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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

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State offers $85 million in grants to help business and communities recover

State offers $85 million in grants to help business and communities recover

New equity-driven programs through DCEO to provide a boost for communities and businesses hit hardest during COVID-19 crisis

Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) today released applications for the latest in a series of grant programs designed to offset the economic impact of COVID-19 for businesses and communities across Illinois. The new Business Interruption Grant (BIG) and the Rebuild Distressed Communities grants total $85 million and will provide relief for thousands of businesses affected by the ongoing pandemic. 

Applications for BIG grants and the Rebuild Distressed Communities NOFO are due on July 7th. For more information on eligibility and how to apply, visit DCEO’s website.

“This virus has had devastating effects on the health and livelihoods of our residents, and we must take aggressive action to help our families and communities recover,” said Governor Pritzker. “As our small businesses reopen their doors, these grant programs will provide critical support to allow them to safely expand their operations. We can not recover without our small businesses leading the way, particularly in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by this virus, and this administration is committed to using all resources at our disposal to help them thrive.”

These programs administered by DCEO are part of over $900 million in new programs recently announced by Governor Pritzker, with a focus on restoring communities hit hardest by the pandemic. Both programs offer priority for small businesses whose operations were heavily restricted or completely shut down during the pandemic, for those located in disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs), as well as those in communities damaged by recent civil unrest. DIAs are low-income areas that have experienced high rates of COVID-19 cases.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our Illinois economy, which is why the Pritzker administration has continuously taken action to grant critical relief programs the duration of this unprecedented crisis,” said Acting Director of DCEO, Michael Negron. “With many businesses all across our state experiencing hardship from COVID-19, DCEO has worked to marshal funding in a way that reaches across all of our diverse community areas, and that assists those who need it the most. With the new BIG program, the state will ensure those businesses most greatly affected are not left behind as we move forward to a safe, phased reopening of our state and economy.”

Business Interruption Grants Program (BIG)
The first round of the new business interruption grants program, known as “BIG,” will make $60 million available for 3,500 businesses that experienced losses or business interruption because they closed or severely restricted their operations as a result of COVID-19. Businesses eligible for BIG include restaurants and bars; barbershops and salons; health and fitness centers; as well as businesses located in DIAs which have had reports of recent property damage due to civil unrest.

Businesses prioritized for this first wave of funding must have experienced extreme hardship, demonstrated by losses in excess of the grant amount since March, caused by following the public health guidance to limit their operations. Businesses must also have been in operation for at least three months prior to March 2020.
Grants will be made available for small businesses in amounts ranging between $10,000-$20,000, depending on business type and other eligibility criteria. A full list of criteria as well as the application can be found on DCEO’s website. Businesses and community partners can assess their eligibility and gather any documents needed to complete the application before it opens for submission on Friday, June 26th at 9:00am. All applications must be submitted by Monday, July 7th at 5:00pm.

BIG grants give businesses access to funds that will help accelerate reopening or expanding capacity, including assisting with purchase of technology, PPE or other equipment necessary to comply with new public health guidelines related to COVID-19. Funds may be used to help businesses cover the costs payroll, rent, utilities and other working capital during the time businesses have experienced interruptions due to COVID.

All grant categories feature dedicated set asides for businesses located in DIAs, based on a statutory mandate to release a minimum of 30 percent of BIG funds to DIAs throughout Illinois. Disproportionately impacted areas are low-income zip codes that have had a significant number of cases of COVID 19 among residents. For more information on determining eligibility or to see if your business is located in a DIA, visit DCEO’s website.

“With small businesses suffering because of the global health pandemic and recent looting from civil unrest in our country, it is critical that we step up and play a role in saving these mom and pop shops,” said State Representative Chris Welch, 7th District. “The Business Interruption Grants and Distressed Capital Program will play a critical role in helping minority owned businesses survive in this climate.”

“Working together, Governor Pritzker and the General Assembly made Business Interruption Grants a priority in this year’s state budget,” said State Senator Andy Manar, 48th District. “Making sure small business owners in all parts of Illinois have access to much needed financial assistance is imperative as we continue to fight the ongoing impact of COVID-19.  Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and we should do everything we can to support them.”

“To truly set the state on a path toward recovery, we have to extend the aid needed to help our small businesses survive these unprecedented times,” said State Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr., 17th District. “Budget negotiations were more difficult this year. I am pleased that we are providing desperately needed relief to many of the businesses who have been hardest hit, including those who can’t reopen until Phase 4 or 5.”

“The Governor has shown tremendous leadership throughout this pandemic by not only designing a broad range of programs that support those hit hardest, but by also going a step further to reach those in disproportionately impacted areas like our community,” said State Representative Lisa Hernandez, 24th District.“While small and minority-owned businesses already face longer odds for success, these programs will help them gain the footing they need to pull through this crisis.”

To ensure first round funds are disbursed quickly and carefully, DCEO will involve community-based financial institutions with experience administering grant programs throughout the state, especially in the communities designated as disproportionately impacted areas.  Similar to other COVID-19 emergency assistance programs, these CDFIs will review applications and administer funds, with funds targeted for release beginning in mid-July. Eligible businesses will be selected via a lottery process.

