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State offers support for local businesses in Cicero

Cicero Health Department staff provided vaccinations to all Cicero residents including to seniors. Photo courtesy of the Town of Cicero

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.

State Representative Lisa Hernandez and Town President Larry Dominick and the Town of Cicero Board are supporting and promoting the program widely, and encourage local businesses to apply for the grant support.

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.

Cicero Health Department staff provided vaccinations to all Cicero residents including to seniors. Photo courtesy of the Town of Cicero

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.

 How to apply:

  • Application Portal Now Open
    • Applications can be tracked in real-time
    • Allies for Community Business (A4CB), DCEO’s grant administrator, is now accepting applications (create an account first and then select your language of choice)

  • Learn about the information and documentation required
  • Documentation needed:
    • Business owner ID (ITIN business owners eligible)
    • Business’s 2019 AND 2020 Federal tax returns
    • Two (2) business bank statements – one from the period April through December 2020, and most recent statement
  • List of Frequently Asked Questions also available in: Spanish, Polish, Chinese, Hindi, and Arabic

Need help? Application assistance and webinars

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:

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Post COVID Grant opportunities to help businesses

coronavirus COVID-19 virus courtesy of WIkipedia

Post COVID Grant opportunities to help businesses

Extra Funds to Help with Electric Bills: LIHEAP Supplemental

Starting this week, your constituents enrolled in LIHEAP within the last twelve months will start to receive a one-time payment in their utility accounts to help with unpaid bills or future costs. Around 227,000 Illinois households already enrolled in LIHEAP will receive about $36 million in federal funds. No action is required from you or your constituents. Thank 

Workforce Grant: Apprenticeship Expansion Program

What: The objective of this NOFO is to diversify apprenticeship programs and find innovative ways of employing the apprenticeship model to meet the needs of businesses, resulting in a total of 750 new registered apprenticeship programs by the end of 2024. It is Illinois’ goal to use this NOFO to increase apprenticeship opportunities for historically underrepresented populations.

Potential Applicants: Both public and private organizations that have the ability to grow apprenticeship programs are eligible.

How Much: Potentially 30 grants ranging between $75k and $350k. Up to $5.5 million in total grant funding.

Deadline: August 24th, 2021

Apply: Application materials are here.


Federal Grants

SBA Veteran Outreach Program

What: Organizations can apply for a grant to deliver their existing veteran federal procurement entrepreneurial training program to veteran-owned small businesses who intend to pursue or already engaged in federal procurement.

Potential Applicants: Non-profit organization or private sector firm

How Much: Up to $500,000, average of $250,000/award

Deadline: July 12, 2021

Apply: Grants.Gov


NEA American Rescue Plan Grants to Organizations

What: The National Endowment of Arts funding will support day-to-day operating costs. Awards are intended to impact a broad constituency, including organizations that serve populations that are underserved. The Arts Endowment funding is available through two separate competitive opportunities: Grants to Organizations and Grants to Local Arts Agencies for Subgranting.

Potential Applicants: Nonprofits, institutions of higher education, and units of state or local government. Applicants may be arts organizations, local arts agencies, arts service organizations, local education agencies (school districts), and other organizations that can help advance the goals of the Arts Endowment.

How Much: $50,000-150,000

Deadline: August 12, 2021

Apply: Grants.Gov


NIST Manufacturing USA Technology Roadmap (MfgTech) Grant Program

What: Grants from the  National Institute of Standards and Technology will develop technology roadmaps for promising advanced manufacturing clusters by establishing new or strengthening existing industry-driven consortia that address high-priority research challenges to grow advanced manufacturing in the U.S. The emphasis of this NOFO is on technology roadmapping in areas of critical interest to the nation, including technology areas appropriate for potential future Manufacturing USA institutes.

Potential Applicants: Nearly every type of organization: non-profit, for-profit, units of government.

How Much: $300,000

Deadline: August 17, 2021

Apply: Grants.Gov

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State offers SBA Paycheck Protection online webinar

SBA Small Business Paycheck protection DCEO State of Illinois

State offers SBA Paycheck Protection online webinar

The Illinois District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Northeast Region of the Illinois and Department  of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) are  joining  to present a webinar on the programs administered by SBA   within the Economic Aid Act.

