Local Navigators Assisting For B2B NewBiz Program Currently Open Until Jan. 11

By Benjamin Cox on December 6, 2023 at 1:53pm

Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Administration and the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity announced $25 million in grant funding was open to businesses that started during the pandemic.

The Back to Business NewBiz Program was announced on November 16th. Applications for the grant opened on Thursday, November 30th and will run through January 11th. All eligible applicants will receive a grant as long as the business meets eligibility requirements and submits proper documentation.

Lisa Musch of the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce says your documents must show that the business opened during the height of the pandemic: “This round is for new businesses. It is for businesses that started in 2020 or 2021. Either their articles of incorporation, their business registration, or their actual start date must have been in those two years. Many of those businesses weren’t able to apply before because there was a lot of requirements asking for your, say, 2019 tax returns, your losses – they didn’t have that. The state wanted to put together and has been working for quite awhile to put together this program for those new businesses who started in that time frame.”

Musch, along with Kristin Jamison of the Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corporation are two of the more than 100 community navigators assisting businesses to apply. Musch and Jamison says they are assisting business owners in Morgan, Scott and have also assisted businesses in Cass counties so far through the previous two rounds of the B2B program.

Jamison says she was eager for this round of grants because she is a co-owner of Future Champions Sports Complex, which started during the pandemic: “To be honest, I’ve sat on my hands waiting for the time there might be a program that would help those of us that either started a business and didn’t know the pandemic was coming or really were gutsy enough during the pandemic to launch a new business. I totally understand where a lot of these business owners are coming from in that there was no baseline to understand what is my income going to look like. The governor had many mitigation policies, so some businesses could be open, others couldn’t. A lot of people, what is the word we use, ‘pivoted’ to change their business model to adapt to those policies. Lisa and I are just thrilled that there is something that we can be helpful to those businesses. Unfortunately, some of those businesses are not necessarily still open or they have pivoted to a different business model or to a completely different business all together; but we are happy to help navigate the grant process.”

Based upon when your business started between 2020-2021 and whether it was a brick-and-mortar or home-based will depend upon the amount of the grant the business is award. The award range is between $5,000 and $30,000.

For more information or to download the application, visit b2bnewbiz.com.