IDES Informational Zoom Meeting on Unemployment Benefits

Worried about when your unemployment benefits may run out? Did you know that you may be eligible to continue receiving your benefits while going back to school to learn a new trade or career?

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) and the Decatur Illinois workNet Center’s Business Service Team invites you to an informational workshop. (Please note: this counts as an unemployment work search activity)

What: Virtual Zoom Informational Meeting
When: 9:30 to 10:30 AM | Thursday, May 6, 2021
How: Call 217-875-8751 for the Zoom invitation link
Where: Call in from your own personal computer, tablet or phone.

This event is sponsored by IDES and the Decatur Illinois workNet Center’s Business Service Team.

Here are some topics that will be covered:

  • Finding good-paying, local jobs
  • Transferring existing skills to other jobs/careers
  • Continuing unemployment benefits while learning a new trade/career
  • Learning what training is available and how it may be paid for
  • Availability of community assistance during difficult times
  • Other FREE resources are available at your local Illinois workNet Center

Call 217-875-8751 for your Zoom Invitation Now.

8 Rivers Capital, ADM Announce Intention To Make Illinois Home To Game-Changing Zero Emissions Project

ADM’s processing complex in Decatur, IL

DECATUR, Ill.April 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — One of the world’s first zero emissions Allam-Fetvedt cycle power plants, the Broadwing Clean Energy Complex, is poised to be built in Illinois, generating 280 MW of clean power to help decarbonize the industrial, transport, and electricity sectors. 8 Rivers Capital, LLC (8 Rivers) and ADM (NYSE:ADM) announced today that they have agreed in principle to locate the Broadwing facility adjacent to ADM’s processing complex in Decatur, storing captured carbon safely a mile and a half underground via ADM’s proven carbon capture and storage system.

8 Rivers, through its Zero Degrees development business, aims to reach a final investment decision in 2022 and begin operations by 2025. Warwick Capital Partners LLP (Warwick) will serve as a development financing partner through its targeted investment vehicle Warwick Carbon Solutions. NET Power continues to lead the commercialization of the Allam-Fetvedt power cycle technology that was invented by 8 Rivers and will be deployed at Broadwing.

NET Power and the Allam-Fetvedt Cycle represent a game-changing advance in the search for solutions to climate change.  The technology combusts gas with oxygen, as opposed to air, and uses supercritical carbon dioxide as a working fluid to drive a turbine instead of steam. This eliminates all air emissions, including traditional pollutants and CO2, and inherently produces pipeline-quality CO2 that can be sequestered, all while operating at competitive cost and efficiency to traditional gas power plants.

One of the first projects of its kind in the world, the Broadwing Clean Energy Complex would involve more than a half-billion-dollar investment into Central Illinois, building on the existing carbon storage facility at Decatur funded by ADM and the US Department of Energy. This would potentially create over a thousand direct and indirect jobs during construction along with approximately two dozen jobs for operation of the facility. The Allam-Fetvedt Cycle power plant has the potential to displace over 1 million tons of CO2 per year emitted from existing coal and gas plants, while itself emitting no air pollutants, accelerating the path to 100% clean power in Illinois and across the world.

“This 8 Rivers Energy deployment with a full-scale Allam-Fetvedt Cycle plant represents a paradigm shift for how the world generates power. The technology makes clean energy affordable for every country, so the whole world can rapidly reduce its emissions. Today’s announcement jump-starts deploying hundreds of NET Power plants globally and accelerates the drive to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. It represents years of hard work from our world-class teams at 8 Rivers and NET Power, as well as our partners ADM and Warwick Capital Partners,” said 8 Rivers’ CEO, Cam Hosie.

“Across ADM’s value chain, from the crops we buy to the products we create, we’re finding new, innovative ways to sustainably feed the world,” said Veronica Braker, ADM’s senior vice president of global operations. “Last year, we embarked on Strive 35, an aggressive program to evolve ADM’s environmental footprint, including reducing our absolute greenhouse gas emissions. Today, we’re advancing a project that represents a potential leap forward in GHG reduction technology. We’re excited for the opportunity to integrate our Decatur operations – and particularly our world-class carbon capture and storage facility – with this groundbreaking new zero-emission power plant, and we look forward to exploring other ways that we can support this project.”

Lee Elder, NET Power Board Member and senior advisor, said, “NET Power is pleased and excited to support this visionary development as an important step on the pathway to widespread adoption of our technology. The Broadwing Clean Energy Complex illustrates the essential role of NET Power in the global clean energy transformation.”