“Illinois small business owners are tough, but they need extra help to continue fighting through this pandemic,” said Brad McConnell, CEO of Accion Serving Illinois & Indiana. “Accion is thankful we are able to partner with the Governor to support the businesses that have been hit the hardest.”

This $60 million funding round represents 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. The Department will issue a NOFO at a later date to seek qualified partner(s) in assisting with administering future phases of the BIG program to small businesses. DCEO’s grants will complement ongoing efforts by DHS to administer BIG grants earmarked specifically for childcare centers.

“Governor Pritzker’s BIG program aims to mitigate the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black and Brown communities, and combat the baked-in inequities of relief programs that have shut out over 80% of minority owned businesses and independent contractors,” said Rebecca Shi, Executive Director, Illinois Business Immigration Coalition. “IBIC and our 147 members commend the Governor and are ready to roll up our sleeves to assist our entrepreneur of color to not only survive but thrive through this pandemic.”

To ensure that businesses are prepared to take advantage of these resources, DCEO will leverage its statewide network of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) as well as other community partners to conduct outreach to business owners eligible for BIG assistance. This outreach to small businesses and communities will prioritize ensuring diversity and inclusion of minority owned businesses in this first round of funds, as well as future rounds of funding.

Distressed Capital Program
The second program, Rebuild Distressed Communities, is a $25 million economic recovery program to support Illinois businesses that have sustained property damage as a result of civil unrest during protest and demonstrations on or after May 25th, 2020. The Distressed Capital Program will reimburse the costs to repair structural damages, including repairs to storefronts and entrances, improving electrical systems, and restoring exterior work.

The Distressed Capital Program will specifically help businesses located in DIAs and will prioritize small businesses, women and minority-owned businesses, underinsured or uninsured businesses, businesses that have a high community impact – such as grocery stores – and businesses in communities that have experienced historic disinvestment. The Distressed Capital Program also includes provisions to encourage BEP contractors, including minority- and women-owned businesses, are the first in line to do the repair work.

DCEO is issuing a NOFO to identify an administrator or administrators to oversee the provision of funding to reimburse the costs of repairs already undertaken and cover future repairs for eligible businesses damaged as a result of civil unrest. More information about eligibility and documentation required to apply can be found in the NOFO posted on DCEO’s website.

BIG and Rebuild Distressed Communities programs build on steady action taken by Governor Pritzker throughout the COVID-19 crisis to support small businesses. With the addition of this first round of BIG and Rebuild Distressed Communities, more than $150 million in business assistance programs have been announced since March – including the downstate small business stabilization fund, the hospitality grants program, and the Fast Track Public Infrastructure Program. Collectively, these programs have helped provide vital assistance for thousands of unique businesses located in every corner across the state.

DCEO will conduct a series of webinars and outreach to businesses in the coming weeks. For a list of upcoming webinars and to receive regular updates on grants and business assistance programs, please visit DCEO’s website of follow us on social at @IllinoisDCEO.


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Cook County offers $10 million recovery fund for suburban small businesses, independent contractors

Toni Preckwinkle Cook County Board President Logo

Cook County offers $10 million recovery fund for suburban small businesses, independent contractors

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle Announces Applications Open for $10M Recovery Fund for Suburban Cook County’s Small Businesses & Independent Contractors

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced today that applications are now open for the Community Recovery Loan Fund.  Launched as part of the Bureau of Economic Development’s Community Recovery Initiative, the $10 million Community Recovery Fund offers one-time, zero-interest loans of up to $20,000 for small businesses and up to $10,000 for independent contractors.  

“Cook County is committed to having a meaningful impact in the communities that are facing tough economic challenges in the face of COVID-19,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “While we know the funds will go fast, through these investments in local small businesses and independent contractors, the County hopes to positively impact financially underserved communities while providing growth capital to help sustain operations and provide assistance to our most vulnerable businesses.”  

This program will serve suburban Cook County businesses with less than 25 employees and less than $3 million in annual revenue, or independent contractors with less than $100,000 in yearly income who earn at least 50 percent of their revenue from contracting work.  Self-employed, independent contractors such as rideshare drivers and other gig industry workers residing in South Suburban Cook County are eligible. 

Toni Preckwinkle Cook County Board President Logo

Since the announcement of the recovery fund in April, more than 8,000 small businesses, independent contractors, and non-profits have reached out to express need and interest in the County’s loan fund program and technical assistance resources.    

“While we understand $10M is not enough to help the thousands of small businesses that expressed a need in this program, we are hopeful that it will offer relief to some,” said Xochitl Flores Bureau Chief of Economic Development.  “Our efforts to identify more resources and ways to grow our support are ongoing, and we are hopeful that this is coming at a time when recovery is so critical.” 

The loan applications will be processed through a network of lending partners that include: the Chicago Community Loan Fund, SomerCor, Accion, Women’s Business Development Center, and Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives Micro Finance Group.

“As Cook County is entering phase three of the Restore Illinois Plan, many small businesses and self-employed entrepreneurs outside of Chicago have struggled to access capital to keep their operations moving forward and the Cook County Community Recovery Fund, at zero percent interest, will provide relief to many south and west suburbs,” stated Bob Tucker, COO and EVP of Programs for Chicago Community Loan Fund. 

The joint effort is the latest in a variety of resources offered through Cook County’s Community Recovery Initiative program, which features a technical assistance network that has helped more than 170 small businesses get access to educational resources and $3M in funding through the Paycheck Protection Program. 

Once launched, applications will be open for ten days. We will consider the following in our review of all the applications submitted:

  • Eligibility – Applicants must meet all the criteria identified in the form, submit all the requested materials, and submit them via the portal by June 8, 2020. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • Geography: Loans will be awarded across all suburban Cook municipalities.
  • Priority will be given to applicants located in Economically Disconnected Areas or Disinvested Areas and businesses owned by women, minorities, persons with disabilities, or veterans. 

Online applications for the loans are now being accepted until June 17, 2020 and are available in English and Spanish. To apply and to find additional information, please visit

For more information visit our website.

Have a question? Read our FAQs 

Contact us at: 

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State of Illinois announces nearly $1 million for Procurement Technical Assistance Centers

Rosa Gaytan, administrative assistant to State Rep. Lisa Hernandez, addresses attendees. Seated are (from left) Pedro Pineda from the Illinois Central Management Office (CMS)., Manuel Lopez, Regional Economic Development Manager of the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, and Joe McKeown from “Team RED." Photo courtesy of the Town of Cicero

State of Illinois announces nearly $1 million for Procurement Technical Assistance Centers

Funds will Enable Businesses Throughout Illinois to Identify, Compete for, and Win Government Contracts – Deadline to Apply is July 10, 2020

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) today announced a new grant opportunity for the renewal or establishment of new Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) – a statewide network focused on matching small business with governmental entities seeking goods and services that the businesses offer.

Through a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) released today, the State will make up to $816,000 available in federal and state funds for new or existing community-based PTACs to offer continued support in helping small businesses become certified so they can identify and obtain contracts with local government and their contractors.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

“PTACs are another powerful tool we have to support the growth of Illinois’ small businesses by helping them bid on and land government contracts,” said Michael Negron, Assistant Director of DCEO. “Our PTACs are doing critical work in strengthening our communities and rebuilding the state by connecting hundreds of our small business to serve as vendors on state, local and federal contracts.”

The Illinois PTACs are the portal for small businesses looking to enter the world of government contracting. These centers provide one-on-one counseling, technical information, market research and training to existing businesses interested in selling their goods and services to local, state, and/or federal government agencies. The Illinois PTAC collaborates with Department of Defense (DoD) and other Federal, State, and local agencies working cooperatively with them to accomplish the mission of this program.

PTACs play a critical role in helping small businesses apply for lucrative government contracts. In fact, Illinois businesses won nearly 800 government contracts – worth over $1.1 billion in FY 2019, with the help of the Illinois PTAC program, while creating 489 and saving 693 jobs. The matching grant will allow current and proposed new centers to provide technical assistance through the employment of professional, experienced advisors and may cover costs associated with salary, fringe benefits, facility and indirect costs associated with the PTAC.

“Access to government contracts is very important for the growth of minority owned companies in our state. Having an Illinois PTAC at IHCC is crucial for the development of our business community,” said Angie Alonso, Director of Illinois PTAC at IL Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

The Illinois PTAC program has served as a statewide resource for businesses to obtain procurement technical assistance services for the over 35 years. There are currently cooperative agreements with 7 host organizations that serve the entire state. These local centers provide procurement technical assistance at 9 physical locations.

To help more minority- and women-owned businesses become certified for government work, PTACs provide one-on-one guidance and training on the local, state, and federal minority and women business certification programs.

“For firms interested in competing in the government market, Illinois PTACs provide the education, tools, research and support necessary for them to enhance their capacity and ability to successfully compete, “ said Emilia DiMenco, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Women’s Business Development Center, who operates an Illinois PTAC at their center.

In addition to guidance on certification, PTACs host focused outreach events and collaboration with other state and federal agency efforts targeting these special groups. PTACs make a concerted effort to seek out and assist small business concerns, Small Disadvantaged Businesses concerns (SDB), Women-Owned Small Businesses concerns (WOSB), HUBZone small business concerns, and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business concerns (SDVOSB), historically black colleges or universities and Minority Institutions (HCBCU/MIs).

Eligible applicants will include qualified Illinois universities, colleges, chambers of commerce and other non-profit business development related organizations that are interested in hosting and operating an Illinois PTAC. All eligible organizations interested in becoming an Illinois PTAC are invited to submit an application to the NOFO, found HERE.

For interested applicants, an optional Technical Assistance Informational meeting will take place on June 17, 2020 at 10 AM Please register by clicking the following link: Join meeting. The meeting number (access code) is: 285 495 267; meeting password: anHXKgFQ553; for call-in: 1-312-535-8110.