Our center is OPEN, and providing support virtually!

We have organized our resources and information relevant to McLean County small business owners by topic heading below.

You can either scroll down the page to view each section or click a link in this list to be jumped to the corresponding section. We update this page regularly as we learn of new information and resources, so check back frequently. 

  1. Consulting and Coaching Services

  2. commUNITY - McLean County Business Confidence Initiative 

  3. Civil Unrest Impact Form - IL Dept of Commerce & Economic Opportunity 

  4. Pantagraph Advertising Grant Program 

  5. Free Online Career Training Available - Coursera

  6. McLean County Board's 2 Financial Assistance Programs

  7. McLean County and State of Illinois Resources for Small Business Recovery 

  8. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP SBA 7a) - Application re-opened as of 7/6

  9. SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) & EIDL Advance - Application re-opened as of 6/15

  10. Illinois Emergency Small Business Grant and Loan Assistance - Two new programs as of 6/22

  11. ​Looking for webinars to attend to get your questions answered?

  12. Small Business Resiliency Guide, Templates, and Webinar

  13. Federal Rural Resource Guide from USDA

  14. Illinois State Treasurer Small Business COVID-19 Relief Program

  15. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)​

  16. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - can your business donate, make, or sell PPE?​

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

  18. Additional Financial Assistance Programs​

  19. Be aware of Coronavirus scams

  20. Advice for small business owners on how to "Pivot and Plan" during times of change


Consulting and Coaching Services

Legacy Consulting & Research Group LLC integrates psychological principles and leadership skills to help individuals and teams thrive. This team specializes in consulting and coaching services to help increase multicultural competence, resilience, occupational thriving, and psychological well-being. 

  • Every day we are connecting with members of our local and global community to enhance occupational thriving. We believe that the greatest asset to any organization is their people. The individual worker’s ability to thrive is why we continue to research, write, and engage in social-scientific consulting and coaching services.

  • We always start our work by building relationships with our clients and ensuring them that we are committed to providing excellent and meaningful services. 

  • All of our services are customized to best fit your situation. Whether that is a client who is seeking an individual Talent/Career Assessment to an organization that is looking for a Keynote Speaker on Diversity, Resilience, or Thriving at Work.

  • Services include: 

    • Keynote Speaking- We specialize on engaging talks that cover Multicultural Competence, Diversity & Inclusion, Resilience, Leadership, and Thriving at Work.

    • Leader Development Workshops- We provide customized workshops that is comprised of lecture, active learning, question & answer, and participation.

    • Research and Evaluation- Program Evaluation, Study Design, Survey Construction, Statistical Analyses, and Data Collection/Management.

    • Executive & Individual Coaching- Our team of Consulting Psychologist meet with executives and individuals to increase their leadership effectiveness.

    • Talent & Career Assessments- We help individuals and teams identify cognitive, personality, and occupational strengths and limitations by utilizing reliable and valid testing instruments. 

  • Visit their website, email or call at 877-358-4200 to learn more


commUNITY - McLean County Business Confidence Initiative   

Championed by the McLean County Chamber of Commerce and local partner organizations, commUNITY is a locally based campaign centered around supporting McLean County businesses and organizations while promoting community togetherness.

  • By encouraging businesses to adhere to a set of guidelines to promote safety, commUNITY helps bolster consumer confidence and redefines customer relationships in the age of COVID-19.

  • Businesses that agree to uphold a certain level of safety and sanitation will make an online pledge and receive a vinyl window decal to display at their store to show that they're part of the #commUNITYConfident program.

  • View the #commUNITYConfident Pledge.

  • Participating businesses will also be listed on the commUNITY website and will soon be able to downloadable interior signage, social media graphics, and website icons to help promote their store or organization as a safe place for all.

  • Questions can be sent to the McLean County Chamber of Commerce:


Civil Unrest Impact Form 

From the Illinois Dept of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) on 6/8/2020: 

  • The DCEO is working with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) who can provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by civil unrest in counties who have received a disaster declaration through SBA.

  • If your business has experienced an impact due to the civil unrest, including property damage or other losses due to civil unrest closure, we ask that you please take a moment to fill out this form so we can provide the necessary information to the SBA.

  • To obtain these special business loans for small businesses and non-profits in our communities, SBA must first issue a disaster declaration. For counties to qualify, businesses must first document their damages from the protests and looting and share this information with SBA.

    • Please note: The form is not an application for funding and information obtained will not be used for or against businesses should they decide to later submit an application for a loan through SBA.

    • Questions regarding this effort by the DCEO can be directed to the First Stop Business Information Center via email or call the toll-free helpline at 1.800.252.2923.


Pantagraph Advertising Grant Program

Pantagraph Media has announced a Free Advertising Grant Money Program for local businesses.

  • Businesses that apply will qualify for a FREE Advertising Package – no strings attached!

  • Applicants will also be given the option to take advantage of their Matching Grant Program.

  • The Matching Grant Program gives you the opportunity to enhance your current ad campaigns and the Pantagraph will match you dollar for dollar.

