First Stop Business Information Center

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First Stop Business Information Center

The First Stop Business Information Center provides comprehensive information and technical support to businesses with questions and concerns about mitigations, government regulations and business assistance programs.  

Our business specialists can be reached at 1-800-252-2923 or ceo.firststop@illinois.gov

Para información en español por favor llamar al 1-800-252-2923 o envíe su mensaje por medio del correo electrónico a ceo.firststop@illinois.gov 

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**Attention Small Businesses**

Expanded Technical Assistance and Resources Available to Assist During COVID-19

With new rounds of federal COVID-19 emergency funding programs opening for applications, the Illinois Department of Commerce (DCEO) has expanded direct support available to businesses to help them learn which programs they may qualify for, how to navigate application processes, and to get further assistance that can help recover and grow their business.  These resources are available to help with accessing the renewed Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and other programs set to launch in the coming weeks, including the EIDL Advance and Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) grant programs. Details from the Small Business Administration available here.

Businesses in need of information and assistance have several options including the Illinois Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), Community Navigators, DCEO's Office of Regional Economic Development (Team RED) and Office of Minority Economic Empowerment (OMEE). More information on the State's expanded small business assistance, including nearly 100 virtual events hosted through the end of February, can be found below.

  • Illinois Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs):  Illinois SBDCs provide one-on-one counseling, assistance with navigating best options for financial support programs, technical assistance with documentation requirements to prepare applications, and more.  Find your nearest SBDC here

  • Community Navigators:  The state is working with 12 community navigators - grassroots organizations connected with other community services. Community navigators can help determine your eligibility for programs, assist with documents, and refer to other specialized services. A full list of community navigators can be found here

  • DCEOOffice of Regional Economic Development (Team RED) and the Office of Minority Economic Empowerment (OMEE):  These DCEO teams provide targeted referrals and counseling for economic opportunities to businesses and communities based on geography (Team RED) and in support of minority enterprises including racial/ethnic minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and veteran-owned businesses (OMEE). To connect with your area Team RED member, please click here.  To connect with OMEE, please click here.

  

First Stop also provides entrepreneurs and small business owners with: 

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE WEBINARS AND EVENTS   
DCEO teams and partner organizations will host or sponsor more than 100 webinars held from now until late February. The following webinars will cover technical assistance questions related to the PPP application, informational resources for businesses seeking assistance on EIDL, and upcoming EIDL Advance loan and SVO grant programs.  Click the webinar titles below for more information and to register. 

DCEO’s Regional Economic Development Team weekly office hours
DCEO’s Regional Economic Development Team is hosting weekly office hours on the days and times listed below. These sessions are designed as open times that the Team is available. The Team will provide you with the latest updates and answer any questions you may have on state or federal programs. Feel free to drop in for any assistance you need. If these times do not work for you, please reach out to your regional Team RED representative.


March 2021

Mondays from 3pm – 4pm
Meeting link:  https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/j.php?MTID=mdac63fc058a28665bc12f2db155d8e81

Wednesdays from 1pm – 2pm
Meeting link: https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/j.php?MTID=mab7683a4fd7c1b69c9aead26b0fce1ea

Thursdays from 3pm – 4pm
Meeting link:  https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/j.php?MTID=me64c9d6620b31db8645644cf588f956b

Fridays from 10am – 11am
Meeting link: https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/j.php?MTID=m097b6d22cef426d023f9d5375ba167b4


SBDC Webinar: The Startup Guide to Business in Illinois-Basics-Online Seminar

Available:  3/01/2021 - 4/01/2021
Register Here: https://ilsbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events/34191 


Starting a Business in Illinois March Webinar
Available: 3/01/2021      
Register Here:  https://ilsbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events/34239


Grant Preparation On-Demand Training - March
Available: 3/01/2021
Register Here: https://ilsbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events/34250 


How to run ads in Facebook and Instagram
Date and Time: 3/02/2021 - 5:00 PM
Register Here:  https://ilsbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events/34072 


SBDC Webinar Live: Cyber Security and Incident Response
Date and Time: 3/2/2021 10:00AM - 12:00PM
Registration Deadline: 3/2/2021 - 1:00 AM
Register Here: https://ilsbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events/33752 


SBDC Webinar: COVID-19 Financial Assistance for Illinois Small Business & Non-Profits
Date and Time:  3/2/2021 - 10:00AM - 11:00AM
Registration Deadline:  3/2/2021 - 9:00 AM
Register Here: www.cusbdc.org/event/sbdc-webinar-covid-19-financial-assistance-small-businesses-non-profits/2021-03-02/ 


