ECC Is Among 7 New Small Business Centers Created To Support COVID-19 Grants

ECC Is Among 7 New Small Business Centers Created To Support COVID-19 Grants

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has opened seven new Small Business Development Centers around the state — including one at Elgin Community College.

The IDCEO made an $11.5 million investment to the SBDC program to add the new community-based centers and expand the reach of existing SBDCs — bringing the statewide network to a total of 42 locations.

Waubonsee Community College in Aurora is among the existing SBDC sites.

With many businesses facing losses amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, SBDCs play a critical role in providing businesses with support needed to apply and qualify for state and federal emergency assistance programs.

“With many Illinois businesses currently facing unprecedented burdens as a result of COVID-19 and recent civil unrest, our SBDC community partners can be a lifeline for businesses working to reopen safely,” said Michael Negron, Acting Director of DCEO. “Our SBDCs are essential to the work we do day in and day out to help Illinois small businesses succeed.”

Negron said the seven new locations were selected “as part of a robust competitive process,” which required a review of programmatic capacity and ensured host organizations were able to provide matching. Additionally, the review process evaluated geographic needs throughout the system, to ensure coverage and access to SBDCs in areas throughout the state.

As a result of new investments, the following brand new SBDC locations have opened or will launch in July:

  • Elgin Community College – Elgin
  • Puerto Rican Cultural Center – Chicago
  • Joliet Junior College – Joliet
  • South Shore Chamber of Commerce – Chicago
  • Build Bronzeville/Urban Juncture Foundation – Chicago
  • Rogers Park Business Alliance – Chicago
  • Chinese Mutual Aid Association – Chicago

A total $11.5 million investment to the program, which includes $6.4 million investment by the state and the U.S. Small Business Administration paired with $5.1 million in matching funds from partner organizations. This will support the launch of new locations as well as 35 existing centers throughout the state to ensure thousands of businesses and communities have access to no-cost resources available at SBDCs.

New and existing SBDCs are available to help support businesses with applications for the newest relief programs introduced by the state: Business Interruption Grants Program (BIG) and the Rebuild Distressed Communities programs. These programs prioritize assistance for businesses that have experienced significant losses or business interruption due to the pandemic and recent civil unrest.

Many of the newest SBDCs are located in or near disproportionately impacted areas  – which are given preference as part of the new BIG and Rebuild Distressed Communities programs. Applications for these programs are due on July 7 and can be found on DCEO’s website.

Throughout the crisis, SBDCs have been working on the front lines with small businesses to help them access economic assistance to help make payroll, address urgent operational needs to pull through these unprecedented times so they safely reopen. These investments since March have helped approximately 324 unique businesses get access to an estimated $30 million in grants and loans from state and federal programs.

The SBDC program is a statewide network focused solely on supporting Illinois businesses and entrepreneurs in starting, growing and maintaining their businesses at no cost. In addition to assistance with grants, SBDCs provide professional one-on-one confidential small business advising and guidance, education, training, business plan development, financial analysis and assistance with access to capital, and more, for start-ups and existing small businesses.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pritzker administration has put in place a menu of new programming and policies geared toward residents, small businesses and communities hit hardest by the virus.  Over the past several weeks, DCEO and the Illinois SBDCs have launched over $150 million in small business relief and assistance programs. For more information on eligibility and how to apply for BIG or Rebuild Distressed Communities, visit DCEO’s website.

For more information on where to find a statewide list of SBDC locations, visit:

Additional Illinois SBDCs Statewide

  • Bradley University — Peoria
  • Champaign County EDC — Champaign                     
  • Chicagoland Chamber — Chicago                       
  • Danville Area Community College — Danville                      
  • College of DuPage — Glen Ellyn
  • College of Lake County — Grayslake                    
  • Economic Strategies Dev Corp (ESDC) — Chicago                      
  • Far South CDC — Chicago                       
  • Greater Englewood CDC — Chicago                       
  • Greater SW Dev Corp (GSDC) — Chicago                      
  • 36 Squared — Chicago                      
  • Harper College — Schaumburg
  • IL Hispanic CC (IHCC) — Chicago                      
  • Illinois Wesleyan University — Bloomington
  • Industrial Council of NW CHI (ICNC) — Chicago                      
  • Joseph Business School — Forest Park
  • Lincoln Land Community College — Springfield                  
  • McHenry County College — McHenry                      
  • Rockford Chamber of Commerce — Rockford                     
  • Sauk Valley Community College — Dixon
  • Shawnee Community College — Ullin
  • Southeastern Illinois College — Harrisburg                   
  • SSEGI — East Hazel Crest                        
  • SIU-Carbondale — Carbondale                   
  • SIU-Edwardsville — Edwardsville                 
  • SIU-E East St. Louis Satellite — East St. Louis
  • Starved Rock Country Alliance — Streator                     
  • West Side Forward — Chicago                      
  • WIU-Macomb — Macomb                       
  • WIU-Quad Cities — Moline
  • Waubonsee Community College — Aurora  
  • WBDC — Chicago                      
  • South Suburbs — Richton Park
  • Little Village Chamber of Commerce — Chicago                      
  • YWCA Metro Chicago — Chicago