  • This helps you promote your business in ways that matter most to you right now. This includes:

    • Website Design

    • Social Media Management

    • Google PPC (Pay-Per-Click)

    • Targeted Digital Display

    • Connected TV

    • Programmatic Audio

    • Email Marketing

    • Pantagraph & Campaigns

    • and more


This program is available on a first come, first serve basis.

  • Learn more about the program and apply on their website. 

  • The Pantagraph has already received over 100 applications.

  • The application only takes about 2 minutes to complete.

  • Once you submit the application, you’ll hear back from the Pantagraph within 48 hours.


Free Online Career Training Available - Coursera 

Through Coursera's Workforce Recovery Initiative, impacted workers in the state of Illinois will be able to access online Information Technology (IT) business and job readiness courses that will credential and prepare them for new jobs and careers. 

  • This new partnership with Coursera makes Illinois one of the first states in the nation to make free courses available to unemployed workers through the program.

  • Registration for Coursera Workforce Recovery Initiative will be available for Illinois residents from now through September on Coursera's website. 

    • All courses must be completed by December 31, 2020. 

    • Upon completion of the program, participants may earn an industry recognized credential as well as information about continuing to build upon their new skills through continued education at their local community college.


McLean County Board's 2 Financial Assistance Programs

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 


McLean County and State of Illinois Resources for Small Businesses Recovery 

1. Recovery Guides and Resources for Businesses in McLean County

  • The Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council (EDC) released the the COVID Recovery Guide for Business on April 7th 

    • 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.

  • The McLean County Chamber of Commerce released the Reopening Your Business in the Age of COVID-19 guide on May 7th. 

    • Please be advised that some or all of the information contained in this document may not be applicable to some businesses or places of work and may not include all information necessary for certain businesses and places of work.

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

    • Applications for restaurants to serve food outside for the town of Normal and city of Bloomington. ​

  • Visit for additional EDC information and resources. 


2. COVID-19 Emergency Resources for Businesses in Illinois​


3. Restore Illinois Guidelines for Reopening Business (in Illinois)

  • On May 5th, Governor Pritzker released Restore Illinois, a five-phased plan that will reopen our state, guided by health metrics and with marked by distinct business, education, and recreation activities characterizing each phase.

    • The Restore Illinois plan recognizes that the economy will start growing again when consumers feel that it is safe to return to work, shop and dine out, and engage in social and recreational activities. Under the Restore Illinois framework, certain businesses and activities are allowed to resume in Phase 3 with IDPH-approved safety guidance in place.

  • The State of Illinois has developed a Phase 3 Business Toolkit complete with signage, training checklists, and other resources to ensure business and activities are conducted in accordance with the latest and greatest public health recommendations.

    • Phase 3 guidelines span 10 different industry categories. Each set of guidelines includes a common set of guidelines that are expected and encouraged among all employers and activity types, as well as workplace and program-specific guidelines.

    • Common Guidelines for all Phase 3 Businesses and Operations to follow can be found in the Phase 3 Business Toolkit.

  • The IL DCEO released a this FAQs for Businesses regarding specific impacts and guidelines by industry on May 28th. 

  • If you have specific questions or comments about how Phase 3 affects your business or employees, please contact DCEO for direct support:

4. CARES Act Unemployment Benefits Expansion Package​ FAQs

  • To view frequently asked questions regarding unemployment visit the Illinois Dept of Employment Security (IDES) website.

    • The FAQ section addresses questions on: insurance eligibility, filing a claim, certifying a claim to receive benefits, exhausting benefits and receiving an extension, the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) incrase of $600 to  benefits, and employer considerations. 

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

  • 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. 


The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) SBA 7a

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

  • As of 7/6/20:  The PPP resumed accepting applications after legislation extending the program was signed by the President. 

  • New rules announced 6/8/20: Updated rules and guidance, a modified borrower application form and a modified loan forgiveness application will be provided in the near future. In the meantime, a summary of the rule changes is below.

    • Extend the covered period for loan forgiveness from eight weeks after the date of loan disbursement to 24 weeks after the date of loan disbursement, providing substantially greater flexibility for borrowers to qualify for loan forgiveness.  

      • Borrowers who have already received PPP loans retain the option to use an eight-week covered period.

    • Lower the requirements from 75% down to 60% percent of a borrower’s loan proceeds must be used for payroll costs during the 24-week loan forgiveness covered period. 

      • If a borrower uses less than 60% of the loan amount for payroll costs during the forgiveness covered period, the borrower will continue to be eligible for partial loan forgiveness, subject to at least 60% of the loan forgiveness amount having been used for payroll costs.

    • For a full list of updated rules visit the SBA's PPP website.

Want to familiarize yourself further with the Paycheck Protection Program?

  1. 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.

  2. Visit the SBA's PPP website and review the FAQs for Lenders and Borrowers

  3. Review the Affiliation Rules for PPP 

  4. Review the PPP Interim Final Rule as of 6/12 (and revisions to the First Interim Final Rule)

  5. The SBA is also providing informational materials in other languages to assist non-English speakers with completing their applications. 

    • Please note: Many SBA programs, including the Paycheck Protection Program, require you to work with a bank, credit union, or other types of lenders that may not be able to accept materials or provide customer support in languages other than English.  Thus, applications must be submitted in English. All documents provided are for informational purposes only.

