COVID-19 Disadvantaged Business Grant Opportunities

Business Interruption Grants Program (BIG)

The Business Interruption Grant program, otherwise known as BIG, recognizes the enormous burden seen by businesses across Illinois as a result of COVID-19 and aims to bring immediate relief for businesses hit hardest.

Program Updates.

  • Round 1 is closed, and the first wave of funds are in the process of being released.  See a full list of grant recipients and view the latest fact sheet.

  • Check back for updates on future rounds of funding for small businesses.

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) launched the first round of BIG, dedicating $60 million for businesses experiencing losses or business interruption as a result of COVID-19 related closures.  BIG funding may be used to help businesses with working capital expenses, including: payroll costs; rent; utilities; and other operational costs as defined in the eligible cost list found below.

The first round of funding awards grants to over 2,600 businesses located in every region of the state, with grants ranging from $10,000-$20,000. BIG round 1 grants span a diverse geography, as well as business type – with approximately 40 percent of all awards going to minority-owned businesses. Eligible businesses for this first round funding included restaurants/bars, barbershops/salons, gyms/fitness centers, and small businesses located in severe economically distressed communities.

DCEO will release additional BIG grants for small businesses in future rounds of funding. Future rounds will give consideration to additional business sectors facing COVID-19 related closures or diminished operating capacity. As required by statute, BIG funding will continue to allocate a certain amount of funding for businesses in disproportionately impacted areas, or “DIAs,” which are areas that have been significantly impacted by COVID-19 and economic stresses. Separately, an additional $270 Million of the BIG program is set aside for childcare providers. Childcare providers may apply for these funds until August 14th here.

Round 1 eligibility and information:

The map below shows all disproportionately impacted areas for the Business Interruption Grant program. To determine whether or not you are located in a DIA, enter your address in the search box or look for your zip code in the list of DIAs here.

Note that for this first round of BIG funds, businesses located in a subset of DIAs where there has been recent property damage due to civil unrest will be eligible for specific grant funds regardless of whether they are in a focused industry. The zip codes eligible for this specific subset of funding are found here.

This $60 million funding round represents only the first wave of the BIG program, which in total will amount to at least $540 million in grants for small businesses, $270 million of which has been set aside for childcare providers. DCEO has issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity, with Phase 1 applications accepted on a rolling basis, to seek qualified partner(s) in assisting with administering future phases of the BIG program to small businesses. Check back here for the latest updates on BIG grant availability.