Friday, February 19, 2021 1:00 pm
Central Standard Time (Chicago, GMT-06:00)

These programs will assist in invigorating the  small businesses and community organizations affected by COVID-19;

We invite you to attend.

SBA Small Business Paycheck protection DCEO State of Illinois


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Cook County COVID-19 Recovery Small Business Assistance Program to offer financial wellness webinar Jan. 27

01-20-21 COVID Recovery COok COunty

Cook County COVID-19 Recovery Small Business Assistance Program to offer financial wellness webinar Jan. 27

The COVID-19 pandemic introduced uncertainty and fear to the lives of most small business owners around Cook County.

To continue to support small businesses through this difficult time, Cook County’s COVID-19 Recovery Small Business Assistance Program is planning a finance-focused webinar, titled “It’s Your Turn: Time to Survive and Thrive – PPP and More”, for 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 27.

All small business owners in Cook County are welcome to register for the free event at

The webinar will discuss the reopened Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans and how small businesses can work with local lenders to secure assistance.

01-20-21 COVID Recovery COok COunty

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, representatives from Small Business Assistance Program partner organizations and small business owners who have received assistance from the program in the past — like Luz Cavazos, owner of Juicy Luzy Sangria — will speak during the event. Attendees will also have the opportunity to join small group discussions.

“Getting that email was a blessing,” Cavazos said of finding out about the Small Business Assistance Program. “I’m grateful for the grant we got, because if we wouldn’t have gotten it… it was literally just making it, not knowing how long you had.”

The County also invites small businesses to sign up for the Cook County – Chicago Business Advising Program, also known as technical assistance, which provides individualized assistance to business owners to help them address needs; acquire new capital and customers; understand finances, as well as change and risk management; adjust business models; and operate under changing safety regulations. This assistance is provided by program partners like Accion, Chicago Urban League, Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Women’s Business Development Center, Berwyn Development Corporation, Chicago TREND, Cook County Black Chamber Corporation and Southland Development Authority.


The Cook County COVID-19 Recovery Small Business Assistance Program provides support for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program offers advising for small businesses in Cook County and grants for small businesses in suburban Cook County and the unincorporated areas. For more information about the program, visit

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Cook County Offers programs for businesses

Toni Preckwinkle Cook County Board President Logo

Cook County Offers programs for businesses

OUTP Header - w/President - for newsletters and other templates

Bureau of Economic Development

December 16, 2020

Are you a restaurant or bar employee? Register for our Webinar: Support and Assistance for Restaurant & Bar Workers

Join us for a webinar on Thursday, 12/17 at 10:00 (CST) to learn more about:

  • How to apply for relief
  • Information about other organizations and assistance programs helping the food and beverage industry

Introductory remarks will be provided by Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer, Tenth District. Hear from panelists from the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, the Southern Smoke Foundation, and the West Suburban Cook County American Job Center.

This webinar is being produced in partnership with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and the Cook County Community Recovery Initiative.

Register here for the webinar!


Cook County Community Recovery Initiative

Looking for a Job during the Pandemic?

The Cook County COVID-19 Recovery Job Training and Placement Program, in partnership with the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, can help you get back to work and find new careers.

Apply by clicking the button below or call them at 1-800-720-2515.

Go here to apply!

Are You Behind on Bills? Apply for Utility Assistance before Winter Arrives!

Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County, Inc. (CEDA) has programs to assist eligible residents with paying utility bills.

If you or someone you love are in need of support, you can access programs to pay for your utility bills with our partners at CEDA. Call them at (800) 571-2332.

They offer support through the following programs and online applications. The programs currently open are:

Dealing with Eviction or Unresolved Debt?

  • Are you behind on your mortgage or property tax payments?
  • Do you live in Cook County?

You are not in this alone. You may be eligible for FREE legal help from the Cook County Legal Aid for Housing and Debt Program.

Call 855-956-5763

Go here to apply for help.

In Case You Missed It

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Chamber launches new Business Spotlight Program with Profile on Bimbo Bakeries

Spotlight on Cicero Businesses with Bimbo Bakery. Dec. 6, 2020 with Moises Chavez, Plant Manager for Bimbo Bakeries in Cicero and Ray Hanania, spokesman for the Town of Cicero and program host. Image courtesy of the Town of Cicero and the Cicero Chamber of Commerce.

