State officials announced the latest in a series of grants made available for small businesses in Illinois suffering losses as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as well as communities impacted by the recent civil unrest.
Applications for the second round of the Business Interruption Grants program will be made available starting Thursday afternoon (Sept. 17, 2020) and will offer $220 million in funds for small businesses hit hardest by the ongoing pandemic.
More than half of the funds earmarked for businesses downstate. However, Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity Senior Account Manager Joseph McKeown emphasized that the latest wave of funding includes the following provisions to ensure a wide distribution of funds geographically and across business type:
Heavily Impacted Industries — $60 million for heavily distressed industries, such as movie theaters, performing arts venues, concert venues, indoor recreation, amusement parks, event spaces located at banquet halls and hotels, and more.
Disproportionately Impacted Areas — $70 million set aside for DIAs, defined by zip codes identified by the General Assembly for communities that are most economically distressed and vulnerable to COVID-19. A map of DIAs can be accessed here.
Downstate Communities — DCEO has committed to ensuring that at least half of all remaining funds, totaling more than $100 million, are reserved for businesses in downstate and rural communities of Illinois.
Priority Businesses — Apart from the $60 million for heavily impacted industries, applications from the following types of businesses will be prioritized for review for remaining funds: businesses directly affected by regional mitigations implemented by the state or local governments, independently owned retail, tourism- and hospitality-related industries including accommodations, and more.
Agriculture — $5 million of the remainder of funds will be set aside for livestock production disruptions.
Grants and Loan Forgiveness for Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan recipients — As authorized by the General Assembly, DCEO will offer grants for businesses that have incurred eligible costs to offset loans received under the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan program.
This round of loan forgiveness and grants will go to businesses that have received loans or remain on the wait list and the program will sunset going forward as DCEO and its partners focus on making BIG awards.
The heavily impacted industries are defined a having annual revenues of $10 million or less and have been close or operating at a very diminished capacity since mid-March and are likely to continue to do so until Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois Plan.
While these priority areas are part of the program, the BIG program is open to all eligible businesses (for profit and nonprofit) with $20 million or less in annual revenue in 2019 and experienced losses due to COVID-19.
The grant size will be equivalent to two months of expenses. DCEO will be hosting a series of webinars regarding this program.
You can register for any of the webinars by using the links below.
“Strategies for Rural Businesses Utilizing Business Interruption Grants (BIG)”
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity also announced applications for the new Rebuild Distressed Communities program will become available in the coming weeks. The program will provide $25 million in funding to cover the cost of civil-unrest related repairs while also supporting new investments in economically distressed communities across Illinois.
BIG continues to prioritize equity by setting aside a substantial portion of funds for businesses located in economically vulnerable communities.
The second round of BIG builds on more than $49 million in grants awarded just last month — with initial grants allocated to approximately 2,800 businesses in 400 communities in every corner of the state.
Application information for the second round of funds and can be found on DCEO’s website at Illinois.gov/dceo and the application form will open for submissions later this week.
SOURCE: Kane County Development and Community Services Department, state of Illinois