Aid to Small Businesses

Technical Assistance Webinars and Events     

The Pritzker administration is offering 100 virtual events and webinars to small businesses through the end of February to provide assistance with applying for the PPP. 

These webinars will also offer general technical assistance and provide information for businesses seeking assistance on EIDL, the upcoming EIDL Advance, and SVO grant programs, as well as other resources tailored to small businesses.

Businesses are also encouraged to reach out to learn about how to apply and qualify for aid by working with our SBDCs, regional economic development teams or by contacting community navigator partners, which are grassroots organizations who know their own communities. Together, we are offering a comprehensive menu of technical assistance and support for businesses who may have traditionally faced barriers in accessing federal funding.

For more information on how you or your small business can get free, 1:1 assistance with applying for the PPP, get in touch with DCEO today or sign up for any one of the 100 upcoming webinars being held from now through February.

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

The passage of additional federal COVID-19 stimulus by Congress in December 2020 sets into motion the availability of several new or extended financial assistance programs geared toward small businesses. Here is an overview of what’s available or coming down the pike.

Paycheck Protection Program

Another round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has been authorized, making $284 billion available for businesses to use toward job retention and certain other expenses including rent, payroll, mortgage, and utilities through May 31, 2021. The legislation also created a Second Draw PPP Loan for certain eligible borrowers that previously received a PPP loan to apply for a second loan with the same general loan terms as their First Draw PPP Loan.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) resumed accepting PPP applications on January 11, 2021. To promote access to capital for minority-, underserved-, veteran- and women-owned small business concerns, initially only community financial institutions will be able to make First Draw PPP Loans on Monday, January 11, 2021, and Second Draw PPP Loans on Wednesday, January 13, 2021. SBA will be reopening the PPP loan portal to PPP-eligible lenders with $1 billion or less in assets for First and Second Draw applications on Friday, January 15th, 2021 at 9am ET.  The portal will fully open on Tuesday, January 19th, 2021 to all participating PPP lenders to submit First and Second Draw loan applications to SBA.Beginning in January, DCEO will host outreach and training virtual events to help connect more Illinois small businesses with resources needed to apply and qualify for the current round of PPP. Check DCEO’s page for updates.

For more information including eligibility an application procedures, please visit the SBA’s website: SBA Paycheck Protection Program


Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

Eligible small businesses, private non-profits, and U.S. agricultural businesses can apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) on a rolling basis. The EIDL program is designed to provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

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 (EIDL) of up to $2 million per business.

Additionally, the EIDL Advance was a grant program offered together with the economic injury loan program. All available funds for the EIDL Advance from the initial authorization have been allocated. The additional federal pandemic aid passed on December 27th, 2020, authorized $20 billion for new Targeted EIDL Advance grants to small businesses in low-income communities.

For more information on EIDL and future availability of Targeted EIDL Advances for small businesses, please visit the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) website: Economic Injury Disaster Loans


Shuttered Venue Operators

The Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act (Economic Aid Act) passed on December 27, 2020 authorizes $15 billion for a new Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) Grant for eligible theatrical producers, talent representatives, venue promoters, live venue operators, live performing arts organizations, movie houses, and cultural institutions that have been impacted by COVID-19. Eligible organizations with a reduction in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic will have the opportunity to receive up to a $10 million grant under the program.

For more information, please visit the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) website: Shuttered Venue Operator Grant (SVOG)

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Business Interruption Grants Program (BIG)

Launched in June, the Business Interruption Grants (BIG) program concluded in December, providing $275 million and nearly 9,000 grants to small businesses in communities across the state. BIG, the largest program of its kind in the nation, leverages federal funding provided by the CARES Act to help offset COVID-19 related losses for Illinois small businesses.

Using an equity framework to distribute these funds, the State of Illinois provided awards to small businesses located in industries and geographies hardest hit by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. As a result, nearly half of the awards were made to businesses in economically disadvantaged areas, 80 percent of funds were made to businesses with $1 million or less in annual revenues, and 40 percent of awards were made to minority-owned businesses statewide. Additionally, $105 million or 3,100 awards were provided to downstate communities.

DCEO and grant administrators reviewed nearly 40,000 unique applications for funding, and the program was implemented on a rolling basis, issuing on average hundreds of awards per week.

The average award for BIG was $30,000, with funding amounts were tailored to the amount of losses incurred. BIG grants may be used to help businesses with working capital expenses, including payroll costs; rent; utilities; and other operational costs.

To view a list of BIG grants made, for more on eligibility, or to review our FAQ – please visit the BIG program page.

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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. Since its launch, the RDC program has completed a first round of funding and is currently accepting applications for a second round, with a deadline of January 21st.

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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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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.