Wilhour Urges Businesses To Consider BIG Program

State Rep. Blaine Wilhour is urging local businesses to consider applying for grant monies through a new program which began June 22, 2020 at the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DECO). The first round of Business Interruption Grants (BIG) will provide $60 million to businesses experiencing losses or business interruption because of COVID-19 related closures.

“This is a program that many businesses in our area should be able to qualify for like barber shops, fitness centers, bars and restaurants,” said Rep. Wilhour. “The imposed shut down of businesses by the governor has been devastating to our economy and disrupted many hard-working families. These grants can’t completely erase all of the damage caused by the forced shut downs, but maybe they can help some small businesses just a little.”

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 of which has been set aside for childcare providers and is funded by the CARES Act.

Businesses eligible for the program must have experienced extreme hardship, demonstrated by eligible costs or losses in excess of the grant amount, since March and may continue to face depressed revenues or closure. The businesses must also have been in operation for at least three months prior to March 2020. An emphasis will be placed on those businesses that are located in areas that have experienced recent property damage due to civil unrest, exacerbating the economic impacts of COVID-19. The programs that may help in our area include:

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

More information can be found online at:

https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/SmallBizAssistance/Pages/C19DisadvantagedBusGrants-DistressedCapital.aspx