Alfredo Mattera, Co-Chief Investment Officer and Founding Partner at Warwick Capital Partners said, “We are excited to collaborate with ADM and 8 Rivers to make this groundbreaking project a reality. Carbon-free power and industrial plants will be essential to achieving society’s net-zero ambitions and providing the scale to enable the transition to a clean energy future. We see an unprecedented market opportunity for high-impact clean technologies and projects to globally advance net-zero carbon emissions. We are proud to serve as a development finance provider of this world-class plant that will provide low-cost, carbon-free power.”

“Innovative manufacturers don’t just use cutting edge technology – we create it. This amazing partnership between ADM, Warwick, NET Power, and 8 Rivers will reshape the world around us by making energy more affordable, reliable, and cleaner. It’s a great example of how manufacturers are making smart investments that promote sustainability, reduce costs, and harness new energy solutions,” said Mark Denzler, president & CEO, Illinois Manufacturers’ Association.

In the coming months, the Broadwing Clean Energy Complex team will work together to advance key elements of the proposed project, from engineering design to permitting activities to the signing of final contracts between the companies. They aim to complete these processes and announce the final decision to move forward in 2022, after which construction would begin.

PROJECT WEBSITE:    www.Broadwing.Energy

ADM: At ADM, we unlock the power of nature to provide access to nutrition worldwide. With industry-advancing innovations, a complete portfolio of ingredients and solutions to meet any taste, and a commitment to sustainability, we give customers an edge in solving the nutritional challenges of today and tomorrow. We’re a global leader in human and animal nutrition and the world’s premier agricultural origination and processing company. Our breadth, depth, insights, facilities and logistical expertise give us unparalleled capabilities to meet needs for food, beverages, health and wellness, and more. From the seed of the idea to the outcome of the solution, we enrich the quality of life the world over. Learn more at

8 Rivers Capital, LLC is a Durham, NC-based firm leading the invention and commercialization of sustainable, infrastructure-scale technologies for the global energy transition. 8 Rivers is the inventor of the Allam-Fetvedt Cycle, a paradigm-changing net-zero power solution that was named ADIPEC’s “Breakthrough Technology of the Year 2018” and that is anticipated to form a cornerstone of the clean energy transition. 8 Rivers is also focusing on developing and deploying technologies for clean hydrogen and ammonia, direct air capture, retrofit carbon capture, sour gas sweetening, and space-based solar power. Learn more:

Warwick Capital Partners LLP is an investment management company founded in 2010 and headquartered in London. The firm focuses on special situations and has significant investment experience in energy assets, capital investment and technology. Warwick recently launched Warwick Carbon Solutions, a targeted investment vehicle to advance net-zero emission development projects. Learn more at:

SOURCE 8 Rivers Capital, LLC

Breaking Down Food Production

To the average American there are few things as common as a grocery store. Although they have only existed in their current form for roughly a hundred years, people often consider them to be as ubiquitous as the items the stores carry. As most people walk the aisles of a modern supermarket collecting their goods, they likely consider the task rather pedestrian and suburban while few recognizing that one is standing in a true apex of modern value-added production and logistics.

Your typical supermarket carries around 40,000 distinct consumer goods. So, where does all of that come from? A tiny fraction of it is prepared at deli counters or bakeries but their constituent components are not. Nothing is designed, refined, or produced there from conception to inception. Every product available -despite how artisan, home-grown or small batch it claims to be- is the end result of a scaled industrial process. Modern manufacturing techniques are applied to the production of these goods or there simply could never be enough of them to fill every supermarket shelf.

While the production, packaging, and transportation of finished consumer goods to the tens of thousands of grocery stores around the nation is impressive, these efforts are just the tip of the iceberg of a much larger manufacturing effort: food ingredient production. If you reach into your cupboard and pull out any finished food item, you will find a legally mandated ingredients list somewhere on the packaging. Starting from the top of this ingredient list, you will likely have some idea of what you are looking at with items such as corn, wheat flour, cane sugar, soy, etc. However, as you move down the list things may become a bit unclear. Riboflavin? Dextrose? Potassium bitartrate!? What are these things? Where do they come from? Who makes them? Are they safe? The short answer is the vast majority of these are naturally derived organic and inorganic compounds that are perfectly safe for and quite likely necessary for the human metabolism. Riboflavin is Vitamin B2; Dextrose is just sugar; and Potassium bitartrate you likely know by its user-friendly name, Cream of Tartar.

So, why the confusion? These food ingredients and additives are precise chemical compounds that are refined and produced to exacting standards and purity by food scientists for other food scientists. There are over 20 million identified organic substances on Earth and many of them are toxic so legally there cannot be any ambiguity in what is being utilized in food production; proper chemical names must be used. Companies like ADM and Tate & Lyle who discover, develop, and produce these substances along with hundreds of millions of tons of more common food ingredients are at the cutting edge of organic chemistry and bioscience and are doing this work right here in Decatur, Illinois. It is however unlikely that you will ever spot their logos in your shopping cart, but believe me, their products are likely there.

