Call 2020 Sheet


The LOOK UP! Initiative to provide free custom industry financial and local market intelligence 

One of America's SBDC Network's trusted resources, Bizminer, has announced the LOOK UP! Initiative to help small business owners.


Their goal is to provide at least 100,000 small businesses with custom industry financial and local market intelligence. This information is designed to help you navigate and plan their re-entry into the post-crisis market. 

  • Visit Bizminer's LOOK UP! Initiative website for full details and learn more

  • There’s no cost, no catch and no up sell. This is being offered as a public service. 

  • Bizminer is an established provider of high-quality analytics to thousands of professional and academic licensees.

  • Bizminer will provide you with two high quality reports that, with a few selections and inputs from you, will equip your business with operational, financial and local market comparisons to your competition.

  • Bizminer will provide you with unique custom data and a narrative that quantifies the opportunities and challenges facing your business.

  • You will even receive a Vestimate®-Plus, a soft value range for your business that is in the middle sophistication tier of our three popular valuation products.


Additional Business Assistance Programs 


The SBA, the Illinois SBDC Network, and our center are working with public health and elected officials to make sure you have up-to-date information and that your concerns are heard. 

Here is some general guidance for small business owners:

PIVOT - Rethink your strategies of how you operate:

  • Do you have any services that may be especially helpful to people now? (ie. delivery, meals to go etc.) 

  • Can you telecommunicate? Phone, Zoom, Google Meet, Face Time etc.  

  • Do you sell gift certificates? If not, would you like to? (If you do sell gift certificates, how can people purchase them?) 

  • What forms of payment do you currently accept? (ie. cash, card, Venmo, Apple Pay etc.) 

  • Communicate about your operation changes (like hours or products/service changes) regularly with your employees, partners, and customers. 

  • Use social media or email to engage with customers virtually and keep the business brand vibrant and "top of mind.

  • Communicate with your vendors and suppliers often and early. 

  • Continue to monitor official communications from the CDC and McLean County Health Department. 

PLAN – Prepare for future needs and restoration of service:

  • Watch your business and personal spending;  set aside reserves. 

  • Analyze budget to identify cost efficiencies, and ways to maximize cash flow. 

  • Update slate of financial statements including cash flow, balance sheet, and income statement in preparation for potential financing applications and emergency subsidies. 

  • Consider forming or joining with other small businesses in a mutual aid peer support association. 

  • Review and confirm your business continuity plan, or create one if you don’t have on

  • Contact your business insurance agent if you have "interruption coverage" on your business insurance policy. 

  • Contact additional business professionals (such as attorney, banker, and accountant) to evaluate options (such as applying for a SBA Disaster Loan) to mitigate financial losses or hardship.

If you are NOT currently a client, and wish to make an appointment, you MUST fill out the appointment request form and our advisor will contact you as soon as possible. 

If you ARE a client, contact us via email and we will respond as soon as possible

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.