Chamber launches new Spotlight on Cicero Businesses Program with Profile on Bimbo Bakeries

The Cicero Chamber of Commerce and Town President Larry Dominick and the Town of Cicero board of trustees have partnered to launch a new program to help put the spotlight on the successful practices of local businesses that are successfully coping with the coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic.

(View the video interview below)

Called “Spotlight on Cicero Businesses,” the program features regular Zoom Video interviews with selected Cicero based companies and discusses the challenges they have faced in the pandemic and how they have addressed those challenges.

Representatives from each company will discuss their Best Practices they employ to ensure a safe and healthy environment for the product, customers and employees. 

Spotlight on Cicero Businesses with Bimbo Bakery. Dec. 6, 2020
Spotlight on Cicero Businesses with Bimbo Bakery. Dec. 6, 2020 with Moises Chavez, Plant Manager for Bimbo Bakeries in Cicero and Ray Hanania, spokesman for the Town of Cicero and program host. Image courtesy of the Town of Cicero and the Cicero Chamber of Commerce.


The first interview was conducted this past week with Moises Chavez, the Plant Manager for Bimbo Bakeries’ Cicero location at 1540 S. 54th Avenue. Bimbo Bakery has 60 locations in the United States, two in the Chicagoland region and 200 around the World.

Bimbo Bakeries employs 400 individuals at the Cicero location and is planning to expand their production there and hire 40 more employees in the next few months. The Cicero location produces more than 2 million units of product each week that include Entenmann’s, Bimbo, and Marinela products . Bimbo Bakeries produces food products under 21 total brands that include Thomas, Sara Lee, Beefsteak and Boboli to name only a few.

“Bimbo is celebrating its 75th Anniversary this year and I am very proud to be working with them,” Chavez said during the 30 minute interview.

Click here to visit Bimbo Bakeries website.

Click here to view the video interview online or use the widget below.


If you would like to have your business spotlighted, please email Ray Hanania at the Town of Cicero at

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Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity COVID-19 grants still available

Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity COVID-19 grants still available

The DCEO is still accepting applications for Business Interruption Grants.

However, applications will soon close since we’re nearing the end of the year, so we’re encouraging a final push to get the word out to small businesses.

If you have any questions or need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the DCEO’s Regional Economic Development team for more information.

Click this link for more information.

Click this link for Grant Applications.

Illinois Map Tier 3 Coronavirus mitigation
Illinois Map Tier 3 Coronavirus mitigation
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Business Interruption Grants Program (BIG)

Business Interruption Grants Program (BIG)

Applications begin on June 26, 2020

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is launching the first round of Business Interruption Grants (BIG) by providing $60 million to businesses experiencing losses or business interruption as a result of COVID-19 related closures. The BIG Program is available for up to 3,500 businesses that experienced a limited ability to operate due to COVID-19 related closures. DCEO will begin distributing funds to qualifying businesses in early July. The total program funding will amount to at least $540 million in grants for small businesses, $270 million of which has been set aside for childcare providers and is funded by the CARES Act.

In the first wave of grants, priority will be given to small businesses that have been heavily restricted or completely shut down during the pandemic. Additional priority will be given to businesses located in disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs), or low-income areas that have had high rates of COVID-19 cases. Businesses eligible for the program must have experienced extreme hardship, demonstrated by experiencing eligible costs or losses in excess of the grant amount since March.

Specifically, the program includes support for:

  • Businesses located in DIAs Where There Was Recent Property Damage from Civil Unrest – $20 million for businesses that are located in a subset of DIAs that have recently experienced significant property damage, providing 1,000 grants of $20,000 each
  • Bars and Restaurants – $20 million for bars and restaurants unable to offer outside service, providing 1,000 grants of up to $20,000*
  • Barbershops and Salons – $10 million for barbershops and salons, providing 1,000 grants of $10,000 each*
  • Gyms and Fitness Centers – $10 million for gyms and fitness centers that have lost significant revenue due to COVID-19, providing 500 grants of $20,000 each*

Businesses must have been in operation for at least three months prior to March 2020 and must meet specific annual revenue criteria outlined in document below.


DCEO will begin accepting applications on June 26th. The application submission portal will be posted on this webpage. Until the 26th, DCEO is posting the application questions and required documents for businesses and business support organizations to read, review and prepare.  *While a portion of funds are reserved for businesses located in DIAs, the following business types in non-DIA locations are also eligible to apply for assistance: bars and restaurants; barbershops and salons; gyms and fitness centers.

