Small-business grants still available
Millions of dollars are still available through the Business Interruption Grant (BIG) Program for businesses who have been financially impacted by COVID-19 closures.
The Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program is a $636 million program that provides economic relief for small businesses hit hardest by COVID-19. BIG leverages federal funding provided by the CARES Act to help offset COVID-19 related losses for Illinois small businesses. Funding may be used to help businesses with working capital expenses, including payroll costs; rent; utilities; and other operational costs.
The application for the second round of Business Interruption Grants (BIG) is live on the DCEO website.
In this round, nearly all businesses and non-profits with an annual revenue under $20 million are eligible to apply for the $220 million available. While nearly all are eligible, certain types of businesses will take priority or have set asides in funding:
- Heavily Impacted Industries ($60 million): businesses that have been nearly shut down such as event spaces, performing arts venues, museums, movie theaters, and other indoor and high contact recreational facilities.
- Priority Businesses apart from the industries above. These are businesses that:
- Were directly affected by regional mitigations implemented by the state or local governments (so far in Region 4 and 7)
- Did not receive PPP or other forms of emergency aid
- Are independently owned retail, tourism or hospitality-related, and other hard-hit industries.
- Have less than $5 million in annual revenue
- Experienced revenue losses exceeding 50% since March
While businesses in every corner of the state will be eligible to apply, two geographic factors will get priority:
- Disproportionately Impacted Areas ($70 million), the map can be found on the DCEO website here.
- Downstate Businesses ($100 million), which means those not located in Cook, Lake, DuPage, Kane, and Will counties.
- The application is live here. The overview page can help answer many questions. Detailed eligibility criteria can be found here.