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belt 11142019CM0789rEAST ST. LOUIS – With so many small business owners facing economic hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Centreville) announced 25 local businesses will receive a combined $430,000 through the Business Interruption Grant program.

“I’m glad to see many local small businesses took advantage of this grant opportunity to receive some financial relief from this pandemic,” Belt said. “I understand it will take more than a grant for many of these businesses to fully recover. However, this is still a great step in helping the regrowth of these businesses.” 

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity awarded a total of $46 million to 2,655 small businesses in the first round of BIG funding. The BIG program offers grants to Illinois restaurants and bars, barbershops and salons, and fitness centers that have suffered pandemic-related losses, with a focus on businesses in the hardest-hit areas of the state.

First round grants range from $10,000 to $20,000 and may be used to help businesses with working capital expenses, including payroll costs, rent and utilities. The funds may also be used to cover pandemic-related expenses, such as PPE, training and new technology.

To ensure ongoing support for Illinois small businesses, the State of Illinois has planned future rounds of funding, including a special program for child care providers. The application deadline for this program is Aug. 14.

The BIG program is the largest state-run economic support program formed in response to the COVID-19 economic downturn. The full list of grant recipients is available here.