Questions? Submit a question in via the question submission form in English or Spanish. Submitting a question via the form ensures a timely response.

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.


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State allows restaurants & bars to resume indoor service

State allows restaurants & bars to resume indoor service

Letter from the Town of Cicero, Wednesday June 24, 2020

Notice to Restaurants (Indoor and Outdoor Dining) Effective June 26, 2020-1

Indoor Restaurant and Bar Establishment Guidelines (Eng/Span)

Attention Cicero Businesses:

We are happy to announce, by order of the Office of the Governor of the State of Illinois, all restaurants may now resume indoor dining operations for restaurants, and bar establishments. Groups of up to 10 people are allowed to be seated together for indoor dining beginning Friday, June 26th, 2020. The IDPH provides safety guidelines for restaurants, and bar establishments to prevent the exposure to and the spread of COVID-19. Seated areas should be arranged so that tables allow for 6ft. between parties; impermeable barriers may be installed between booths that are less than 6ft. apart.

All the safety guidelines can be found attached to this letter and can be found online by clicking this link.

Additional guidance may be needed as the COVID-19 outbreak conditions change including new information about the virus such as, its transmission and impacts.

In addition, all restaurants must continue to follow the Illinois Department of Commerce guidelines at all times. All guidelines can be found attached to this letter and can also be found online by clicking here.

All signs that need to be displayed at your establishment when you open for indoor person dining can also be found at said website.

Any businesses defying this order or the Illinois Department of Commerce guidelines will be shut down immediately and may be issued a ticket or ordinance violation and may have their business license suspended or revoked.

Our Town President Larry Dominick and Board of Trustees are working together to make our community a safe place for all of our residents and businesses. So we ask for your understanding so we can all work together in keeping our Town as safe as possible during these times. Should you have any additional questions or concerns please contact us at 708-656-3600 Ext. 165 and we will be more than happy to address your questions or concerns.

We know that together we will continue to move forward while keepings our residents safe.
Ismael Vargas, Town of Cicero Business License Director

Atención Negocios de la Cuidad de Cícero:

Estamos contentos de anunciar, por la orden de la Oficina del Gobernador del Estado de Illinois, que todos los restaurantes y bares podrán resumir las operaciones dentro de su localidad. Grupos no más de 10 personas será permitido sentarse juntos dentro de la localidad a partir de viernes, 26 de Junio de 2020. El IDPH proporciona reglamentos de seguridad para restaurantes y establecimientos de bares para evitar la exposición y la propagación de COVID-19.

Las áreas de asientos interiores deben estar dispuestas de modo que las mesas permitan 6 pies entre grupos. Restaurantes y bares podrán instalar barreras impermeables entre cabinas de menos de 6 pies aparte.

Toda la regulación de seguridad se puede encontrar adjuntas a esta carta y se pueden encontrar en línea en.

Es posible que se necesite orientación adicional a medida que cambian las condiciones del brote del COVID-19, incluso a medida que se dispone de nueva información sobre el virus, su transmisión e impactos.

Además, todos los restaurantes deben seguir las reglas del Departamento de Comercio de Illinois en todo momento. Todas las reglas se pueden encontrar adjuntas a esta carta y también se pueden encontrar en línea en.

Todos los letreros que necesitan ser mostrados en su establecimiento cuando usted abre para servir comida dentro de su localidad se pueden encontrar en dicho sitio web.

Los negocios que desafían esta orden o las reglas del Departamento de Comercio de Illinois serán cerrados inmediatamente y pueden recibir una multa o una infracción de la Ordenanza y pueden tener sus licencias de negocio suspendidas o revocadas.

El presidente de la ciudad, Larry Dominick y la Mesa de Directivos están trabajando juntos para hacer nuestra comunidad un lugar seguro para todos nuestros residentes y negocios. Así que pedimos su cooperación para que todos podamos trabajar juntos en mantener nuestra ciudad lo más segura posible durante estos tiempos. Si tiene cualquier pregunta adicional o preocupaciones por favor póngase en contacto con nosotros al 708-656-3600 Ext. 165.

Ismael Vargas, El Director de Licencias de Negocios

Business License Department
708.656.3600 ext. 250, 253, 205
FAX 708.656.0859