How to Start Your Business in Illinois
Date and Time: 3/3/2021 - 6:00PM-7:30PM
Registration Deadline: 3/3/2021 - 9:00AM
Register Here: https://ilsbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events/33448 


How to Start Your Business in Illinois
Date and Time: 3/3/2021 - 12:00PM-1:30PM
Registration Deadline: 3/3/2021 - 9:00 AM
Register Here: https://ilsbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events/33449 


Weekly Update: SBA Economic Aid Act Overview
Date and Time: 3/3/2021 - 3:00PM-4:30PM
Registration Deadline: 3/3/2021 - 3:45PM
Register Here: https://ilsbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events/34086 


SBDC Info Session: Understanding the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) Pre-Award Proc
Date and Time: 3/3/2021 - 10:00AM-11:00AM
Registration Deadline: 3/3/2021 - 9:00AM
Register Here: http://www.cusbdc.org/event/sbdc-webinar-understanding-grant-accountability-transparency-act-gata-pre-award-process-12/2021-03-03/ 


Northeast PPP Webinar
Presenter: Joseph McKeown, Northeast Regional Manager of Regional Economic Development, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Register Here:
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=eea46849f5743d3b5799369bed264f16f

Date and time: Thursday, March 4, 2021 10:00 am Central Standard Time (Chicago, GMT-06:00)

Description:
Please join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's Office of Regional Economic Development for a webinar to learn more about the US Small Business Administration's Federal Paycheck Protection Program. This federal forgivable COVID-19 Relief Loan Program will help Illinois small businesses keep their employees on payroll during this unprecedented time.

 

Préstamos y Recursos COVID-19 para las Pequeñas Empresas: PPP, EIDL, y SVOG
Date and Time: 3/4/2021 - 10:00AM
Registration Deadline: 3/4/2021 - 9:00AM
Register Here: https://ilsbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events/34262

 

Shopify Series 1 Pivoting During the Pandemic: Offline to Online
Date and Time: 3/4/2021 - 11:30AM CST
Registration Deadline: 3/4/2021 - 9:00AM
Register Here: https://ilsbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events/34263

 

Start Your Business in Illinois Workshop
Date and Time: 3/4/2021 - 1:00 PM CST - 4:00 PM CST
Registration Deadline: 3/4/2021 - 9:00AM
Register Here: https://ilsbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events/33900


Starting Your Business in Illinois
Date and Time: 3/4/2021 - 6:00PM-8:00PM
Registration Deadline: 3/4/2021 - 11:00 AM
Register Here: https://ilsbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events/33834


Introduction To Exporting
Date and Time:  3/4/2021 - 10:00AM-11:00AM
Registration Deadline: 3/4/2021 - 9:00AM
Register Here: https://ilsbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events/34163

 

SBDC Webinar: COVID-19 Financial Assistance for Illinois Small Business & Non-Profits
Date and Time: 3/5/2021 3:00PM-4:00PM
Registration Deadline: 3/5/2021 - 9:00 AM
Register Here: www.cusbdc.org/event/sbdc-webinar-covid-19-financial-assistance-small-businesses-non-profits/2021-03-05/ 

 

Starting Your Business in Illinois
Date and Time: 3/5/2021 - 9:00AM-11:00AM
Registration Deadline: 3/5/2021 - 9:00AM
Register Here: https://ilsbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events/33923

 

SBDC Webinar: Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) - Loan Forgiveness
Date and Time: 3/5/2021 - 10:00AM-11:00AM
Registration Deadline: 3/5/2021 - 9:00AM
Register Here: www.cusbdc.org/event/sbdc-webinar-sbas-paycheck-protection-program-ppp-loan-forgiveness-3/2021-03-05/

 

West Central PPP Webinar
Presenter: Jacqui Bevelheimer, West Central Regional Manager of Regional Economic Development, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Register Here:
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=ef639aff41a20d2a0f1902b23a0720773

Date and time: Friday, March 5, 2021 11:00 am Central Standard Time (Chicago, GMT-06:00)

Description:
Please join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's Office of Regional Economic Development for a webinar to learn more about the US Small Business Administration's Federal Paycheck Protection Program. This federal forgivable COVID-19 Relief Loan Program will help Illinois small businesses keep their employees on payroll during this unprecedented time.

