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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.

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Updates from Cook County Board President Preckwinkle

Toni Preckwinkle Cook County Board President Logo

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Cook County Government - Toni Preckwinkle - Cook County Board President

Bureau of Economic Development | May 8, 2020

Community Recover Initiative

loan pic

There’s Still Time and Paycheck Protection Program Funding!

Don’t Miss Your Chance – There’s still time to qualify for the Paycheck Protection Program. Don’t miss your chance – money is still available! If you are a small business, nonprofit, gig worker, or church interested in applying for this program, there is still time.

Complete this form today

Developing Story 

The Bureau of Economic Development Invests $154K to Help Suburban Shelter Efforts for those Experiencing Homelessness

The Bureau of Economic Development (BED) released $154,000 in grant funding to support the increased needs of the suburban Cook County areas’ homeless system. Due to COVID-19, most suburban shelter agencies are moving to a hotel-based model for sheltering individuals who are experiencing homelessness. Working with the Alliance to End Homelessness and its member agencies, BED aims to provide a safe shelter solution for people in the suburban region. BED is coordinating with the Cook County Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security and the Cook County Department of Public Health to access emergency financial support through FEMA. Additional funding is forthcoming through the Community Development Block Grant and Emergency Solutions Grant provided through the federal CARES Act.  Read the press release here.

Find out about the Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County here.

Learn about the CARES Act here.

Census 2020 – What You Can do this Week

  • Encourage completing the Census using this image and sample post:“You can still fill out the Census even during the ‘stay home order.’ From the comfort of your own home, you can fill out the Census by phone, mail, and online! Be counted and flatten the curve. #CookCountyCensus #MakeILCount #BeCounted #Census2020”
  • Share our community’s health matters using this image and sample post:“DYK decisions about healthcare resources are impacted by the Census? Fill out the Census today and help share the future for your family and your community. #CookCountyCensus #MakeILCount #BeCounted #Census2020”
  • Use the Census graphics located here to change your background on your next video call, draft a newsletter blurb, or share kids activity sheets with your family. Need help? Let us know!

Upcoming Virtual Events

Business Perspectives and Best Practices During COVID-19 – Join the Conversation:

  • Monday, May 11, at 11:30 am – Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation‘s Reggie Greenwood is hosting a Google Hangout for people to share ideas and strategies for responding to COVID-19. Join with Google Meet or by phone +1 413-276-7842 (PIN: 470909883).
  • Tuesday, May 12, at 1:00 pm, CST – Manufacturing Partnership Peer Sharing is hosting a virtual discussion for manufacturers and public partners involved in the Next-Gen Manufacturing Partnership to discuss how people are mobilizing in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Join via – Zoom link here or Dial-in: (646) 876-9923  ID: 955 9791 6506.
  • Wednesday, May 13, at 10:00 am – The Bureau of Economic Development and Daley College are co-hosting a webinar for Manufacturers to share how to use apprenticeships to attract and retain talent. Featured speakers include Ed Miniat and the Principal Manufacturing group. Register today! 
  • Thursday, May 14, at 1:00 pm  –  National COVID-19 Response Peer Sharing is hosting an open virtual forum for Next-Gen practitioners and business leaders in all industries to connect and exchange experiences in how your partnerships are responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Please come prepared to share best practices and ask questions. Join via Zoom link Dial-in: (646) 876-9923 Meeting ID: 917 5101 9747.

In Case You Missed It

  • Bureau Chief Xochitl Flores with Telemundo talking about the work of our Bureau and business recovery efforts.

COVID-19 Resources

Cook County’s Response and Resources

Cook County Department of Public Health

Illinois COVID-19 Resources

Chicago COVID-19 Resources

Centers for Disease Control

Cook County Community Recovery Initiative

City Bureau COVID Resource Finder