Thursday, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) joined state, and local leaders to boost small business recovery grants for Black and Brown businesses in Illinois. DCEO was joined by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) and State Rep. Kambium “Kam” Buckner (D-Chicago), State Rep. Lamont Robinson (D-Chicago), BUILD Bronzeville Small Business Development Center (SBDC), 51st Street Business Association (community navigator) and other organizations to canvass and speak with businesses in the Bronzeville community, providing them with information on the recently launched $250 million Back to Business (B2B) grants program, and encouraging them to apply while funding remains. These grants range from $5k-$150k and do not have to be repaid back.
During the visit – the State and its partners met with over a dozen businesses owners in the area to promote the Back 2 Business grants program. For some business owners in the area – they had either started the application, were still considering applying, or were just learning about the program for the first time. DCEO provided business owners an overview of B2B grants, how they may be used, and showed them how they could qualify for vital COVID-19 recovery dollars. Importantly – the Dept was there to offer support and to remind business owners not to delay and to apply while funds remain.
B2B grants are designed to help businesses facing ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic – including minority owned businesses that have been particularly hard hit during the crisis. To get the word out about crucial small business funding, DCEO has teamed up with over 100 trusted community navigators – including local organizations like the 51st Street Business Association, Cook County Black Chamber of Commerce, Chicago Urban League With the support of local navigator partners, DCEO is providing a team of individuals dedicated to removing barriers to the application process – whether due to language, technology, or otherwise.
B2B is a centerpiece of Governor Pritzker’s $1.5 billion economic recovery plan for Illinois, and leverages federal stimulus provided through the American Rescue Plan Act. Help with applying for B2B is available in multiple languages, and across every region. For more information on the program, or to find a community navigator near you, please visit dceo.illinois.gov.