 

Southwest PPP Webinar
Presenter: Tracey Glenn, Southwest Regional Manager of Regional Economic Development, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Register Here:
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=eb8baf0c0800e6e3bbe43834e24eb4f34

Date and time: Tuesday, March 9, 2021 10:00  am Central Standard Time (Chicago, GMT-06:00)

Description:
Please join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's Office of Regional Economic Development for a webinar to learn more about the US Small Business Administration's Federal Paycheck Protection Program. This federal forgivable COVID-19 Relief Loan Program will help Illinois small businesses keep their employees on payroll during this unprecedented time. 

 

Southern Advantage Illinois Webinar
Presenter: Kim Watson, Southern Regional Manager of Regional Economic Development, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Join Here:
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/j.php?MTID=m8b68b2dadaddf076074c3f681072ee34

Date and time: Tuesday, March 9, 2021 10:00 am Central Standard Time (Chicago, GMT-06:00)

Description:
Please join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's Office of Regional Economic Development for a webinar to learn more about Advantage Illinois. Advantage Illinois provides Illinois businesses and entrepreneurs with access to the capital to start new companies and expand existing business.

 

West Central PPP Webinar
Presenter: Salvador Garza, West Central Regional Manager of Regional Economic Development, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Register Here:
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=e86d5a02ceaa02cdc4940ebe7373e1dc7

Date and time: Wednesday, March 10, 2021 10:00 am Central Standard Time (Chicago, GMT-06:00)

Description:
Please join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's Office of Regional Economic Development for a webinar to learn more about the US Small Business Administration's Federal Paycheck Protection Program. This federal forgivable COVID-19 Relief Loan Program will help Illinois small businesses keep their employees on payroll during this unprecedented time.

 

Northwest EDGE Tax Credit 101 Webinar
Presenter: Adrian Madunic, Northwest Regional Manager of Regional Economic Development, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Register Here:
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=e3acb5062f8549701d960a0e35c3cd7d1    

Date and time: Wednesday, March 11, 2021 10:00 am Central Standard Time (Chicago, GMT-06:00)

Description:
Please join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's Office of Regional Economic Development for a webinar to learn  the basics of the Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) Tax Credit Program.

 

West Central Advantage Illinois Loan Program for Small Businesses
Presenter: Jacqui Bevelheimer, West Central Region Account Manager of Regional Economic Development, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Register Here:
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=ec089478c8d81b3fbdbb582cc3bff5ee7  

Date and time: Wednesday, March 16, 2021 10:00 am Central Standard Time (Chicago, GMT-06:00)

Description:
Please join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's Office of Regional Economic Development for a webinar to learn more about Advantage Illinois. Advantage Illinois provides Illinois businesses and entrepreneurs with access to the capital to start new companies and expand existing business.

 

Southern Marketing & Selling to the Federal Government Webinar
Presenter: Kim Watson, Southern Regional Manager of Regional Economic Development, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Register Here:
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=e5b8d940cbbc9bfb11fc7c78dde2d9522
Password: DCEO2021

Date and time: Wednesday, March 16, 2021 10:30 am Central Standard Time (Chicago, GMT-06:00)

Description:
Please join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's Office of Regional Economic Development and Fernanda Pedraza-Schmitt, SBA Branch Manager, for a presentation regarding Marketing and Selling to the Federal Government.

 

Northeast Angel Investment Tax Credit Program
Presenter: Joe McKeown, Northeast Region Senior Account Manager of Regional Economic Development, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Register Here:
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=ef818d7e51b16aacb5cc1cedb429010c7    

Date and time: Wednesday, March 18, 2021 2:00 pm Central Standard Time (Chicago, GMT-06:00)

Description:
Please join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's Office of Regional Economic Development for a webinar to learn about the Illinois Angel Investment Tax Credit Program. The Illinois Angel Investment Tax Credit Program encourages investment in innovative, early-stage companies to help obtain the working capital needed to further the growth of their company in Illinois. Investors in companies that are certified as Qualified New Business Ventures (QNBVs) can receive a state tax credit equal to 25% of their investment (up to $2 million).

 

Southeast PPP Webinar
Presenter: Kala Lambert, Southeast Regional Manager of Regional Economic Development, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity with special guest

Register Here:
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=e422d5fc34746650aea20c782d01cd96e

Date and time: Tuesday, March 23, 2021 2:00 pm Central Standard Time (Chicago, GMT-06:00)

Description:
Please join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's Office of Regional Economic Development for a webinar to learn more about the US Small Business Administration's Federal Paycheck Protection Program. This federal forgivable COVID-19 Relief Loan Program will help Illinois small businesses keep their employees on payroll during this unprecedented time.