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KANKAKEE – As small businesses face financial uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) is encouraging business owners to apply for a Business Interruption Grant (BIG). 

“Small businesses form the core of our community, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it extremely difficult for some to survive,” Joyce said. “I encourage folks that have suffered significant losses to apply for aid through the BIG program to help them through these challenging times.” 

In this round of grants, $220 million will be allocated to provide relief for all types of small businesses. Funding can be used to help businesses with working capital expenses, including payroll costs, rent, utilities and other operational costs.

The BIG program is a $636 million program created to provide economic relief for small businesses hit hardest by COVID-19. The program uses federal funds provided by the CARES Act to help offset COVID-19 related losses for Illinois small businesses.
 
During its first round of funding earlier this year, the program granted more than $49 million to small businesses across the state. Businesses in Will and Kankakee Counties were awarded a combined $420,000 during the first round.

“Even though this funding is available to businesses, it is equally as important to shop local,” Joyce said. “When you buy from small businesses, you’re also supporting jobs and neighbors in our community.”
 
Applications for the BIG program are open and can be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s website alongside a full list of criteria. Businesses in Region 7 that submit an application will be given priority to ensure they receive the support they need to cope with current mitigation efforts.

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