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.


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

Advantage Illinois: How local community banks can partner with the State of Illinois to help small business

Presenter: Jacqueline Franklin, Assistant Deputy Director, Office of Regional Economic Development, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Register Here: 
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=e03e3d07414a120cbd1ee11cb774d80f6

Date and time: Wednesday , April 21, 2021 10:00 am Central Standard Time (Chicago, GMT-06:00)

Description:
Enhancing access to capital for Illinois businesses is a top priority. The Brookings Institution has noted that more than 95% of new jobs are derived from business expansion or start up activity. Small businesses are the backbone of the Illinois economy, and the Advantage Illinois program is here to assist. In this webinar you will learn how the state's banking community can help entrepreneurs and small businesses start up, expand and create new jobs at a faster rate by partnering with the State of Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity through this participation loan program. Local community banks are encouraged to attend!

 

2021 SBA Economic Relief Overview of the American Rescue Plan Act
Presenter: Joe McKeown, Northeast Region Senior Account Manager of Regional Economic Development, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity with special guest Stephen Konkle, SBA

Register Here:
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=e820b9b65ed859299037437f2853aa8ad

Date and time: Friday, April 23, 2021 1:00 pm

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 Economic Relief Overview of the American Rescue Plan Act.


CDBG Public Infrastructure and Housing Rehabilitation Program for Rural Communities
Presenter: Aly Grady, Central Region Manager, Office of Regional Economic Development, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Register Here:
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=e08a1c7e401590610127973bf0347e40f

Date and Time:  Monday, April 26, 2021 at 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 Community Development Block Grant Public Infrastructure and Housing Rehabilitation programs.  These programs are grant opportunities that can assist with public infrastructure and housing rehabilitation needs within your community.  Learn more about these programs and how to apply for the grants.


Advantage Illinois: How local community banks can partner with the State of Illinois to help small business
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=e03e3d07414a120cbd1ee11cb774d80f6

Date and time: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 10:00 am Central Standard Time (Chicago, GMT-06:00)

Description:
Enhancing access to capital for Illinois businesses is a top priority. The Brookings Institution has noted that more than 95% of new jobs are derived from business expansion or start up activity. Small businesses are the backbone of the Illinois economy, and the Advantage Illinois program is here to assist. In this webinar you will learn how the state's banking community can help entrepreneurs and small businesses start up, expand and create new jobs at a faster rate by partnering with the State of Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity through this participation loan program. Guest speakers include John D. Hill and Mark Schultz, Advantage Illinois Team for the Office of Business Development. Local community banks are encouraged to attend!

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

Register Here:
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=e882d4b6e1b14400fa673c5acb1868471

Date and time: Wednesday, April 28, 2021 10:00 am

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 EDGE Tax Credit program.

 

2021 SBA Economic Relief Overview of the American Rescue Plan Act
Presenter: Joe McKeown, Northeast Region Senior Account Manager of Regional Economic Development, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity with special guest Stephen Konkle, SBA

Register Here:
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=e075391d2e97e53882336a221330597f3

Date and time: Friday, April 30, 2021 9:30 am

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 Economic Relief Overview of the American Rescue Plan Act.

 

PPP, SVOG and EIDL
Presenter: Tracey Glenn, Southwest Regional Manager, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity with special guest, Darrah Perryman with SBA

Register Here:
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=eb7dcdc5d3046747e7e9447ed19b62693

Date and time: Tuesday, May 4, 2021 10:00 am

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.

 

CDBG Public Infrastructure, Housing Rehabilitation and Economic Development Program for Rural Communities
Presenter: Kala Lambert, Southeast Region Manager, Office of Regional Economic Development, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Register Here:
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=e6772ca67b2d73f0ed53921fe29bc3d9a

Date and Time:  Thursday, May 6, 2021 at 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 Community Development Block Grant Public Infrastructure, Housing Rehabilitation and Economic Development programs.  These programs are grant opportunities that can assist with public infrastructure and housing rehabilitation needs within your community.  Learn more about these programs and how to apply for the grants.

 

Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Overview
Presenter: Lee Trotter, Northwest 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=e55299f69ca8b1ebe6bc4dd01603b3fd2

Date and time: Tuesday, May 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 as we give an overview of the agency
and talk about the programs available to help businesses.

 

Ameren Energy Efficiency Programs
Presenter:  Kim Watson, Southern Region Account Manager, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity with guest Krista Lent, Ameren

Register Here: 
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=e9692b2c52bf3e0b4b24a5ad6fe1721db 
Password:  Ildeo2021

Date and time:  Tuesday, May 11, 2021 10:00 am Central Daylight Time (Chicago, GMT-05:00)

Description:  Please join DCEO and Krista Lent of Ameren for an energy efficiency program event. The Ameren Illinois Small Business Direct Install Initiative (SBDI) gives small businesses the opportunity to ensure they have the most energy-efficient lighting installed in their facility at very little out-of-pocket cost.

 

PPP, SVOG and EIDL
Presenter: Adrian Madunic, Northwest Region Manager, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Register Here:
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/j.php?MTID=m67eb98ad2e71728fd967aa556e28f55d

Date and time: Thursday, May 13, 2021 10:00 am

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.

 

PPP, SVOG and EIDL
Presenter: Sal Garza, West Central Region Manager, Office of Regional Economic Development, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Register Here:
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=eef8f27ea838fcad0e54a78e66d99a237

Date and time: Wednesday, May 19, 2021 10:30 am

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.

 

IDES Workforce Opportunities
Presenter:  Kim Watson, Southern Region Account Manager, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity; Freddie Buckingham and Patrick Sarensen of Illinois Department of Employment Security

Register Here: 
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=e60b4da586dc48d596771709d0b55cacb

Date and time:  Thursday, May 27, 2021 10:30 am Central Daylight Time (Chicago, GMT-05:00) 

Description:  Please join DCEO and IDES for a discussion on available programs and opportunities.


CDBG Overview
Presenters:  Kim Watson, Southern Region Account Manager and Adrian Madunic, Northwest Region Manager Office of Regional Economic Development, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Register Here: 
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=e35675746a9f19890dbb948ddb32bffa7
Password:  Ildceo21

Date and time:  Wednesday, June 2, 2021 10:00 am Central Standard Time (Chicago. GMT-05:00)

Description:  Please join the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity's Office of Regional Economic Development for a webinar to learn more about the Community Development Block Grant program.