Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) today announced $25 million in available grant funding through the Back to Business (B2B) NewBiz program. Following state recovery programming for businesses totaling $1.5 billion, the latest American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)-funded opportunity is designed to provide additional support for businesses in hard-hit sectors who launched during the pandemic. Businesses that launched in 2020 or 2021 and remain in operation have faced significant impacts during the pandemic, but they have not been eligible for other federal or state relief programming since they were not operational prior to the pandemic.
To provide hands-on support and raise awareness about the program, the State has mobilized a network of nearly 100 community navigators across Illinois. Applicants are encouraged to visit b2bnewbiz.com to learn more and apply.
“Small business owners contribute to our thriving state economy every day, often taking on enormous risk to do so—but no business owner could have been prepared for the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “These grants will support those who faced down unprecedented circumstances and met them with innovation and entrepreneurial spirit who may have been left behind in previous aid efforts.”
“Small businesses and entrepreneurs are the backbone of our economy, driving our state forward. B2B NewBiz grants will ensure Illinois’ newer small businesses can continue to thrive, especially those most affected during the pandemic,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “I’m proud of our hardworking small business owners for making Illinois the best place to live, work and do business.”
Applications are open from November 30 through January 11, 2024, 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.
“Thousands of courageous entrepreneurs in Illinois launched businesses in the height of the pandemic,” said DCEO Director Kristin Richards. “B2B NewBiz makes funding available to new small business owners who were ineligible for pandemic relief based on their start date and supports small businesses across the state that are the heart of our economy.”
DCEO has enlisted a robust network of nearly 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 November 30. This is in addition to available small business support available through Illinois’ network of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs).