State Announces Back to Business Grant Program

By: Ashmar Mandou

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - BusinessThe Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and Governor JB Pritzker announced on Wednesday the $250 million Back to Business (B2B) grant program to support the continued recovery of small businesses across Illinois. The program builds on last year’s Business Interruption Grant program, which provided $580 million to small businesses and childcare providers across the state. The state is also providing a $9 million investment to grow the proven community navigator program, providing a robust network of community organizations to conduct outreach and provide technical assistance in the hardest hit communities. DCEO and community navigators will immediately begin working to provide businesses with information on required steps to apply, allowing them time to prepare before the application formally opens on August 18, 2021 – one week from today.

To reach the most vulnerable businesses, the State of Illinois has invested in an expansive outreach support infrastructure – grounded by a $9 million investment to grow the proven community navigator program. DCEO and partners will conduct outreach and mobilize resources to remove any barriers that they may face. To find a community navigator near you, please visit B2B seeks to restore operational losses incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic and will provide grants ranging in size from $5,000-$150,000, commensurate with the amount of losses experienced. To be considered for a grant, applicants must demonstrate a reduction in revenue in 2020 as compared with 2019, and annual revenues of no more than $20 million in 2019.  Businesses must also provide two bank statements, a business owner ID, and federal tax returns for 2019 and 2020.

“Cook County is honored to be a recipient of DCEO’s Community Navigator Grant as a part of the State’s Back to Business initiative. It will add to the County’s ongoing efforts to address the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 and the inequities amplified by the pandemic in our most vulnerable communities,” said Cook County Board of Commissioners President Preckwinkle. “Strategic, community-informed outreach represents a critical piece in connecting business owners and residents with information, and this grant will allow us to continue to meet small business owners where they are in this moment. This is equity in action.”
“This program will offer small minority owned businesses a real opportunity to apply for funds that are essential to their long-term well-being, and to the state’s strong economic resurgence after the pandemic,” said Jaime di Paulo, President and CEO of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “As a community navigator, I’m glad we will be able to assist businesses with submitting complete applications to ensure they receive a fair shot at a grant.”

“This is the shot in the arm that our small businesses need to continue to grow and once again thrive in this COVID-era economy.  And when our small businesses thrive, so do our communities,” said Assistant Majority Leader Elizabeth Hernandez.

For more information on B2B, how to apply and where to access small business assistance, please visit

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

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