No wonder Decatur has been named “First in the Nation for Agricultural Bioscience Employment” by Business Facilities Magazine and “Second in the Nation for a Thriving Agricultural Economy” by Forbes Magazine.

Written by Andrew Taylor, EDC’s Economic Development Officer

Workforce Pipeline Survey Now Available

Having a pipeline of qualified employees at all skill levels is important to economic development efforts and employers alike. Our local high schools are a natural source for recruiting future employees and with your input, workforce training programs can be developed focusing on the topics that you feel are most needed.

To assist in the development of such programs, please complete this short eight question survey:

Feel free to share this with others in your company. We will close the survey on Friday, February 12th. Your feedback is needed and greatly appreciated.


Decatur, IL Ranked Fourth in the Nation for Best Places to Work in Manufacturing

Decatur, IL Ranked Fourth in the Nation for Best Places to Work in Manufacturing

Decatur, Illinois – Decatur, Illinois was recently ranked fourth in the nation as a best place to work in manufacturing in 2020.

SmartAsset ranked the nation’s “Best Places to Work in Manufacturing” by comparing nearly 400 metro areas across the following metrics: manufacturing as a percentage of the workforce, job and income growth between 2015 and 2019, job and income growth between 2017 and 2018, housing costs as a percentage of income, and unemployment. From these findings, the financial technology company concluded that Decatur, IL saw income for manufacturing jobs increase by 33.08%, the fourth-highest increase in the study. The ranking also mentioned Decatur’s affordable housing was the fifth-lowest rate for the metric across all 378 metro areas.

“There is a popular belief in America today that Manufacturing is something that we once did,” said Andrew Taylor, economic development officer of the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur-Macon County. “At 22.5% of our employment base, Macon County is living proof that it is something that we still do.”

For more information on the 2020 Manufacturing Report and SmartAsset, click here.


About the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur and Macon County

The Economic Development Corporation of Decatur & Macon County is a nonprofit public-private partnership responsible for non-retail business attraction, expansion and retention efforts in Decatur & Macon County. Composed of a combination of leading private sector employers, labor, educational institutions and a variety of governmental bodies, the EDC is uniquely positioned to address the needs of Macon County’s existing business and employer base along with prospective businesses looking to locate in and around the Decatur, Illinois area. The EDC works with local, state and federal partners to provide economic, technical and training assistance to businesses in the Macon County area.


Nicole Bateman, President
Economic Development Corporation of Decatur-Macon County
PH: 217-422-9520

ADM, InnovaFeed announce construction of world’s largest insect protein facility in Decatur, Illinois





ADM, InnovaFeed announce construction of world’s largest insect protein facility in Decatur, Illinois

  • New project represents innovative, sustainable production to meet growing demand for insect protein in animal feed, a market that has potential to reach 1 million tons in 2027
  • Construction of high-capacity facility to support hundreds of jobs in Decatur area, targeted to begin in 2021, pending permits and approvals

CHICAGO and PARIS – ADM (NYSE:ADM), one of the world’s leading human and animal nutrition providers, and InnovaFeed, the world leader in producing premium insect ingredients for animal feed, today announced plans to collaborate on the construction and operation of the world’s largest insect protein production site, in Decatur, Illinois. The facility will be owned and operated by InnovaFeed and will co-locate with ADM’s Decatur corn processing complex, with ADM supplying feedstocks, waste heat and more. Together, these investments will bolster economic growth and job creation in Decatur and central Illinois while continuing to strengthen the state’s position as a center of innovative, sustainable agriculture.

“We are very pleased to launch this ambitious project, working alongside ADM and Illinois state partners as InnovaFeed expands to provide sustainable solutions to meet the fast growing demand for insect feed in the US and worldwide,” said Clement Ray, CEO and co-founder of InnovaFeed. “Around the world, InnovaFeed is contributing to the emergence of sustainable food systems by developing a pioneering and sustainable industry. Our new operations in Illinois, a global leader and destination for agriculture, will allow us to take the next steps to innovate and grow our business.”

“At a time when the demand for animal feed protein is steadily increasing, insect farming stands out as a true solution for the future,” said Chris Cuddy, ADM senior vice president and president of the company’s Carbohydrate Solutions business. “We’re excited to work with InnovaFeed on this ambitious project, which further expands our participation in the growing market for animal food and feed that comes from responsible, sustainable sources. It’s a great demonstration of how ADM is expanding its value chain by offering opportunities for collaboration to leading, innovative startups. It’s yet another example of how we’re constantly identifying new ways to create value from corn, oilseeds and more. And of course, we’re extremely proud that we can help bring this new, job-creating project to Decatur, the home of our North American headquarters.”

