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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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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 officials outline services to Cicero Businesses

State officials detail programs available to small businesses in Cicero. Photo courtesy of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce.

State officials outline services to Cicero Businesses

Officials from the State of Illinois offered details on the many programs that the state offers to local small businesses at a meeting of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce held in Cicero on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. More than 45 business leaders attended.

ENGLISH (SPANISH version below; Video of meeting below) Also view a video of the event below.

State officials detail programs available for business at Chamber meeting

Officials from the State of Illinois outlined several programs that local businesses may qualify for to help them be more successful during a meeting of the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce held on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020.

Speakers included Manuel Lopez, Regional Economic Development Manager of the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, Joe McKeown from “Team RED,” and Pedro Pineda from the Illinois Central Management Office (CMS).

The event was organized by Cicero Town President Larry Dominick and was co-sponsored by State Rep. Lisa Hernandez.

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
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


“One program that is very helpful for small businesses provides capital investment loans that offer lower interest rates than what you might obtain from your local bank,” Lopez told the 45 business owners and representatives who attended the free meeting.

“All you have to do is reach out to us, and bring your company overview, a description of how many jobs you have and a projection of your capital investment data.”

Pineda explained that the State also provides certifications to businesses, large and small, to certify that they are women-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned and disabled-owned, categories that allow the state to provide additional resources and support.

State officials detail programs available to small businesses in Cicero. Photo courtesy of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce.
State officials detail programs available to small businesses in Cicero. Photo courtesy of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce.

Businesses owned by women, the disabled, minorities or by veteran may qualify for contract award set-a-sides.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have enough veteran-owned businesses that are certified with the state. If you are a veteran-owned business, you should reach out to us and get certified to qualify for these contracts,” Pineda said.

Pineda said that “The state has set-asides specifically to help small businesses to succeed and to stay in their community. It’s only for small businesses.”

McKeown added that in most cases, the state can significantly reduce the interest rate that a business would pay for a loan.

“We can also help businesses when they need to meet with a bank to obtain assistance,” McKeown said.

They explained that the state also provides grants, although most are for infra-structure improvements.

The state provides a wide range of programs to help new businesses launch, provide certifications for Food Service Sanitation Managers, register to become a vendor among many other programs. Business owners can visit the state’s website at for more information.

Ismael Vargas, the Town of Cicero Business License Director, also addressed the attendees explaining services and support the Town provides.

“It’s important that you reach out to us if you need assistance or information. We are there to help you,” Vargas said.

The new Cicero Chamber of Commerce was launched in November with support from Town President Larry Dominick and the Town’s business license department.

Meetings are scheduled each month and include on Wednesday, February 26 a program to connect business owners with editors and publishers of the local community news media to better understand how a business can promote its services and products.

On Tuesday, March 31, the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce will host a Job Fair to connect businesses that have job openings and who are hiring with residents who are seeking employment. Businesses will be given tables to meet and speak with community residents who are encouraged to bring their resumes.

For more information on Chamber activities visit the Chamber website at There, businesses can register online to receive information on all of the Chamber’s free programs and services.



Funcionarios estatales presentan los programas disponibles para los negocios en la reunión de la Cámara de Comercio

Los funcionarios del estado de Illinois describieron varios programas para los que las empresas locales pueden calificar, para ayudarlos a tener más éxito durante una reunión de la nueva Cámara de Comercio de Cicero celebrada el miércoles 29 de enero de 2020.

Los oradores incluyeron a Manuel López, Gerente de Desarrollo Económico Regional del Departamento de Comercio y Oportunidades Económicas de Illinois, Joe McKeown del “Equipo RED” y Pedro Pineda de la Oficina Central de Administración de Illinois (CMS).

El evento fue organizado por el presidente de Cicero Larry Dominick y fue copatrocinado por la representante estatal Lisa Hernández.

“Un programa que es muy útil para las pequeñas empresas proporciona préstamos de inversión de capital que ofrecen tasas de interés más bajas que las que podría obtener de su banco local”, dijo López a los 45 propietarios y representantes de negocios que asistieron a la reunión gratuita.

“Todo lo que tiene que hacer es comunicarse con nosotros y brindar una visión general de su empresa, una descripción de cuántos trabajos tiene y una proyección de sus datos de inversión de capital”.

Pineda explicó que el Estado también proporciona certificaciones a empresas, grandes y pequeñas, para certificar que son propiedad de mujeres, minorías, veteranos y discapacitados, categorías que permiten al estado proporcionar recursos y apoyo adicionales.

Las empresas propiedad de mujeres, discapacitados, minorías o veteranos pueden calificar para la adjudicación de contratos.

“Desafortunadamente, no tenemos suficientes negocios de veteranos que estén certificados con el estado. Si usted es un veterano-dueño de negocio, debe comunicarse con nosotros y obtener la certificación para calificar para estos contratos”, dijo Pineda.

Pineda agrego que “el estado ha establecido apartados, específicamente para ayudar a las pequeñas empresas a tener éxito y permanecer en su comunidad. Es solo para pequeñas empresas”.

McKeown agregó que en la mayoría de los casos, el estado puede reducir significativamente la tasa de interés que una empresa pagaría por un préstamo.

“También podemos ayudar a las empresas cuando necesiten reunirse con un banco para obtener asistencia”, dijo McKeown.

Explicaron que el estado también otorga subsidios, aunque la mayoría son para mejoras de infraestructura.

El estado ofrece una amplia gama de programas para ayudar al lanzamiento de nuevos negocios, proporcionar certificaciones para los Gerentes de Saneamiento del Servicio de Alimentos, registrarse para convertirse en proveedor entre muchos otros programas. Los dueños de negocios pueden visitar el sitio web del estado en para obtener más información.

Ismael Vargas, el Director de Licencias Comerciales del Town of Cicero, también se dirigió a los asistentes explicando los servicios y el apoyo que brinda el municipio.

“Es importante que se comunique con nosotros si necesita ayuda o información. Estamos allí para ayudarlo”, dijo Vargas.

La nueva Cámara de Comercio de Cicero se lanzó el pasado mes de noviembre con el apoyo del presidente municipal, Larry Dominick y el Departamento de licencias comerciales de la ciudad de Cicero.

Las reuniones se programan cada mes e incluyen el miércoles 26 de febrero, un programa para conectar a los dueños de negocios con editores y el personal periodístico de los medios de comunicación de la comunidad local para comprender mejor cómo una empresa puede promocionar sus servicios y productos.

El martes 31 de marzo, la nueva Cámara de Comercio de Cicero organizará una Feria de Empleo para enlazar a las empresas que tienen vacantes de empleo y que quieran contratan a residentes que buscan trabajo. Las empresas recibirán mesas para reunirse y hablar con los residentes de la comunidad a quienes se les anima a traer sus currículums.

Para obtener más información sobre las actividades de la Cámara, visite el sitio web de la Cámara en Allí, las empresas pueden registrarse en línea para recibir información sobre todos los programas y servicios gratuitos de la Cámara.

Click this link to view a video of the event or use the widget below


State officials detail programs available to small businesses in Cicero
during a meeting of the Chamber of Commerce held on Jan. 29, 2020.