SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – This week, Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced $175 million in Back to Business Grants available for sectors hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically, restaurants, hotels, and creative arts organizations.
Applications are open for eligible businesses from April 5, 2023 – May 10, 2023. Applicants will receive a grant as long as they meet eligibility requirements and submit proper documentation required by the program. DCEO encourages applicants to familiarize themselves with eligibility requirements and reach out to local community navigators with any questions.
“The COVID-19 pandemic devastated economies across Illinois and beyond, but our businesses have made a strong recovery,” said House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch. “This Back to Business program has helped our small businesses, as well as those in underserved communities, continue to serve their communities and preserve important jobs for hardworking Illinoisans.”
Since the start of the pandemic, DCEO has provided more than $535 million to more than 15,000 businesses through the B2B and Business Interruption Grant Programs. The program design is based on legislation establishing the Restaurant Employment and Stabilization Grant Program ($50 million), Hotel Jobs Recovery Grant Program ($75 million) and the Illinois Creative Recovery Grant program ($50 million).
“In the three years since COVID-19 brought our state, our nation, and our world to a standstill, Illinois businesses have come back swinging—in part thanks to our Back to Business program,” said Governor Pritzker. “My administration is committed to helping small business owners move past survival and onto long-term success—and this latest investment of $175 million in B2B grants does exactly that.”
DCEO has enlisted a robust network of more than 100 community navigators to conduct outreach and provide technical assistance in the hardest hit communities. Community Navigators will be conducting community outreach, hosting webinars and supporting prospective applicants to prepare before the application opens on April 5, 2023. DCEO is also hosting statewide information kick-off session webinars. For more information about eligibility requirements and to register for a session, please visit DCEO’s website.