  6. Review these Fact Sheets from the Dept of the Treasury based on your role:

  7. 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. 

  8. Review these additional resources:

Ready to Apply for the PPP?

  • Access the PPP Borrower Application on the SBA's website - updated 6/24

  • Make sure you have reviewed the information and resources listed above. 

Ready to complete your PPP Loan Forgiveness Application?

Want help understanding how to account for your EIDL or PPP funds? 

New: Want to see the summary data on PPP funds issued as of 7/8/20?

  • Over 4.8 million PPP loans have been approved totaling over $521 billion in funds.

    • The average loan size is $106,542 with 5,460 lenders participating with the SBA to issue these loans

  • For full data as of 7/6/20 and a break down of the loans issued above and below $150,000 by state, visit the SBA's website


The SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)

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.

  • View full details on SBA's Disaster Loan website 


    • As of 6/15, the SBA has begun accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance applications from qualified small businesses and U.S. agricultural businesses.

      • SBA has resumed processing EIDL applications that were submitted before the portal stopped accepting new applications on April 15 and will be processing these applications on a first-come, first-served basis.

    • Applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.

      • For agricultural businesses that submitted an EIDL application through the streamlined application portal prior to the legislative change, SBA will process these applications without the need for re-applying.

    • Agricultural businesses includes those businesses engaged in the production of food and fiber, ranching, and raising of livestock, aquaculture, and all other farming and agricultural related industries (as defined by section 18(b) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 647(b)).

    • SBA is encouraging all eligible agricultural businesses with 500 or fewer employees wishing to apply to begin preparing their business financial information needed for their application. 

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 (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?  

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

  • 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?


    • 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. Assemble the Required Forms and apply


3. 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 your username, password, and EIDL application # to login. 


Illinois Emergency Small Business Grant and Loan Assistant Initiatives


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 6/17: Business Interruption Grant (BIG) Program

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will launch the first round of Business Interruption Grants (BIG) on Monday, June 22 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.

    • 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:

    • Businesses in DIAs - $20 million for businesses that are located in a subset of DIAs that have recently experienced significant property damage, providing 1,000 grants of $20,000 each

    • Bars and Restaurants - $20 million for bars and restaurants unable to offer outside service, providing at least 1,000 grants of up to $20,000 each

    • Barbershops and Salons - $10 million for barbershops and salons, providing 1,000 grants of $10,000 each

    • Gyms and Fitness Centers - $10 million for gyms and fitness centers that have lost significant revenue due to COVID-19, providing 500 grants of $20,000 each

  • Visit the IL DCEO website for updates and the application will be made available on Monday, June 22.

New as of 6/17: 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 for the Distressed Capital Program with a NOFO made available on Monday, June 22 on the IL DCEO website.

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 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

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.


    • 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, 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


    • 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


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. The NIFB is also providing webinars and weekly briefings for small businesses and answering how-to questions regarding PPP and EIDL 

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


Federal Rural Resource Guide​ from USDA


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

  • View the full COVID-19 Federal Rural Resoruce 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 ​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:


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - Can your business donate, make, or sell PPE? 

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


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 Financial Assistance Programs 

  • LISC of Central Illinois - Small Business Rescue Fund:

    • The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) of Central Illinois created a fund that will enable both loans to be deployed to small businesses, nonprofits and CDFIs supporting small businesses for their most urgent needs, including operational costs like paying employees, vendors, and rent. The Fund will target the following entities:

      • Women, minority, and veteran-led small businesses that provide vital goods, services, and jobs in communities most in danger of permanent closure;

      • Nonprofit social enterprises with revenues of less than $5 million, and;

      • Smaller CDFIs with missions to support small businesses.

    • Loans will range from $75,000-$250,000 to rapidly inject working capital into businesses where they need it most, with real estate loans up to $500,000.

      • This product will be 2% Interest-Only for the initial 12 months, then principal & interest (up to 6.75%) for the remainder of term (up to 48 months).

      • Funds can be used for working capital, equipment, inventory, tenant improvements, real estate purchases, debt financing, etc..

      • Borrowers need to have been in operation for at least three years and must provide basic documentation such as tax returns and a plan of how proceeds will address the impact of     COVID-19.

    • Learn more about LISC of Central Illinois at their website:

    • Learn more about the program requirements and submit an application via their website:


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

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

  • Don’t respond to texts, emails or calls about checks from the government. Here’s what you need to know.

  • Ignore offers for vaccinations and home test kits. Scammers are selling products to treat or prevent COVID-19 without proof that they work.

  • Be wary of ads for test kits. Most test kits being advertised have not been approved by the FDA, and aren’t necessarily accurate.

  • Hang up on robocalls. Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from low-priced health insurance to work-at-home schemes.

  • Watch for emails claiming to be from the CDC or WHO. Use sites like and to get the latest information. 

  • Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know, they could be phishing scams. 

  • Do your homework when it comes to donations. Never donate in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money.


View what the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is doing about scams and more on the FTC website. 


Advice for small business owners on how to "Pivot and Plan" during times of change.

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.