Aid to Small Businesses

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Business Interruption Grants Program (BIG)

Round 1 is closed, and the first wave of funds have been released. See a full list of grant recipients and view the latest fact sheet. Round 2 is now open.

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is launching the second round of Business Interruption Grants (BIG) by providing $220 million for all types of small businesses, particularly those downstate, that have been unable to reopen or operate due to COVID-19. The BIG Program is available for up to 3,500 businesses that experienced a limited ability to operate due to COVID-19 related closures.

The total program funding will amount to at least $540 million in grants for small businesses, $270 million of which has been set aside for childcare providers and is funded by the CARES Act.

Businesses eligible for the program must have experienced extreme hardship, demonstrated by experiencing eligible costs or losses in excess of the grant amount since March.

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Rebuild Distressed Communities Program

The Rebuild Distressed Communities (RDC) 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.

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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.

Please note that this loan is temporarily not accepting new applicants at this time.

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Downstate Small Business Stabilization Fund

To support small businesses in downstate and rural counties across Illinois, DCEO is repurposing $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.

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Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loans & Economic Injury Disaster Loans

The State of Illinois has received its statewide Economic Injury Declaration which means small businesses in all 102 Illinois counties may be eligible for low-interest, economic injury disaster loans up to $2M per business. Learn more at the link below.


Economic Injury Disaster Loans

Notice: On June 15, SBA resumed accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) applications from all eligible small businesses, private non-profits and U.S. agricultural businesses. To learn more about eligibility and apply, click here.

In addition to existing loans available under the SBA for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), advance grants up to $10,000 can be made to provide immediate relief for small business operating costs for entities that apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan. Funds will be made within three days of a successful application.

*Please note: businesses CANNOT receive an economic disaster loan and a Paycheck Protection Program loan for the same purpose. If you take advantage of an emergency EIDL grant advance up to $10,000, that amount is subtracted from the amount forgiven up to the Paycheck Protection loan. Businesses can also refinance an EIDL into the Paycheck Protection loan for loan forgiveness purposes. Remaining portions of the EIDL, for purposes other than those laid out in loan forgiveness for a Paycheck Protection loan, remain a loan.*

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Paycheck Protection Program

With the passage of additional federal stimulus funding, the SBA resumed accepting Paycheck Protection Program applications on Monday, April 27th. An additional $310 billion in funding is available for loans to eligible entities to help small businesses and non-profits maintain their existing workforce and pay for expenses like rent, payroll, mortgage and utilities.

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Subsidies for Current Loan Payments

The SBA will automatically pay the principal, fees, and interest that is owed on certain existing loans for a period of six months. Interest will continue to accrue on the loans.

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Cook County

Community Recovery Fund

Cook County’s Bureau of Economic Development has launched The Community Recovery Fund . This loan fund offers one-time, zero-interest loans of up to $20,000 for small businesses and $10,000 for independent contractors in suburban Cook County. Loans will be administered by the Chicago Community Loan Fund and provided by a network of community lenders. Applications opened mid-April on a first-come, first-serve basis.