During National Small Business Week, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced that all of the $250 million in relief funds had been awarded through the Back to Business (B2B) program. .
That wraps up the program, offering nearly 6,500 grants to small businesses in more than 475 cities and more than 90 counties across the state, with 96% of awards going to businesses in disproportionately affected communities or industries. hardest hit.
A list of Illinois B2B recipients is available here.
“Illinois has responded to the pandemic by providing $1.5 billion in economic relief to child care providers, local government departments, and so many hard-hit small businesses that shape our communities,” he said. said Governor JB Pritzker. “These are investments that preserve jobs, main streets and dreams. When we get our state’s finances in order, we can invest taxpayers’ money in building a stronger Illinois for all who call it home.
This grant program used funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to help small businesses rehire staff, cover operating costs, provide additional security measures for customers, and cover other necessary expenses to recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Grants were awarded to applicants on an ongoing basis with dollar amounts ranging from $5,000 to $150,000, based on a percentage of each company’s losses during the pandemic.
“More than half of the prizes went to businesses owned by people of color and nearly two-thirds went to businesses in low-income areas most affected by COVID-19,” the DCEO director said. , Sylvia I. Garcia. “As Illinois small businesses continue to drive economic recovery, DCEO remains fully committed to prioritizing their success through our resources and programs.”
B2B grants were given in priority to businesses that needed support the most due to the pandemic, including hard-hit sectors such as hotels, restaurants, arts and cultural organizations, hair salons and salons. hairdressers, dry cleaners and fitness centres.
The program included stipends earmarked for businesses in disproportionately affected areas (DIA); companies that applied for but did not receive business interruption grants in 2020, as well as specific hard-hit industries.
The breakdown of grants includes:
- Companies received a median grant of $20,000, with an average of $37,512.
- Last year, 29% of grantees applied for the Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program but did not receive funding.
- 64% of the awards went to businesses located in disproportionately affected areas (DIA) or low-income zip codes that have experienced high rates of COVID-19.
- 61% of the awards went to hard-hit industries, including restaurants and taverns, hotels, arts organizations and salons.
- B2B grant recipients experienced a 41% drop in revenue on average in 2020 compared to the year before the pandemic.
- Grants have mainly gone to smaller businesses:
- 62% go to companies with revenues under $500,000
- 79% go to businesses with less than $1 million in revenue
In order to reach the businesses most in need, DCEO used a community navigator program of over 100 local organizations who helped raise awareness of the program and provide technical support to businesses in hard-hit areas, rural communities and other hard-to-reach areas. – reach the populations.
State Sen. Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) said in an Illinois state press release that she appreciates all the hard work DCEO has done to roll out the grants.
“The Back to Business program has been instrumental in giving our hardest hit industries the financial boost they need to get back on their feet as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. she stated.
As of May 4, $250 million in funds had been released, including about $7 million earmarked for ongoing appeals. The final list of recipients and numbers may change if a company does not claim the funds or if an appeal is granted.
Any remaining funds from appeals or unclaimed by companies will be distributed to applicants. DCEO will continue to proactively maintain an up-to-date list of recipients and statistics on the B2B web page, which can be found here.
To learn more about resources for small businesses, visit Illinois.gov/DCEO and for additional help navigating resources, contact DCEO’s First Stop Business Information Center Services at 800.252.2923 or email [email protected]
SOURCE: State of Illinois press release