Insect feed has become an increasingly popular protein ingredient for the agriculture and aquaculture industries, as demand for animal feed has now reached an all-time high and consumers look for food that is sustainably and responsibly grown. InnovaFeed already operates two insect production facilities in France, including what is today the world’s largest. The Decatur facility represents InnovaFeed’s first international project.

“InnovaFeed’s decision to bring their first ever international facility and state-of-the-art agriculture technology to Illinois is a vote of confidence for our state, and a win for our farming communities,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Illinois has always been a global leader in agriculture and technology, and we offer the resources to support this major international expansion – with an educated workforce, proximity to global businesses like ADM, and access to shipping and logistics. The investments InnovaFeed is making in Decatur will not only support our thriving agriculture industry – a cornerstone of our economy – but will unlock new well-paying jobs for our communities.”

Construction of the new high-capacity facility is expected to create more than 280 direct and 400 indirect jobs in the Decatur region by the second phase. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and the Illinois workNet Center will partner with InnovaFeed to develop recruiting strategies as well as on-the-job training programs. DCEO also partnered with InnovaFeed through an EDGE agreement to support this large-scale capital investment. Locally, InnovaFeed will benefit from the Decatur-Macon County Enterprise Zone and customized incentive opportunities from the City of Decatur and Economic Development Corporation of Decatur-Macon County.

Construction is targeted to begin in 2021, pending necessary permitting and approvals. Construction and production will come in two phases. When both are complete, the plant would have a target annual production capacity of 60,000 metric tons of animal feed protein derived from Hermetia Illucens, a type of fly with exceptional nutritional qualities; the plant will also have the capability to produce 20,000 metric tons every year of oils for poultry and swine rations, and 400,000 metric tons of fertilizer.

“Illinois remains open for business, and companies continue to choose Illinois for growth based on our industry strengths, talent, education and access to infrastructure,” said Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity Director Erin Guthrie. “With agriculture a leading industry and employer for communities across our state, these investments by InnovaFeed to bring their one-of-a-kind technology will support our farmers and those who rely upon farms. We look forward to partnering with the company on ensuring our local residents have access to jobs and economic opportunity created by this exciting new project in Decatur.”

“The city of Decatur is pleased to partner with InnovaFeed to bring this unique and innovative facility to our community,” said Decatur Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe. “Not only will this project fuel both direct and indirect job creation, but it affirms that our best prospects for creating new jobs are in the agri-business sector, in partnership with our existing businesses, in a city that is an ideal place for groundbreaking advanced manufacturing. ADM, the State of Illinois, the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur-Macon County, and the City of Decatur worked together to bring this plant to Decatur. Our concierge approach results in joint incentive opportunities to support InnovaFeed’s infrastructure and operational needs.”

The plant will be built using an innovative model of industrial collaboration that InnovaFeed has already demonstrated in other facilities enabling the French Biotech company to produce the insect protein with the lowest carbon footprint on the market. The plant will be co-located with ADM’s Decatur corn complex, with complementary infrastructure that will allow ADM to directly provide corn by-products to supply InnovaFeed’s innovative insect rearing process, as well as waste heat and steam. This collaborative operational model will enable the InnovaFeed facility to reduce CO2 emissions by 80 percent versus standalone production.

About ADM
At ADM, we unlock the power of nature to provide access to nutrition worldwide. With industry-advancing innovations, a complete portfolio of ingredients and solutions to meet any taste, and a commitment to sustainability, we give customers an edge in solving the nutritional challenges of today and tomorrow. We’re a global leader in human and animal nutrition and the world’s premier agricultural origination and processing company. Our breadth, depth, insights, facilities and logistical expertise give us unparalleled capabilities to meet needs for food, beverages, health and wellness, and more. From the seed of the idea to the outcome of the solution, we enrich the quality of life the world over. Learn more at

About InnovaFeed
InnovaFeed is a biotech company that produces a new source of protein from insect rearing (Hermetia Illucens) for animal and plant nutrition. InnovaFeed’s mission is to participate in the rise of sustainable food systems by addressing the increasing demand for natural, healthy and competitive raw materials. Combining the largest production capacity on the market and state of the art research in biotechnology, InnovaFeed has developed an innovative technology and process enabling the production of high-quality insect ingredients at industrial scale and at a competitive price.

Press Contacts:
For InnovaFeed: Marianne Rageot, +337 78 21 51 09,
For ADM: Jackie Anderson, 312-634-8484,
For State of Illinois: Lauren Huffman, 217-622-0435,
For Economic Development Corporation of Decatur-Macon County: Nicole Bateman, 217-369-1509,

Video Resources:

Learn more about InnovaFeed and how they are feeding tomorrow’s world.

Take a look at InnovaFeed’s Nesle site for an idea on how the Decatur facility may look.

