Sen. Wilcox: New round of Business Interruption Grants available

McHenry, IL. – The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is taking applications for the next round of Business Interruption Grants (BIG) for employers struggling under coronavirus restrictions, according to State Sen. Craig Wilcox.

“The grants may be used to help businesses with working capital expenses, including payroll costs; rent; utilities; and other operational costs,” said Wilcox (R-McHenry). “$220 million is available in this latest round of grant awards.” 

The BIG program leverages federal funding provided by the CARES Act to help offset COVID-19 related losses for Illinois small businesses. In this latest round, nearly all businesses and non-profits with an annual revenue under $20 million are eligible to apply for the $220 million available.

While nearly all are eligible, certain types of businesses will take priority or have set asides in funding: 

  1. Heavily Impacted Industries ($60 million): businesses that have been nearly shut down such as event spaces, performing arts venues, museums, movie theaters, and other indoor and high contact recreational facilities.
  2. Priority Businesses apart from the industries above. These are businesses that: 
    1. Were directly affected by regional mitigations implemented by the state or local governments (so far in Region 4 and 7).
    2. Did not receive PPP or other forms of emergency aid.
    3. Are independently owned retail, tourism or hospitality-related, and other hard-hit industries.
    4. Have less than $5 million in annual revenue.
    5. Experienced revenue losses exceeding 50% since March.

While businesses in every corner of the state will be eligible to apply, two geographic factors will get priority:   

  1. Disproportionately Impacted Areas ($70 million). 
  2. Downstate Businesses ($100 million), which means those not located in Cook, Lake, DuPage, Kane, and Will counties.
  3. The BIG program’s overview page, including a map identifying Disproportionately Impacted Areas, is at: https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/SmallBizAssistance/Pages/C19DisadvantagedBusGrants.aspx.
  4. The application is available at this online location: https://accionilin.formstack.com/forms/big.
  5. Detailed eligibility criteria can be found at: https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/SmallBizAssistance/Documents/BIG%20Rd2_Eligibility%20Requirements%209.17.20.pdf.

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