First Stop Business Information Center

people

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 

--- 

**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

Restaurant Revitalization Fund Webinar

Presenter: Kim Watson, Southern Region Senior Account Manager of Regional Economic Development, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity with Darrah Perryman, U.S. Small Business Administration

Register Here:
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=e2e09f02802d5e93c11b7796b4f06acc7

Date and Time: Wednesday, May 5, 2021 at 12:00 pm CST (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 Restaurant Revitalization Fund. This program is designed to provide assistance to restaurants, bars, and other similar places that serve food or drink.  Darrah Perryman from the SBA will be joining us to present information on this program as it will launch soon.

 

Workforce Development Presentation

Presenter: Kala Lambert, Southeast Region Manager, Office of Regional Economic Development, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity with guest Jamie Corda-Hadjaoui, Director of Workforce Investment Area 23

Register Here:
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=e0e68dcb1ead64c723c28bea1c14becba

Date and time: Wednesday, May 5, 2021 12:00 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 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and how it serves businesses in Local Workforce Innovation Area 23 (LWIA 23). WIOA Business Services are designed to provide assistance to local employers across numerous industries in recruiting, training assistance grants, skills assessments, apprenticeship opportunities and more. Jamie Corda Hadjaoui from the Local Workforce Innovation Board 23 will be joining us to present information on WIOA services and how your company may benefit.

 

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.

 

Restaurant Revitalization Fund Webinar

Presenter: Tracey Glenn, Southwest Regional Manager of Regional Economic Development, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity with Darrah Perryman, U.S. Small Business Administration

Register Here:
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=ebc9484f1ce1a446c702f7025b5aaab6d

Date and Time: Thursday, May 6, 2021 at 3:00 pm Central Standard Time (Chicago, GMT-06:00)

DescriptionPlease 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 Restaurant Revitalization Fund. This program is designed to provide assistance to restaurants, bars, and other similar places that serve food or drink.  Darrah Perryman from the SBA will be joining us to present updated information on this program.

 

Reimagining Business Expansion & Attraction in Illinois: How to Navigate Business Development Post COVID-19 – ILLINOIS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT WEEK SERIES EVENT

Register Here:
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=e136568b6171345aac0630c03e8efb3a8

Date and Time: Monday, May 10, 2021 AT 1:30 pm Central Standard Time (Chicago, GMT -06:00)

Description:  Please join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Intersect Illinois, and the Illinois Economic Development Association for a webinar sharing the best practices, lessons learned, and strategies for success for business attraction in Illinois post COVID-19.  Due to the onset of COVID-19, business development and attraction has changed significantly, both global and domestic. Panelists will share an update on the current economic development landscape in Illinois in and how attendees can navigate driving economic opportunity moving forward.

Welcoming Remarks: Director Sylvia Garcia, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Moderator: Justin Heather, Deputy Director, Office of Business Development, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity 

Presenters/Panelists:

  • John Casey, Senior Manager, Deloitte Tax LLP
  • Mike Pomerantz, Head of Real Estate, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
  • Bryan Gay, President, IEDA & CEO, Invest Aurora
  • Margo Markopoulos, Director, Office of Trade & Investment, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
  • Paulina San Millan, VP of Business Attraction, Intersect Illinois

 

Workforce Attraction, Development and Engagement in Illinois: Cultivating a 21st Century Workforce for the Future – ILLINOIS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT WEEK SERIES

Register Here:
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=e1c04810bf2ee7a07177b2ef9bdb0c482

Date and Time: Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at 10:00 am CST (Chicago, GMT -06:00)

Description:  Please join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, City of Quincy, Great Rivers Economic Development Foundation, and LWIA 14 for a webinar sharing strategies around workforce attraction and successful workforce development programs across Illinois. Many employers are seeking to fill many jobs, especially amidst the pandemic, and this session will highlight workforce solutions for the future. Panelists will share an update on the current economic development landscape in Illinois in and how attendees can navigate driving economic opportunity moving forward.

Welcoming Remarks: Representative Randy Frese

Moderator: Julio Rodriguez, Deputy Director, Office of Employment and Training

Presenters/Panelists:

  • Chuck Bevelheimer, Director of Planning, City of Quincy - 45X30 Strategic Plan
  • Marcel Wagner, President, GREDF – Geo-Fencing Strategy
  • Blanche Shoup, LWIA 14, Western Illinois Works Inc.
  • Carly McCrory-McKay, Executive Director, Champaign Co. Economic Development Corp.
  • Mary McGrew, Vice President Human Resources, Litania Sports Group

 

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 Standard Time (Chicago, GMT-06:00) 

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.

 

OMEE Meet & Greet

Presenter:  Kim Watson, Southern Region Account Manager, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity; Matt Simpson, African American Business Development Manager, Office of Minority Economic Empowerment

Register Here:
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=e5b4d1771a02b5d90a2c20be351323475

Date and time:  Wednesday, May 12, 2021 2:00 pm Central Standard Time (Chicago, GMT-06:00)

DescriptionDCEO's Office of Minority Economic Empowerment (OMEE) and Regional Economic Development Team (Team RED) are partnering with Federal, State and Local partners to bring information on business resources to entrepreneurs across the state. Each event will target a different part of the state. This month, the meet and greet will focus on the Southern Region of the State. Come meet federal, state, and local representatives who can assist your business at no cost.

 

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 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.

 

Illinois Economic Recovery Post COVID-19: Small Business Relief, Public Infrastructure, and Regional Economic Planning – ILLINOIS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT WEEK SERIES 

Register Here:
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=e714a3dc7e69c15b5da970ea370d8a1da

Date and Time: Thursday, May 13, 2021 at 1:30 pm Central Standard Time (Chicago, GMT-06:00) 

Description: Please join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, US Economic Development Administration, Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, and South Centralia Regional Planning Commission for a webinar around economic recovery post COVID-19. Economic Recovery will depend on bolstering the small business community, investing in public infrastructure, and regional economic development planning. Panelists will share insights around how Illinois can plan for growing the economy post pandemic, and how attendees can take advantage of federal and state funding opportunities and assistance to chart their economic future 

Moderator: Vanessa Uribe, Deputy Director, Office of Minority Economic Empowerment, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Presenters/Panelists:

  • Darrin Fleener, US Department of Commerce EDA
  • Gisele Hamm, MAPPING Program Coordinator, Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs Western Illinois MAPPING
  • James Patrick, Executive Director, South Central Planning Commission

 

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.

 

Workforce Development Presentation-LWIA 25 & 26

Presenter:  Kim Watson, Southern Region Account Manager, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity; Kathy Lively, ManTraCon; and Pam Barbee, Southern 14

Register Here:
https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=ec063413ce3c9e177b7dde762b8debe7c

Date and time:  Tuesday, May 25, 2021 9:00 am Central Daylight Time (Chicago, GMT-05:00)

Description:  Join the Department of Commerce's Office of Regional Economic Development, LWIA #25, LWIA #26, Marion Chamber of Commerce and the SIC SBDC for workforce information to assist your business. Learn about resources designed to provide assistance to local employers across numerous industries in recruiting, training assistance grants, skills assessments, apprenticeship opportunities and more.

 

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-06:00)

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-06:00)

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.

Upcoming OMEE Events & Webinars, Visit HERE