Small businesses grant applications begin soon in Illinois to help those affected by COVID-19

Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 5:57 PM CDT
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CARBONDALE, IL. (KFVS) -The pandemic is an economic punch in the stomach to small business. Soon Illinois companies can apply for a state grant to re-coop some of the losses in revenue.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is launching it’s new Back to Business grant program.

“Anything that we can do to help them survive and help them find these funds, is really critical to us being, doing what we do,” says SIU Director of Entrepreneurship and Business Development, Greg Bouhl.

Bouhl is talking about the new 250-million-dollar fund to help small businesses in Illinois.

“Of course we want most of that money to come to southern Illinois, to support our region here. So we’re working really closely with these businesses to make sure that they are getting their applications in,” says Bouhl.

So you may be wondering how does a business qualify?

“A business will need to have shown that they have lost money from 2020 verses 2019 so they have to show a 5,000 dollar or more loss,” says Bouhl.

SIU and the Greater Egypt Regional Planning and Development Commission, are among the so called Community Navigators, helping businesses to apply for grants.

The Full List of Community Navigators: MANTRACON, Shawnee Community College, Southeastern Illinois college, Southern Five Regional Planning District and Development commission and SIU-Carbondale and SIU-Edwardsville.

All of those Community Navigators are here to help small businesses get through the application process and answer questions.

You are encouraged to reach out to those Community Navigators if you need help.

“The one thing that we learned through covid is that the businesses that had a established relationships with banks, cpas, what not. They had an advantage, over other businesses that were less connected and were underserved. So this program back to business prioritizes those folks that might have not received other funding,” says Jennifer Olson, Economic Development Director for Greater Egypt.

Olson says some of the Community Navigators have added additional staff to help with the process.

Bouhl told me, the best part of his job is helping out with small businesses. I asked him why that is.

“But the owners of small businesses are just fascinating people, they all have really great stories as to why they are doing what they are do. They are very passionate and they really make up the fabric of our community,” says Bouhl.

The application process open August 18, but Bouhl’s overall mission?

“is to help southern Illinois businesses start and grow, that’s what we do,” says Bouhl.

The application process is also open to non-profit organizations.

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