BIGGrants2 FBCHICAGO – After yesterday’s launch of the Business Interruption Grant program, State Senator Emil Jones III (D-Chicago) encourages local businesses to apply for more than $540 million in grants.

“Businesses in disproportionately impacted areas were already in desperate waters, and it’s satisfying that the majority of these grants will be aimed towards helping restore these communities,” Jones said. “It’s important that opportunities continue to come to these neighborhoods, because they are ones who need it the most.”

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will offer $60 million in grants for the first round of BIG funding to small businesses harmed by the pandemic, many of whom have also seen damage as a result of recent civil unrest. The funds are intended to help small businesses stay viable through the pandemic, offset the cost of closures and restricted operations, and ensure they have the resources to reopen safely.

Among other specific programs, DCEO plans to disburse $20 million across 1,000 grants of $20,000 each to businesses in disproportionately impacted areas with recent significant property damage. To qualify for these grants, businesses must have:

  • Brought in under $2 million in revenue in 2019, or a prorated amount if in business for less than a year;
  • Been in operation for at least three months prior to March 2020;
  • Experienced costs or losses of at least $20,000 since the Stay at Home order was put in place on March 21, 2020, due to closure or reduced operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; and
  • Experienced recent property damage, exacerbating the economic impacts of COVID-19.

DCEO and its grant administration partners are scheduled to post applications this week for review and questions. Applications will be accepted June 24 through July 1. Applicants who are selected for the grants should hear from grant administration partners by early July, and grants are scheduled to be disbursed by the end of July.

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