CHAMPAIGN-URBANA, Ill. (WAND) - Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced $46 million in small business grants have been released to 2,655 small businesses throughout the state, with 50 grants totaling $910,000 for businesses in the Champaign-Urbana area.

Thes grants represent the first round of the Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program.

Grants are being provided to over 400 individual cities and spread across 78 counties.

Grant recipients include business communities hit hardest by COVID-19 related closures.

“I’m proud to announce the first $46 million of our $636 million Business Interruption Grant program has been deployed to help nearly 2,700 small businesses in over 400 cities and towns in Illinois. That’s 78 of our 102 counties. The initial focus of these grants has been on businesses that have been most severely impacted by COVID-19 — those that were completely shut down during the pandemic and those that are in COVID-impacted areas that experienced property damage amidst the looting and civil unrest in June,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Overall, the BIG program will offer at least $270 million in grants to small businesses who have suffered losses due to the COVID pandemic, with a separate $270 million set aside specifically for childcare providers – an essential underpinning of our workforce for countless working families. The federal PPP program seems to have overlooked too many entrepreneurs and small shops, and it was important to me and to the General Assembly to ensure that small businesses – which employ the largest number of people – get the help they need. That’s why we focused on the smallest local businesses, with annual revenues of $3 million or less in this initial round of funding.”

“Under Governor Pritzker’s leadership, BIG is our latest tool in helping businesses with the support they need to maintain operations, support their staff and focus their efforts on a safe reopening in the wake of the crisis,” said Acting Director of DCEO, Michael Negron. “While the first round of BIG will provide a much-needed boost for thousands of businesses around the state, we know there is much more we must do.  Through a number of programs launched in recent weeks, and with another round of BIG on the horizon, we will continue to respond to the needs facing our business community and work to provide assistance where it’s needed most.”

First round grants range from $10,000-$20,000 and may be used to help businesses with working capital expenses, including: payroll costs; rent; utilities; and equipment as well as other unexpected costs to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, such as PPE, training, and new technology. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has placed an immense burden on businesses across our state, and right here in Champaign County,” said Carly McCrory-McKay, Executive Director of the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation. “We’re extremely grateful to Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for the creation of the Business Interruption Grants Program, supporting 50 small businesses in the Champaign-Urbana area in the first round. These funds will be crucial in helping businesses offset some of the negative impacts of the pandemic, especially the industries heavily restricted or completely shut down.”

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