stadelman 051921ROCKFORD –State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) wants Rockford area small businesses to know that an expanded state service is available to help them access economic recovery grant programs.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has invested an additional $9 million in its community navigator outreach program, with new partners serving the Rockford area.

“Our local businesses are working hard to rebuild financial stability as we move out of the pandemic,” Stadelman said. “I urge owners and managers to work with a navigator if they need help finding funding to help them return to normalcy.”

This expansion to the existing community navigator program leverages 13 organizations that will provide support for small businesses who require assistance navigating the billions of financial assistance dollars that are available. Community navigators will perform intensive outreach to ensure that small and hard-to-reach businesses are aware of economic relief funds.

DCEO trained 13 new regional partners to facilitate technical assistance for small businesses on a grassroots level. These 13 organizations, which were selected through a competitive process, will work with over 100 community-based organizations based in low-to-moderate-income areas. The American Business Immigrant Coalition and Illinois Public Health Association will coordinate efforts in Winnebago County.

To ensure the smallest and most vulnerable businesses are prioritized, navigator partners will provide small businesses with direct assistance on applications, as well as language assistance, on-the-ground outreach, webinars, technical assistance sessions, and more.

For more information on recovery programs and how to receive support, businesses can visit the DCEO webpage or call the First Stop hotline at 1.800.252.2923.