Additional Local Media Coverage:

Herald & Review

Celebrating Manufacturing Month in October

During the month of October, the EDC will join others around the country to celebrate Manufacturing Month. Our community’s legacy and success is due to the contributions made by manufacturers and their employees.

For the fifth year in a row, the EDC will work with these local manufacturers to host “Manufacturing Days” in Decatur. This year will look a bit different due to social distancing requirements and will include a virtual week of awareness for local students and the community.

Be sure to like the Limitless Decatur Facebook page and stay tuned for a Manufacturing Day takeover from October 19th through the 23rd. For more information, visit the Limitless Decatur webpage here.

Business Interruption Grant (BIG) Round 2

The EDC strongly encourages every Macon County business that meets the eligibility requirements to apply regardless of if you are a “priority” business, in a Disproportionately Impacted Area (DIA), etc. DCEO has dedicated funding for downstate Illinois businesses.

Who is eligible?

Click here for the detailed list of eligibility guidelines and additional info on the Highly Impacted Industries (that will get priority), and Priority Industries (also gets priority).

  • Highly Impacted Industries: Event Venue, Music Venue, Performing Arts Venue, Indoor Recreation, Amusement Park, Movie Theater, Museum, Charter/Shuttle Bus Service
  • Priority Industries: Independently-owned retail, Restaurant, bar, tavern, Fitness center, Tourism-related and travel-related activities including lodging and accommodations, Support services for arts and events

At a minimum, to be eligible, the business:

  • Must be an independently owned and operated for-profit corporation or limited liability corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship authorized to conduct business in the State of Illinois; OR a 501c3, 501c6, or 501c19 nonprofit.
  • Must have been operating for at least three months prior to March 2020. Unfortunately, businesses starting up After March 2020 are ineligible. If you started a business in 2020 and do not have much financial documentation, DCEO doesn’t have a good way to determine the success of your business – or lack thereof – due to the short timeframe in which you were in business.
  • Must have had less than $20 million in gross operating revenue in calendar year 2019, or a pro-rated amount if in operation for less than a year prior to March 2020.
  • Must have experienced net operating losses since March 21, 2020.
  • Must have been closed or had reduced operations due to government orders, public health guidelines, or depressed consumer demand during the COVID 19 pandemic.
  • Must have complied with all relevant laws, regulations, and executive orders from the State and federal government, including the social distancing guidelines as promulgated by the Executive Orders of the Illinois Governor.

Who is ineligible?

The following businesses are not eligible:

  • independent contractors or freelance workers that do not operate a sole proprietorship;
  • child care providers that are eligible for Child Care Restoration Grants (this includes all licensed child care providers; license-exempt child care providers that meet other eligibility guidelines are eligible to apply);
  • a private club or business that limits membership for reasons other than capacity;
  • a business primarily engaged in speculative activities that develop profits from fluctuations in price rather than through normal course of trade;
  • a business that earns more than a quarter of its annual net revenue from lending activities, unless the business is a non-bank or non-bank holding company certified as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI);
  • a business that derives at least 33% of its gross annual revenue from legal gambling activities;
  • a business engaged in pyramid sales, where a participant’s primary incentive is based on the sales made by an ever-increasing number of participants;
  • a business engaged in activities that are prohibited by federal law or applicable law in the jurisdiction where the business is located or conducted. (Included in these activities is the production, servicing, or distribution of otherwise legal products that are to be used in connection with an illegal activity, such as selling drug paraphernalia or operating a motel that knowingly permits illegal prostitution);
  • a business that derives a majority of its income as an owner of real property that leases that property to a tenant or tenants under a lease agreement;
  • a business principally engaged in teaching, instructing, counseling, or indoctrinating religion or religious beliefs, whether in a religious or secular setting;
  • a government-owned business entity (except for businesses owned or controlled by a Native American tribe);
  • a business primarily engaged in political or lobbying activities;
  • a business that manufactures or sells at wholesale, tobacco products, liquor or that manufactures or sells firearms at wholesale or retail;
  • a night club or strip club;
  • an employment agency;
  • a pawn shop;
  • a liquor store;
  • a storage facility or trailer-storage yard or junk yard;
  • an establishment similar to any enumerated above; or
  • a business in which a majority owner has a financial or familial connection to a director, principal shareholder or leadership member of the Department or Department’s partner under the program.

Grant Size:

Grants will be $5,000-$150,000 max.

Award amount is scaled according to proof of a business’s loss during the designated timeframe.

Grants will be awarded and funded on a rolling basis. There is no deadline. DCEO will continue to award until money is exhausted.

What businesses gets priority?

Priority will be given to entities that did NOT receive Payment Protection Program (PPP) or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). This doesn’t mean that you can’t be funded, but you will not be given priority.

