DES PLAINES – In a continued effort to provide aid to small businesses struggling with income losses during the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) is notifying local business owners that applications for the second round of the Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program will be made available Thursday, Sept. 17 and will offer $220 million in funds for small businesses hit hardest by the ongoing pandemic.

“For the shops, restaurants, event venues and other businesses that bolster our local economies, these funds can’t come soon enough,” said Murphy. “I encourage business owners to look over the program requirements and gather necessary materials to make sure they can apply as soon as the application period opens.”

The second wave of BIG funding aims to provide relief for all types of small businesses, with provisions to ensure hardest-hit industries – including movie theaters, event venues, hotels, livestock farms and more – receive priority. Businesses with outstanding loan debts under the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan program will also be eligible for assistance.

Of the total available funding, $70 million has been set aside for businesses in disproportionately impacted areas, or the zip codes facing the greatest economic distress as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Murphy’s district, businesses located in the 60018 zip code in Des Plaines qualify for this aid.

Eligible businesses include businesses and nonprofits with $20 million or less in annual revenue in 2019. Businesses must also be able to demonstrate losses due to COVID-19 in excess of the grant amount.

“Small businesses make our communities home,” said Murphy. “I’m pleased to see more support becoming available to help our main streets start to rebuild.”

A preliminary application, application checklist, business certification forms and a list of eligible costs are now available on the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity website. The full application will become available on the page starting Sept. 17.

The first round of BIG funding awarded over $49 million in grants last month to approximately 2,800 businesses across the state. The BIG program is part of a series of relief programs created by the state to help businesses and communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.