CHICAGO, Nov. 30 — Small businesses created in 2020 or 2021 in Illinois (IL) can receive up to $30,000 in grants from the $25 million available through the NewBiz Back to Business (B2B) program, with applications open today.
As announced by Governor JB Pritzker and the IL Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), applicants for this grant have until January 11, 2024, to apply.
Following state recovery programs for businesses totaling $1.5 billion, the latest American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funded opportunity aims to provide additional support for businesses in hard-hit sectors launched during the pandemic.
Businesses that remain in operation launched in 2020 or 2021 have faced significant impacts during the pandemic. However, they were not eligible for other federal or state relief programs as they were not operational before the pandemic.
To offer hands-on support and raise awareness about the program, the State has mobilized a network of nearly 100 community navigators across Illinois. Applicants are encouraged to visit b2bnewbiz.com to learn more and apply.
“Small business owners contribute to our thriving state economy every day, often taking on enormous risk to do so. But no business owner could have been prepared for the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor JB Pritzker recently.
Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton stated, “Small businesses and entrepreneurs are the backbone of our economy, driving our state forward. B2B NewBiz grants will ensure Illinois’ newer small businesses can continue to thrive, especially those most affected during the pandemic. I’m proud of our hardworking small business owners for making Illinois the best place to live, work, and do business.”
Awards are expected to be made several weeks after the deadline date. All eligible applicants will receive a grant if the business meets eligibility requirements and submits proper documentation and attestations.
“Thousands of courageous entrepreneurs in Illinois launched businesses in the height of the pandemic,” said DCEO Director Kristin Richards. “B2B NewBiz makes funding available to new small business owners who were ineligible for pandemic relief based on their start date and supports small businesses across the state that are the heart of our economy.”
DCEO has enlisted a robust network of nearly 100 community navigators to conduct outreach and provide technical assistance in the hardest-hit communities. This is in addition to available small business support through Illinois’ network of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs).
To manage a high volume of applications promptly, DCEO has enlisted a program administrator – Lendistry – to support application review, provide technical portal support for applicants, manage the development of the application portal, and provide support in processing payments.
“We’re proud to partner with DCEO and the state of Illinois to help small business owners who were brave enough to open up shop in the middle of the biggest disruption our generation has seen,” said Lendistry CEO Everett K. Sands. “Opening up while also taking on extra expenses to keep customers and staff safe was costly in many ways. My team and I applaud those entrepreneurs for supporting their communities and are proud to deliver the support needed to help them reach sustainable revenues and grow.”
To qualify for the B2B NewBiz program, businesses must have launched between January 2020 and December 2021 and be in an industry particularly impacted by the pandemic or be a business started by individuals who became unemployed during the pandemic. Eligible funding amounts are based on when the business was established and whether the business is home-based or operating out of a “brick-and-mortar” establishment.
“Illinois’ small business community proved its resiliency during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the state of Illinois is committed to supporting entrepreneurs and businesses through their continued post-pandemic recovery efforts,” said Senate Assistant Majority Leader Dave Koehler (D-Peoria). “Through various resources and programs such as B2B NewBiz, the state is spurring a positive business climate in every corner of Illinois.”
“Small businesses are the soul of Illinois, and through hard work and dedication the last few years, new small business owners contributed to Illinois’ growing economy,” said Rep. Janet Yang Rohr (D-Naperville). “The State of Illinois’ B2B NewBiz program is putting small business owners first and showing them why Illinois is the best place to do business.”
“Existing business owners and entrepreneurs weren’t the only ones who suffered during the pandemic – new business owners setting up shop across Illinois faced an uphill battle yet persevered,” said Rep. Kimberly DuBuclet (D-Chicago). “The B2B NewBiz program supports Illinois’ resilient small business community while bolstering the economy through continued job creation.”
Since the onset of the pandemic, DCEO has allocated $1.5 billion in pandemic-related support for businesses, including $693 million through B2B and BIG, $899 million in Child Care Restoration Grants (administered in partnership with DHS), $18.5 million in local CURE funding allocated explicitly to businesses, $14 million in Emergency Hospitality Grants, and $3.5 million in BIG agriculture grants.
Produced in association with Negocios Now