$25 million in small business grants available

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity recently announced $25 million in grant funding available to small businesses through the Back to Business (B2B) New Biz program.

"Small business owners contribute to our thriving state economy every day, often taking on enormous risk to do so - but no business owner could have been prepared for the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic," Pritzker said. "These grants will support those who faced down unprecedented circumstances and met them with innovation and entrepreneurial spirit who may have been left behind in previous aid efforts."

The Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce has been designated as DCEO community navigator to provide hands-on support and awareness about the program, said Carol Gieske, chamber CEO and president.

"New businesses that launched in 2020 or 2021 are eligible for up to $30,000 in grants," she said.

Applications are open from Nov. 30 through Jan. 11. The chamber will host informational webinars and the DCEO will host statewide webinars in English and Spanish. Businesses can call the chamber at (847) 741-5660 or email for assistance.

Small businesses that launched between January 2020 and December 2021 and remain in operation and in an industry significantly impacted by the pandemic, or a business started by an individual or individuals that became unemployed during the pandemic are eligible to apply. They are encouraged to visit to learn more and apply.

Following state recovery programming for businesses totaling $1.5 billion, the latest American Rescue Plan Act-funded program is designed to provide additional support for businesses in hard-hit sectors who launched during the pandemic.

Eligible funding amounts are based on when the business was established and whether the business is home-based or operating out of a "brick-and-mortar" establishment.

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