Governor J.B. Pritzker says more help is on the way for the state’s small businesses.
Pritzker is opening up the Back to Business Grant program for the state this coming week: “Further accelerating our economic recovery, we are announcing $250 million in Back to Business grants to help small businesses all across Illinois hire back staff and cover operating costs. These are grants, not loans so not a single cent has to be paid back.”
Pritzker says the program will focus on businesses in areas hardest hit by economic hardship and will prioritize businesses who have yet to receive any government assistance: “Starting on August 18th, business owners will be able to submit their applications for Back to Business grants. Priority will be given to businesses who haven’t yet received state funding through other programs, as well as the communities and industries hardest hit by the pandemic. Crucially, we are making investments so that equity isn’t just our intention but our outcome. We are doubling down on our investments Community Navigator program that the Biden-Harris Administration held up as a model for the nation. This localized, personalized assistance is what makes this program more accessible for entrepreneurs who are eligible, yet may not know where to get started or how to get started.”
The program is supposed to build on last year’s Business Interruption Grants, which provided $580 million to small businesses and childcare providers in the depths of the pandemic. The application process will be available on the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s website on Wednesday, August 18th. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and partner organizations will hold webinars over the next several weeks to provide virtual technical assistance on demand.