COVID-19 Disadvantaged Business Grant Opportunities

Back to Business Grant Program Overview

As part of Governor JB Pritzker’s overall economic recovery strategy, the $250 million Back to Business (B2B) grant program aims to deploy small businesses recovery grants for those hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. The B2B grant program builds on the success of last year's Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program – an equity focused business relief program, which directed $290 million to 9,000 businesses in 98 communities across Illinois. B2B is a key component of the Governor’s $1.5 billion economic recovery plan, aimed toward a swift and equitable deployment of American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) funds that have been designated for Illinois to assist in recovery from the COVID pandemic.

To assist small businesses with the B2B application process and other upcoming or ongoing economic recovery grant programs offered at the State or federal level. DCEO has invested $9 million in support of Community Navigator organizations working in every region of the state.  These organizations will provide technical assistance to businesses, with a focus on underserved businesses including minority, rural, veteran and women-owned businesses.

First Round of Awards

See the most recently available list of grantees.  Awards will continue to be made on a rolling basis. The deadline to apply has passed and applications are closed.

 Funding available:

  • $250 million to small businesses across the state that experienced losses in 2020 due to COVID-19, including the following set-asides.
    • $100 million – Businesses located in Disproportionately Impacted Areas (DIAs). (See DIA Map below)
    • $30 million – Arts and Entertainment businesses that didn’t receive Shuttered Venue Operators grants
    • $25 million – Restaurants and taverns that didn’t receive the Restaurant Revitalization Fund
    • $25 million – Hotels
    • $25 million – Businesses that didn’t receive a BIG grant due to exhaustion of funds
  • Grants will range from $5,000 to $150,000 per business and can be used to cover a wide range of operations/staff/overhead costs
    • Up to $250,000 for hotels

 Eligibility requirements:

  • Businesses with revenues of $20 million or less in 2019 and a reduction in revenue in 2020 due to COVID-19
    • $35 million or less for hotels
  • Priority will be given to the following categories:
    • Hard-hit industries (see eligibility guidelines for a full list of priority industries and their definitions)
    • Hard-hit areas – DIAs comprising of 176 zip codes
    • Businesses who have yet to qualify for state funding or federal assistance (including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), business Interruption Grant (BIG), Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG), and more)
    • Businesses that had less than $5 million in revenue in 2019
  • Learn about eligibility guidelines
  • Upon receiving an award, all grantees will need to sign the program Certification Agreement

Need help?

Over 100 community navigators providing 1:1 regional support service for small businesses.  Find your community outreach partner including navigators, SBDCs, as well as DCEO Support Teams with the B2B search tool or view the list by name, county, or language service.

View recordings of past webinars:

 

Helpdesk forms by Allies for Community Business available in English and Spanish.

See a map of Disproportionately Impacted Areas (DIAs) for the Back to Business Grant Program below. You may also see a list of all zip codes that are DIAs. Note your business' location in a DIA is based on the zip code for your business address. The map below shows an approximation of geographic areas covered by zip codes, which may be inaccurate in some places near a zip code border.