The Illinois 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.

For full details, visit the DCEO BIG webpage or read a summary below.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE: 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 criteria outlined in the document here: Full Eligibility Criteria

In the first wave of grants, priority will be given to:

  • Those categories listed above in disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs) *click this link and scroll to the bottom of the page to see the DIA map*
  • Businesses within the civil unrest zip codes within DIAs get even more preference. For Macon County, those zip codes are 62522 and 62526.
  • 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

Any restaurant/bar, barber shop/salon or gym/fitness center that is otherwise eligible (check full eligibility criteria) can apply regardless of location.

Other types of businesses might be eligible if they are located in a DIA. 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.

WHEN AND WHERE TO APPLY: DCEO will begin accepting applications on June 26th. This Grant Application link is for viewing only so that businesses can read, review, and prepare the required documents. An application for eligible businesses to complete will be posted on June 26th on the DCEO BIG page and the deadline for the first round of funding will be July 7th at 5pm. 

HOW ARE FUNDS AWARDED: DCEO will screen and qualify businesses through the application process and the grants will be awarded in a lottery style, not first come first served. DCEO will begin distributing funds to qualifying businesses in early July.

QUESTIONS: Submit a question to DCEO via the question submission form in English or Spanish. Submitting a question via the form ensures a timely response from DCEO. You may also reply to this email and I will help the best that I can with the information we’ve been provided from DCEO.