harris 27102019CM0196rCHICAGO – State Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey) urges local businesses—particularly businesses in disproportionately impacted communities—to apply for more than $540 million in grant funding through the new Business Interruption Grant program. 

“Disadvantaged communities need help now more than ever. Business owners are showing real determination to get through this pandemic, but it has been a challenge. This grant opportunity could provide the support they deserve,” Harris said. “I urge all local businesses in the area to apply for these grants to reduce some financial hardship.” 

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will offer $60 million in grants for the first round of BIG funding to small businesses harmed by the pandemic, many of whom have also seen damage as a result of recent civil unrest. The funds are intended to help small businesses stay viable through the pandemic, offset the cost of closures and restricted operations, and ensure they have the resources to reopen safely.

Among other specific programs, DCEO plans to disburse $20 million across 1,000 grants of $20,000 each to businesses in disproportionately impacted areas with recent significant property damage. To qualify for these grants, businesses must have:

  • Brought in under $2 million in revenue in 2019, or a prorated amount if in business for less than a year;
  • Been in operation for at least three months prior to March 2020;
  • Experienced costs or losses of at least $20,000 since the Stay at Home order was put in place on March 21, 2020, due to closure or reduced operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; and
  • Experienced recent property damage, exacerbating the economic impacts of COVID-19.

DCEO and its grant administration partners are scheduled to post applications this week for review and questions. Applications will be accepted June 24 through July 1. Applicants who are selected for the grants should hear from grant administration partners by early July, and grants are scheduled to be disbursed by the end of July.