Businesses in a DIA will get priority (scroll to the bottom of this page for a map of DIAs), along with those deemed Highly Impacted Industries or Priority Industries on this document.

Businesses with less than $5 Million in annual revenue.

PPP & Other Funding Impacts on BIG Eligibility

Funds provided through the CARES Act (PPP loans, BIG grants, and some other loan/grant programs) may not be used to cover the same costs twice. In other words, combined, those grants and loans cannot exceed the total eligible costs that your company has experienced since March 2020 under each respective program.

If a business has exhausted PPP funds for the specified time period in which they applied to use the PPP, then they can use BIG to cover payroll for a different time period since March 2020. A business cannot “double dip” and use BIG to cover expenses previously covered by any other state or federal funds.

If you have received any previous grant funding, it doesn’t matter the amount, the fact that you received SOME help will deprioritize you. DCEO knows there are small businesses that haven’t received anything, so they want to make sure those businesses receive priority.

What about Non-Profits?

501(c)3 and 501(c)6 can apply. Note to 501(c)6: they cannot give funds to an organization that lobbies (which may include Chambers of Commerce). DCEO is checking on the eligibility of 501(c)4 organizations.

What can the money be used for?

Funding may be used to help businesses with working capital expenses, including payroll costs; rent; utilities; and other operational costs as defined in the eligible cost list found here. See page 3 or read a breakdown below. For purposes of the Business Interruption Grant (BIG) Program, costs incurred during a business interruption may be classified as a cost related to COVID-19. Eligible use of funds from the BIG Program is limited to costs and losses incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant proceeds may be used for:

  • to reimburse costs and losses such as inventory, equipment (including Personal Protective Equipment and other supplies to promote health and safety),
  • compensation (including salaries, wages, tips, paid leave, and group healthcare benefits),
    • Over and above what was covered by your PPP loan, if the grant proceeds are spent during your PPP covered period for forgiveness
    • After the covered period ends, there is no restriction
  • Rent, mortgage, insurance premiums, and utilities
  • Lease payments
  • Payment of principal and interest on business loans (excluding EIDL and PPP loans)
  • Technology to facilitate e-commerce
  • Professional services procured (including the design and construction of environments necessary to promote physical and social distancing and cleaning and disinfecting services)
  • and other costs of operation in accordance with the applicable administrative rules or the policy directives of the grantor that was incurred during the period that begins on March 1, 2020, and ends on December 30, 2020.
  • All spending related to this program must be reimbursable by the Federal Coronavirus Relief Fund, as prescribed by 601(a) of the Social Security Act and added by section 5001 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act including all subsequent federal guidance.
  • Expenses that have been or will be reimbursed under any other federal program are not eligible for reimbursement through the proceeds of this subaward.

Convention Centers:

BIG funds can’t be used to cover revenue losses associated with loss of government transfers or taxes. Revenues that might be sourced from operating feeds for use of space/services and from membership dues can be covered.

Tips for Completing the Application:

Do not rush to fill out this application. Fill it out right the first time.  If there are any inaccuracies, your application will be set aside and DCEO may or may not circle back around to it depending on the amount of applications they receive. Everything should align – owner’s name, business name, technical names, etc.

For that reason, do not use Google Autofill on the application form.

Any inaccuracies will stall your application. The worst thing you can do is apply incorrectly.

If you cannot demonstrate losses, they cannot scale the grant. The main thing to underscore is that you need to prove your losses. They want to understand the full scope of your losses.

If you’re a sole proprietor and don’t have a W-9, you need to demonstrate how much money you made in 2019 (tax returns, financial statements). DCEO may be providing additional information on this in the near future.

Proof of rent, insurance, etc. documentation: cancelled checks and invoices are good documentation to provide.

The more information you can provide the better.

Who can provide technical assistance for completing the grant?

The Small Business Development Center in Champaign County can help with technical assistance. Click here to fill out a client contact form (this is free to you!).

Who will be contacting businesses regarding questions on your application or potential award?

After submitting your application, you will hear from either of these agencies (in charge of administering the program, working with businesses on follow-up and documentation as necessary): Accion and/or Women’s Business Development Council.


APPLY NOWBusiness Interruption Grant Application (English)

VIEW: Round 2 Application Questions

VIEW: Round 2 Application Checklist

VIEW: Business Certification Form and Eligible Cost List

VIEW: Guidance for BIG Awards and Other Federal Support Such as PPP and EIDL (Non-Duplication of Benefits)

VIEW: Round 2 Detailed Eligibility Criteria

Hispanic Heritage Month

From September 15th through October 15th, the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity’s Office of Minority Economic Empowerment celebrates the accomplishments and the cultures of Hispanics. DCEO-OMEE will be hosting a series of events to celebrate the month.

