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 obtain further assistance that can help recover and grow their business.  These resources are available to help with accessing the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance, the Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) grant program, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), and other programs set to launch in the coming weeks. Details from the Small Business Administration available here.

Businesses in need of information and assistance have several options available including the Illinois Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs)Community Navigators, DCEO's Office of Regional Economic Development (Team RED) and the Office of Minority Economic Empowerment (OMEE). More information on the State's expanded small business assistance, including ongoing virtual events and technical assistance webinars, 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

  • DCEO Office 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

Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Overview 
Tuesday |May 11, 2021 | 10:00 AM

Ameren Energy Efficiency Programs 
Password:  Ildeo2021
Tuesday | May 11, 2021 | 10:00 AM

OMEE Meet & Greet 
Wednesday | May 12, 2021 | 2:00 PM

Illinois Economic Recovery Post COVID-19: Small Business Relief, Public Infrastructure, and Regional Economic Planning – ILLINOIS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT WEEK SERIES 
Thursday | May 13, 2021 | 1:30 PM

SBA Overview of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund
Friday | May 14, 2021 | 1:00 PM

Restaurant Revitalization Fund
Wednesday | May 19, 2021 | 3:00 PM

SBA Overview of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund 
Friday | May 21, 2021 | 1:00 PM

Workforce Development Presentation-LWIA 25 & 26
Tuesday | May 25, 2021 | 9:00 AM

IDES Workforce Opportunities
Thursday | May 27, 2021 | 10:30 AM

SBA Overview of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund
Friday | May 28, 2021 | 1:00 PM

Restaurant Revitalization Fund
Tuesday | June 1, 2021 | 3:00 PM

CDBG Overview
Password:  Ildceo21
Wednesday | June 2, 2021 | 10:00 AM 

Upcoming OMEE Events & Webinars, Visit HERE.