small biz open 071520CHICAGO – During a time when many Illinois businesses are struggling with tough financial decisions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Robert Martwick (D-Chicago) is excited to see 24 local businesses have been awarded a combined $430,000 through the Business Interruption Grant program.

“The hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic have taken a toll on small businesses in our communities,” Martwick said. “The BIG program provides funding many business owners need to stay afloat, and I’m glad to see a number of local establishments on this list of recipients.”

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, fitness centers, and other businesses 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 personal protective equipment, training and new technology.

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.