The 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.
Funds will be distributed to qualifying businesses in early July.
In the first wave of grants, priority will be given to 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. 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. (See full eligibility criteria list here.)
Specifically, the program includes support for:
Bars and Restaurants - Providing 1,000 grants of up to $20,000 for bars and restaurants unable to offer outside service.
Barbershops and Salons - Providing 1,000 grants of $10,000 each for barbershops and salons.
Gyms and Fitness Centers - Providing 500 grants of $20,000 each for gyms and fitness centers that have lost significant revenue due to COVID-19.
Businesses located in DIAs Where There Was Recent Property Damage from Civil Unrest - Providing 1,000 grants of $20,000 each. Southwest Illinois communities include Alton, Wood River, Venice, Madison, East St. Louis, Lebanon, Caseyville, Washington Park, Cahokia, Dupo, Alotron, and Centreville. (see DIA map here)
WHEN AND WHERE TO APPLY: DCEO will begin accepting applications on June 26th, 2020. The application submission portal will be posted (here). Until the 26th, DCEO is posting the application questions and required documents for businesses and business support organizations to read, review and prepare.
This $60 million funding round represents only the first wave of the BIG program, which in total will amount to at least $540 million in grants for small businesses, $270 million of which has been set aside for childcare providers. For the remaining BIG funding, DCEO will issue a NOFO at a later date to seek qualified partner(s) in assisting with administering future phases of the BIG program to small businesses. America's Central Port will continue to share the latest updates as the remaining funding is made available.