Below are the events DCEO will be hosting in either English or Spanish:

Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 9:00 a.m., “Access to Capital”
– We will be discussing financial resources for your business. To register please visit:

  • Hosted by: DCEO, Groupon, LULAC Illinois and in partnership with Hispanic Chamber of Lake County (HCLC) and The Latino Round Table of Southwestern Illinois.

(Spanish Webinar) Thursday, September 17, 2020 at 9:00 a.m., “Access to Capital” – We will be discussing financial resources for your business. To register please visit:

  • Hosted by: DCEO and LULAC Illinois and in partnership with Hispanic Chamber of Lake County (HCLC) and The Latino Round Table of Southwestern Illinois

(en español) jueves, 17 de septiembre de 2020 a las 9:00 a.m., “Acceso a Capital” – Hablaremos de recursos financieros para su negocio. Para registrarse visite Folleto adjunto.

  • Coorganizado por DCEO y LULAC de Illinois en alianza con HCLC y Latino Round Table for Southwestern Illinois

(Spanish Webinar) Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 10:00 a.m., “SBDC Assistance & Best Practices for Business Owners” – Free assistance for business owners and discussion on best practices for businesses. To register please visit:

  • Hosted by: DCEO and Illinois SBDC Network

(en español) miércoles, 23 de septiembre de 2020 a las 10:00 a.m., “Asistencia de Centro de Desarrollo de Pequeñas Empresas (SBDC por sus siglas en inglés) y Mejores Prácticas para Propietarios de Empresas” – Asistencia gratuita para propietarios de empresas y diálogo sobre mejores prácticas para propietarios de empresas. Por favor regístrese aquí:
Alojado por DCEO y Red SBDC de Illinois

Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 3:00 p.m., “OMEE Grant: Best Practices” – We will be discussing best practices for applying for state grants, specifically, OMEE grant. To register please visit:

  • Hosted by DCEO-OMEE and Office of Accountability

Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 4:00 p.m., “Equity in Film: Latinx Perspectives” – We will be discussing equity in film. To register please visit:

  • Hosted by DCEO-OMEE and DCEO Film Office

Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 2:00 – 3:30 p.m., “The Brank of U & How to Work It” – from you as an individual, as an entrepreneur, a business person that works for a company, & how to utilize tech to be your best friend & 24/7 employee. Today’s Covid 19 environment has caused many challenges, but it has also caused amazing miracle opportunities. We will discuss the “unique” approaches for pivoting, working your brand while sleeping, & how to capitalize your brand for elevated recognition. Learn directly from the disruptors & consider this time well spent on yourself & “UR Life, UR Way.” To register please visit:

  • Hosted by DCEO, GROUPON and LULAC – Latina Entrepreneurs NOW, in partnership with Latina Executive and Entrepreneur Network (L.E.E.N.), Mujeres Latinas en Accion and Chicago Latina Moms

Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 2:00 – 3:30 p.m., “Regulations, Workforce, and Finances” – Come here how to obtain applicable business licenses from IDFPR, how to hire and expand workforce, and business finances. To register please visit:

  • Hosted by DCEO-OMEE and DCEO-OET in partnership with the Greater Peoria Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Northwest Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 2:00 – 3:30 p.m., “Latinas in Manufacturing” – Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, National Women Business Month, and Manufacturing Month, this webinar will discuss how Latinas in manufacturing got into the business, pivoted, and expanded into leadership roles. To register please visit:

  • Hosted by DCEO-OMEE, DCEO-OET and Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE)

Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 10:00 a.m., “Certification and Government Contracting” – come here about how to get your business certified and expand into government contracting. To register please visit:

  • Hosted by DCEO-OMEE, Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus, Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in partnership with CMS-BEP, Aurora Regional Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

(Spanish Webinar) Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 2:00 p.m., “Certification and Government Contracting” – come hear about how to get your business certified and expand into government contracting. To register please visit:

  • Hosted by DCEO-OMEE, Groupon, Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus, Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in partnership with CMS-BEP, Aurora Regional Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Mujeres Latinas en Accion.

(en español) jueves, 15 de octubre de 2020 a las 2:00 p.m., “Certificación y Contratación Pública” – venga a escuchar cómo certificar su negocio y expandirse a la contratación pública. Por favor regístrese aquí:
Coorganizado por DCEO-OMEE, Groupon, Caucus Legislativo Latino de Illinois, Cámara Comercio Hispana de Illinois en alianza con CMS-BEP, Aurora Cámara de Comercio Hispana Regional y Mujeres Latinas en Acción.

