Applications open April 5 – May 10 at Illinois.gov/B2B; community navigators available to conduct outreach and provide technical assistance to hardest hit communities.
CHICAGO — Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) today announced $175 million in available grant funding through the Back to Business (B2B) program. Following state recovery for businesses totaling nearly $1.5 billion, the latest American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) -funded opportunity is designed to provide additional support for the hardest-hit sectors, including restaurants (B2B Restaurants), hotels (B2B Hotels), and businesses or organizations in the creative arts sector (B2B Arts). To provide hands-on support and raise awareness about the program, the State has mobilized a network of more than 100 community navigators across Illinois.
“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 JB 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.”
As outlined in statute, B2B Arts and B2B Restaurants grant award amounts will be determined by revenue declines, as reflected on tax returns, and funding for hotels will be allocated by number of rooms. Applications are open from April 5 through May 10, 2023 and awards are expected to be made several weeks after the deadline date. All eligible applicants will receive a grant as long as the business meets eligibility requirements and submits proper documentation and attestations.
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). The funding is designed to offset losses and support job retention in the hardest-hit industries.
“Illinois’ businesses have made a strong recovery since the most difficult times of the pandemic and we’re proud to build upon that progress through additional support for hard-hit industries,” said DCEO Director Kristin A. Richards. “Restaurants, hotels and creative arts are industries designed to bring people together, and with an additional $175 million we are investing in communities and supporting continued economic development.”
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 outreach, hosting webinars, and supporting prospective applicants to prepare before the application opens on April 5, 2023. This is in addition to available small business support available through Illinois’ network of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs).
In order to manage a high volume of applications in a timely manner, DCEO has enlisted a program administrator – the National Community Reinvestment Coalition Community Development Fund (NCRC CDF) – to support with application review, provide technical portal support for applicants, manage the development of the application portal and provide support in processing payments.
“The impacts of the pandemic are far from over for small businesses and its aftermath continues to threaten their long-term success, especially for those owned by Black, Latino, and other underserved entrepreneurs,” said Marisa Calderon, Executive Director of NCRC CDF. “These grants will help to shore up small businesses, preserve what they have worked so hard to build, and save jobs in our communities.”
Eligibility, Application, and Awards
The B2B Restaurants (20 ILCS 605/605-1100), B2B Hotels (20 ILCS 605/605-1095) and B2B Arts (30 ILCS 709/40) programs were designed in accordance with state statute, which specified industries, buckets of funding, spending guidelines and more. A summary of the programs are included below:
|B2B Restaurants||B2B Hotels||B2B Arts|
|Funding Available||$50 million||$75 million||$50 million|
|Award Range||$5,000-$50,000||Up to $1,500 per room||$5,000-$250,000|
|Impact of Receiving Prior Award||Ineligible if business received any prior state relief funding (B2B, BIG, RRF) or more than 10K in local funding.
Businesses who received federal funds, such as PPP are eligible.
|Amount of state or local grants received deducted from overall award amount.||Grant based only on 2021 losses for businesses that received prior state relief funding (BIG or B2B).|
|Spending Guidelines||Flexible spending to support losses||80% for payroll related costs; 20% flexible spending||Flexible spending to support losses|
|Examples of Eligible Businesses (for the full eligibility list and guidelines please visit Illinois.gov/B2B)||Restaurants
|Performing and presenting arts
Cultural heritage organizations
In addition to webinars and outreach hosted by community navigators, DCEO will be hosting statewide information kick-off sessions on the dates below:
- Statewide DCEO English-Language Webinars
- Friday, March 24, 2023, 10:00 a.m.
- Thursday, March 30, 2023, 10:00 a.m.
- Thursday, April 6, 2023, 2:00 p.m.
- Statewide Spanish-Language Webinar:
- Subvenciones Back to Business (B2B por sus siglas en inglés) para restaurantes, hoteles, y empresas de artes creativas
- Jueves, 30 de marzo de 11:00 a.m.
- Registrese aqui https://bit.ly/ildceob2b
B2B Restaurants, B2B Hotels and B2B Arts builds on the success of the Business Interruption Grants (BIG) program and the first round of the Back to Business (B2B) Programs, launched by the Pritzker administration to provide more than 15,000 awards to businesses totaling $536 million, with 47 percent of grants awarded to minority-owned businesses – a testament to the work of the community navigators program designed to help reach more underserved businesses in minority and rural communities across the state.
Since the onset of the pandemic, DCEO has allocated nearly $1.5 billion in pandemic-related support for businesses, including $536 million through B2B & BIG, $899 million in Child Care Restoration Grants (administered in partnership with DHS), $18.5 million in local CURE funding specifically allocated to businesses, $14 million in Emergency Hospitality Grants, and $3.5 million in BIG agriculture grants.
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