OMEE Events:

The webinars are open to everyone; however, please note that there are webinars that do target specific communities. We are working towards conducting more webinars; therefore, if you don’t see one that appeals to you below OMEE or DCEO’s Regional Economic Development office may have one for you in the near future. Feel free to contact us at

Online with OMEE – The Business Development Managers from Office of Minority Economic Empowerment (OMEE) are excited to host you for Online with OMEE – an open online conversation with OMEE constituents (racial/ethnic minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and veteran owned businesses). We will provide you with the latest updates regarding federal and state programs, share information about other resources available, and answer any questions you may have about available state or federal programs.

For information please contact:

Diana Alfaro, Latino Business Development Manager (si hablo español)

Matthew J. Simpson, African American Business Development Manager

Ibie Hart, Woman’s Business Development Manager

Tiffany T. Hawkins, Cannabis Loan and Grant Program Manager

Contact the First Stop Business Information Center Helpline at: 1-800-252-2923.  Spanish speaking assistance is also available at that number.

National Black Business Month

Join us as we celebrate National Black Business Month in August and recognize the Black-owned businesses in our community, state and across the country. Below you’ll find both statewide and local events.

Local Events
Please see the list of local event(s) below presented by the Greater Decatur Black Chamber of Commerce.

  • September 12th: Criminal Records Sealing & Expungement Seminar – Criminal records 101; sealing vs expungement; records that are available for assistance; alternative remedies; information on Cannabis Control Act. The event will take place at the INC.SPOT on 269 West Eldorado Street in Decatur from 3-5 PM. Please RSVP by email to:

Statewide Events

The state of Illinois is celebrating August’s National Black Business Month by teaming up with Groupon to host a series of workshops for Black-owned businesses across the state.

Groupon, the Chicago-based company, and the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will host three virtual panel discussions for businesses and entrepreneurs during the month of August. Business workshops are FREE to attend and will bring together an all-star line-up of government officials, business industry groups, and Black business community leaders. That list includes: Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton, Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs, Groupon’s Interim CEO Aaron Cooper, DCEO Acting Director Michael Negron, Marc Morial, President, of the National Urban Leagure, and local Small Business Administration (SBA) officials.

All of the Black Business Month events will take place every Monday at 2:00 PM, Wednesday at 10:00 AM, and Thursday at 2:00 PM. Please see the list of events below and click the appropriate links to register.

  • August 3: Define BOSS– A high level discussion on entrepreneurship, and success stories from Black business bosses from across the state.  Click Here to Register
  • August 5: Open Forum – Join the African American Business Development Manager, Matthew Simpson and the Women’s Business Development Manager, Ibie Hart in an open forum in which you can ask questions and get answers. We are here to support you! Click Here to Register
  • August 6: Open Forum – Join the African American Business Development Manager, Matthew Simpson and the Women’s Business Development Manager, Ibie Hart in an open forum in which you can ask questions and get answers. We are here to support you! Click Here to Register
  • August 10: Black Women in Business– A discussion on Black women’s experience in the world of business, will include conversations on the challenges as well as success stories from Black woman entrepreneurs from across the state. Click Here to Register
  • August 12: How to best position yourself for Government Grants –  This webinar is for black women who are interested in preparing their business for government grants. We will be discussing GATA certification, NOFO writing, as well as best practices and common mistakes. Click Here to Register
  • August 13: Doing Business w/ Government – Fostering an inclusive and competitive business environment that will help Black Business Enterprises increase their capacity, grow revenue, and enhance credentials. Click Here to Register
  • August 17: Access to Capital – A conversation on business finance, and how entrepreneurs – from start-ups experienced business owners – can put themselves in position to tap into capital markets. Click Here to Register
  • August 19: Leveling up your marketing and operations for success during COVID. This webinar is for Black Women who want to learn how to market their business and improve operations for success during a pandemic. Click Here to Register
  • August 20: Black Business Lending – Access to Capital & Tax incentives: How Black Businesses can access financial resources and tax incentives to scale and grow a sustainable business that increases overall economic opportunity and growth in communities of color. Click Here to Register
  • August 24: Strength in Numbers– Discussing the need for collaboration in business development, and how unity brings success and facilitates growth. Will also touch on the reality that we cannot do it alone. Click Here to Register
  • August 26: OMEE & Illinois SBDC Presents ADME – Each month we will offer a dynamic discussion on a business topic and highlight one of OMEE’s focus communities. This month the discussion is marketing and the highlight is National Black Business Month! Click Here to Register
  • August 27: Federal and State Financial Resources for Black Businesses amidst COVID-19 and Civil Unrest – How Black Businesses can take advantage of federal/state COVID-19 grant/loan relief programs and rebuild damaged businesses post Civil Unrest.  Click Here to Register
  • August 31: A Vision for Your Brand– A conversation on branding and ensuring that entrepreneurs understand how to present and position their company in the best way possible. Click Here to Register

For more information on the Illinois Office of Minority Economic Empowerment, click here. Please email any questions to: