Loan & Grant Programs for Small Businesses & Employees

*The below comprehensive list will be updated as information becomes available.

Today, the City of Chicago has begun accepting application for the $10 million Chicago Hospitality Grant Program. Announced by Mayor Lightfoot last week as part of an emergency hospitality relief package, this program will provide grants of $10,000 each to Chicago bars and restaurants that have been greatly impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The application will remain open until 11:59 pm central time on Monday, November 23rd and citywide recipients will be selected via lottery, with a portion reserved for businesses in low- and moderate-income Community Areas. To be eligible, bars or restaurants must be located in Chicago, have no more than $3 million in annual revenues and have experienced at least a 25% revenue loss due to COVID-19. For the full list of eligibility criteria, frequently asked questions and to apply, visit chicago.gov/hospitalityfund.

APPLY NOW

The Chicago Hospitality Grant Program is made possible due to the support of Accion Serving Illinois and Indiana and World Business Chicago. To help applicants navigate the program, the City will be hosting informational webinars later this week:
• Thursday, November 12, 2:30 pm (English)
• Friday, November 12, 10:00 am (English)
• Friday, November 13, 2:30 pm (Spanish)

Additional webinars will be scheduled for next week as needed. Learn more about these webinars and register at chicago.gov/businesseducation. Applicants can also submit their questions about the program in English and Spanish.

We encourage all bars and restaurants to apply for a grant through the Chicago Hospitality Grant Program. As a reminder, grants will be distributed via a lottery. As long as you get your application in before the deadline of 11:59 pm on Monday, November 23rd, the date and time that you apply for the grant does not factor into your eligibility. Please take your time to complete the application and do not hesitate to reach out with any questions.

Additionally, we strongly encourage all Chicago businesses to apply for grants through the State of Illinois Business Interruption Grant Program (BIG). Applications are available today at Illinois.gov/dceo.


Newest ComEd Program Provides Bill Assistance to Struggling Small Businesses During Pandemic

Small-Business Assistance Programs offers one-time grants and flexible payment options

ComEd announced a new bill-assistance program to help eligible small businesses facing financial difficulties.

Small-business customers can visit ComEd.com/SmallBizAssistance or call 1-877-4-COMED-1 (1-877-426-6331) to learn more or apply for the Small Business Assistance Program.

ComEd’s Small Business Assistance Program provides eligible small-business customers that are past due on their energy bills with a one-time grant equal to 30 percent of their total ComEd balance (up to $1,000) for a limited time. Customers whose electric service has not been disconnected can then set up their remaining balance due on a payment plan of up to six months.

Earlier this week, ComEd announced its new Helping Hand program to provide more immediate
aid to eligible residential customers most in need during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. For a
limited time, this financial-assistance program provides an additional one-time grant of up to
$300 to help reduce past-due balances of income-eligible customers.

Assistance through the Helping Hand program is administered directly through ComEd, which expedites the verification process so that customers can receive grants more quickly. Residential
customers can apply for Helping Hand grants at ComEd.com/PaymentAssistance.


Grubhub And Restaurant Strong Fund Announce New Program To Provide $2 Million In Restaurant Support This Winter

Grubhub, a leading food-ordering and delivery marketplace, and The Greg Hill Foundation’s Restaurant Strong Fund announced the Restaurant Winterization Grant program, a new initiative to provide $10,000 grants to eligible independent restaurants

Starting November 9 through November 21, the Restaurant Strong Fund will accept grant applications from all restaurants located in Chicago, New York City, Boston or Philadelphia with five or fewer locations. The application period will close on November 21 and grants will be fully distributed to restaurants before the end of November. Interested restaurants can learn more about the Restaurant Winterization Grant program and the full application process at https://www.restaurantstrong.org/winterize/.


Winterization Expenses Grants

The City of Chicago announced that Chicago area restaurants will soon be able to apply to receive a $5,000 grant to defray winterization expenses such as the cost of heating equipment, additional safety materials to improve indoor dining, upgrades for air filtration systems, bulk orders of blankets for patrons, and more through DoorDash’s Main Street Strong initiative. Applications open on October 16, and recipients will be notified by the end of December. Restaurants can find full details and the application on the Hello Alice website beginning October 16th here.


Business Interruption Grants Program (BIG)Additional Funding Available 

The Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program is a $636 million program developed by Governor Pritzker and the Illinois General Assembly to provide economic relief for small businesses hit hardest by COVID-19.BIG leverages federal funding provided by the CARES Act to help offset COVID-19 related losses for Illinois small businesses. funding may be used to help businesses with working capital expenses, including payroll costs; rent; utilities; and other operational costs as defined in the eligible cost list found below.

New to BIG – applications for a second round of funding are set to go live September 17. A total of $220 million will be made available for small businesses of all types in Illinois.

More details on the latest round of funding and how to apply can be found below.

Program Status:
Round 1In August, an initial round of funding was directed to restaurants, personal care services, gyms and fitness clubs, and businesses located in DIAs. The first round of BIG provided a $49 million boost for businesses at every corner of Illinois – with grant funds deployed to roughly 2,800 businesses spanning 400 towns and cities, and in 78 counties all throughout the state. Grants averaged $17,000, and the majority of funds were deployed to businesses in economically distressed communities. As a result of the equity-centric approach to the program, more than half of the first-round grants went to minority-owned businesses.

See a full list of grant recipients here. Applicants that have received BIG grants in the first round have agreed to certain Certifications and Requirements, which will continue to be linked here for transparency.

Round 2:  A $220 million second round of BIG aims to provide relief for all types of small businesses, but with a particular focus on businesses downstate, in disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs), and for heavily impacted industry and regions – representing businesses that have been unable to reopen or operating at a severely diminished capacity since the spring.

The second wave of funds includes the following provisions to ensure a wide distribution of funds geographically and across business type:

  • Heavily Impacted Industries – $60 million for heavily distressed industries, such as movie theatres, performing arts venues, concert venues, indoor recreation, amusement parks, and more.
  • Disproportionately Impacted Areas – $70 million set aside for DIAs, defined by zip codes identified by the General Assembly for communities that are most economically distressed and vulnerable to COVID-19.  A map of DIAs can be accessed HERE.
  • Downstate Communities – DCEO has committed to ensuring that at least half of all remaining funds, totaling more than $100 million, are reserved for businesses in downstate and rural communities of Illinois.
  • Priority Businesses– Apart from the $60 million for heavily impacted industries, applications from the following types of businesses will be prioritized for review for remaining funds:  businesses directly affected by regional mitigations implemented by the state or local governments, independently owned retail, tourism- and hospitality-related industries including accommodations, and more.
  • Agriculture – $5 million of the remainder of funds will be set aside for livestock production disruptions. Applications will be available in the coming weeks from the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
  • Grants and Loan Forgiveness for Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan recipients – As authorized by the General Assembly, DCEO will offer grants for businesses that have incurred eligible costs to offset loans received under the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan program.  This round of loan forgiveness and grants will go to businesses that have received loans or remain on the wait list and the program will sunset going forward as DCEO and its partners focus on making BIG awards.

Businesses outside the categories listed above are also eligible to apply and receive funding under the program but may be reviewed later than priority businesses. All businesses will receive a decision on their grant application within four to six weeks of application submission.

HOW TO APPLY:   We will begin accepting applications for the second round of BIG on the afternoon of Thursday, September 17. Please return here for a link to the application. To help you prepare for your application, see below a preliminary application and checklist.

ROUND 2 APPLICATION DETAILS:

ASSISTANCE: For assistance with your application, please submit a question via the following question submission form in either English or Spanish.

During the second round, DCEO is partnering with community navigator organizations aimed at helping minority-owned businesses receive assistance necessary to apply and access available funding. Contact information and a schedule of upcoming webinars will be posted soon. Check back here for updates.

DISPROPORTIONATELY IMPACTED AREAS
Need to find out if your business is located in a DIA? The below map allows you to search by address, or by searching for your zip code in the list of 176 distinct DIAs here.


October 8, 2020 – WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Treasury Department, today released a simpler loan forgiveness application for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans of $50,000 or less. This action streamlines the PPP forgiveness process to provide financial and administrative relief to America’s smallest businesses while also ensuring sound stewardship of taxpayer dollars.

SBA and Treasury have also eased the burden on PPP lenders, allowing lenders to process forgiveness applications more swiftly.

SBA began approving PPP forgiveness applications and remitting forgiveness payments to PPP lenders for PPP borrowers on October 2, 2020.  SBA will continue to process all PPP forgiveness applications in an expeditious manner.

View the simpler loan forgiveness application.

View the instructions for completing the simpler loan forgiveness application.

View the Interim Final Rule on the simpler forgiveness process for loans of $50,000 or less.


CARES ACT Payment Protection Program (PPP) Loan – FORGIVENESS APPLICATION DEADLINE EXTENDED

PPP LOAN FORGIVENESS GUIDELINES

Last week the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) extended the deadline to apply until August 8th. With over $100 Billion left in the program, if you have not secured a first round of funding, or want to work with your lender to adjust your timeline, here is a resource on the updated PPP terms for your consideration.

While COVID-19 cases continue to rise, many businesses are coming to the end of the funding, or were left out entirely. We must elevate the need for a longer-term comprehensive program.

The SBA and Treasury put out new interim guidelines on forgiveness based on the latest PPP Flexibility Act. Continue to check the SBA website for the latest updates, as well as with your individual lenders.

Sole proprietors and small business owners who did not reduce payroll by more than 25% are eligible to use the shorter EZ Form for forgiveness application.


EIDL LOANS AVAILABLE AGAIN

After shutting down the Disaster loan program due to funding running out, and then limiting recipients to agricultural businesses only, the SBA has reopened the EIDL Loans for all industries with a cap of $150,000.

The Emergency Grant program (which provides up to $10,000 based on a rate of $1,000 per employee) is also running again.

The deadline to apply for a COVID-related EIDL loan or grant is December 31, 2020. You can apply here.


NEW STATE-LED ASSISTANCE

EMERGENCY RENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) is launching a $150 million program with $5,000 grants to provide emergency rental assistance to Illinois tenants who are unable to pay their rent. The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERA) is expected to reach approximately 30,000 renters who are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. The program will launch in August 2020 and run through the end of the year. Governor Pritzker will extend the ongoing residential eviction ban through July 31 to provide a smooth transition into the assistance program.

To address housing instability due to COVID-19, renters who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic will be prioritized in the grants process. Eligible tenants must already carry an unpaid rent balance from March through present day and certify that the reason they were unable to pay rent was due to a COVID-19 related loss of income on or after March 1, 2020. The assistance will be paid directly to a property owner or landlord on behalf of the tenant and as a condition of accepting the assistance, landlords must agree not to evict the tenant for the duration of the ERA. Assistance will be available on a first-come, first-approved basis until the funds are exhausted.

EMERGENCY MORTGAGE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

IHDA is also launching a separate $150 million program for eligible Illinois homeowners with grants of up to $15,000 to provide support with mortgage payments. The Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (EMA) is expected to assist approximately 10,000 eligible homeowners who are unable to pay their mortgage. The program is also expected to launch in August 2020 and provide assistance through the end of the year.

Building upon efforts to mitigate housing instability, homeowners who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic will also be prioritized in the grants process. Homeowners’ income prior to the pandemic cannot exceed 120% of the area median income (AMI). Therefore, only homeowners with mortgage arrearages, or in forbearance, on or after March 2020 through present day may be eligible to apply. Eligible homeowners must be able to certify that the reason they could not pay their mortgage in full was due to a COVID-19-related loss of income on or after March 1, 2020. The assistance will be paid directly to the mortgagor’s loan servicer on behalf of the homeowner. Assistance will be available on a first-come, first-approved basis until the funds are exhausted.

NEW BUSINESS INTERRUPTION GRANTS PROGRAM

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will launch 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. DCEO will begin distributing funds to qualifying businesses in early July. The total program funding will amount to at least $540 million in grants for small businesses, $270 of which has been set aside for childcare providers, and is funded by the CARES Act.

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 and are located in DIAs. Businesses eligible for the program must have experienced extreme hardship, demonstrated by eligible costs or losses in excess of the grant amount, since March and may continue to face depressed revenues or closure. Businesses must also have been in operation for at least three months prior to March 2020. An emphasis will also be placed on those businesses that are located in areas that have experienced recent property damage due to civil unrest, exacerbating the economic impacts of COVID-19.

Specifically, the program includes support for:

  • Businesses in DIAs – $20 million for businesses that are located in a subset of DIAs that have recently experienced significant property damage, providing 1,000 grants of $20,000 each
  • Bars and Restaurants – $20 million for bars and restaurants unable to offer outside service, providing at least 1,000 grants of up to $20,000 each
  • Barbershops and Salons – $10 million for barbershops and salons, providing 1,000 grants of $10,000 each
  • Gyms and Fitness Centers – $10 million for gyms and fitness centers that have lost significant revenue due to COVID-19, providing 500 grants of $20,000 each

Click here for more information and to apply

DISTRESSED CAPITAL PROGRAM

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s new economic recovery program will provide $25 million to support Illinois businesses that have sustained property damage as a result of civil unrest during the recent protests and demonstrations on or after May 25, 2020.

The Distressed Capital Program will reimburse the costs to repair structural damages, including repairs to storefronts and entrances, improving electrical systems, and restoring exterior work.

The program will prioritize small businesses, women and minority-owned businesses, underinsured or uninsured businesses, businesses that have a high community impact – such as grocery stores – and businesses in communities that have experienced historic disinvestment.

The Rebuild Distressed Communities NOFO will solicit applications from regional and local organizations that will perform outreach, coordinate local qualified vendors, and provide funds to cover the cost of repairs and building improvements for businesses in their region. The Distressed Capital Program also includes provisions to ensure BEP-certified contractors, including minority- and women-owned businesses, are the first in line to do the repair work.

DCEO will invite applications to become an administrator for the Rebuild Distressed Communities NOFO made available on Tuesday, June 23rd. We expect businesses impacted by property damage to be able to apply for support through this program by August.

For additional questions on the program or how to apply, please contact the Office of Grants Management at CEO.RebuildDistressed@illinois.gov.

POVERTY ALLEVIATION STRATEGIES

The Department of Human Services (IDHS) will provide $32.5 million in an effort to immediately mitigate poverty in Illinois and respond to the needs of hard-hit communities by COVID-19 and by the civil unrest. The program will support more than 73,000 people across the state by building upon contracts and services to target communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic. The actions will begin in June and extend through the summer.

Specifically, the IDHS strategies will provide:

  • Unemployed Adults – Stipends of up to $4 million to help rebuild businesses
  • Summer Youth Providers – More than $6 million to empower and engage youth and help rebuild communities
  • Foods Banks – $2 million to expand the capacity to feed hungry families in the hardest hit areas
  • Illinois Black and Brown Farmers – $1 million to increase the availability of fresh food and produce
  • Mental Health Services – $2 million to help meet the increased demand for crisis services and better serve diverse communities
  • Community-Based Organizations – $5 million to provide small grants for healing circles, restorative justice circles, and other healing activities
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) – One-time $500 payment to help ensure food security, totaling $11.5 million

Additionally, the Department on Aging will expand the Emergency Senior Services Funds by providing up to $5 million to support senior residents in need of meals, groceries, medicine, and medical care. The funding will assist seniors who may not have been able to access necessary supplies due to damages to physical locations in their communities. The department will utilize the statewide case coordinator units (CCUs) throughout the Aging network to take referrals from all Aging providers for services.

Click here to read the full press release.


SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans

Start Date: March 19th

End Date: December 21st

Application URL: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Account/Register1

  • The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere
  • Businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible
  • The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%
  • Credit History – Applicants must have a credit history acceptable to SBA.
  • Repayment – Applicants must show the ability to repay the loan.
  • Collateral – Collateral is required for all EIDL loans over $25,000. SBA takes real estate as collateral when it is available. SBA will not decline a loan for lack of collateral, but SBA will require the borrower to pledge collateral that is available.
  • Loan terms up to a maximum of 30 years
  • To protect each borrower and the Agency, SBA may require you to obtain and maintain appropriate insurance.
  • Here are the documents you’ll need to provide to complete the application: 

    • SBA Form 5 or SBA Form 5C for sole proprietorships – SBA loan application 
    • IRS Form 4506T – Tax Information Authorization for the applicant, principals and affiliates
    • Complete copies of the most recent Federal Income Tax Return. 
    • SBA Form 2202 – Schedule of Liabilities
    • SBA Form 413 – Personal Financial Statement
    • SBA Form 1368 – Monthly sales figures 

Arts for Illinois Relief Fund

The new Arts for Illinois Relief Fund will provide financial assistance to artists, artisans, and cultural organizations impacted by COVID-19. The fund is a partnership between the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois and the broader philanthropic community. To date, more than $4M has been committed from public and private sources to seed an upcoming statewide campaign that will provide additional funding to meet the growing and critical needs of the state’s creative sector. Individuals looking to apply or corporations and charitable foundations looking to donate can learn more here.


Accion Small Business Loans

Application URL: https://us.accion.org/small-business-loans/see-if-i-qualify/

  • Existing business owners with at least six months of verifiable sales
  • Titled collateral or SBA guarantee required for loans above $25,000 for existing businesses
  • Any monthly net income from the business plus income outside the business for existing businesses
  • No minimum credit score
  • Must be current on all active accounts on credit report

Women’s Business Development Center Direct Lending Program

(312) 853-3477

8 S. Michigan Avenue, 4th Floor

Chicago, IL 60603

  • Loans are available to small businesses located in Northwest Illinois
  • Targeted towards businesses with less than $1 Million in annual revenue
  • Businesses, including start-ups, may be eligible regardless of time in business, or size of business
  • Loans available for: equipment purchases, inventory, leasehold improvements, machinery, supplies, or working capital
  • Interest rates from 7% – 12%
  • Repayment terms from 1- 5 years

IDES Unemployment Insurance

Application URL: https://bit.ly/2UD2KFM

  • Accurately report your reason for separation from your job when you initially file your claim for benefits
  • You must report your gross wages for e​ach week you work. Report all earnings, including part-time or temporary work
  • In order to collect benefits, you must continually certify that you are able, available and willing to accept suitable work
  • You must search for work each week or benefits may be denied
  • An organized and documented job search improves your chances of employment. All claimants are required by law to document work search activities
  • The use of paid third-parties to file your claim and/or communicate with IDES is very risky and discouraged. Do not share your personal information with anyone
  • Follow the rules to prevent yourself from committing fraud. Failure to follow legal requirements has serious consequences

Kiva 0% Interest Loans

Application URL: https://www.kiva.org/borrow

Unlike traditional bank loans, Kiva loans don’t require a minimum credit score, years of cash flow documents or collateral. But you do need to meet the following minimum criteria in order to be considered:

  • You and your business must be based in the United States.
  • You must be over 18 years old.
  • You must be using the loan for business purposes.
  • Your business must not be engaged in any of the following activities: multi-level marketing / direct sales; illegal activities (e.g. gambling, scams); or pure financial investing (e.g. stocks)
  • You cannot currently be in foreclosure, bankruptcy, or under any liens.
  • You must be willing to demonstrate your social capital by having a small number of your friends and family make a loan to you.

Honeycomb Crowdfunded Small Business Relief Loans

Application URL: https://www.honeycombcredit.com/relief

Option 1

  • Borrow $10,000-$50,000 in working capital
  • 45 day payment-free period
  • 3.75% interest rate over an initial 6-month interest-only payment period
  • 5% interest rate over a 3-year fully amortizing loan after the interest-only period
  • No pre-payment penalties
Financial Qualifications
  • 3+ years of operating history

  • Profitable in 2019

  • Good credit score for 20% owners

  • Debt service coverage ratio of 1.2 or higher

  • Owners have positive net worth

  • No delinquencies (personal or business)

  • Lease agreement in good standing

  • Registered and legally organized business

  • Personal guaranty

  • Blanket lien on the business (lien position negotiable)

  • Demonstrated community support

Option 2

  • Borrow $10,000-$25,000 in working capital

  • 45 day payment-free period

  • 3.75% interest rate over an initial 6-month interest-only payment period

  • 7.5% interest rate over a 3-year fully amortizing loan after the interest only period

  • No pre-payment penalties

Financial Qualifications
  • 1+ years of operating history

  • Breakeven or profitable in 2019

  • Above average credit score for 20% owners

  • Debt service coverage ratio of 1.0 or higher

  • Owners have non-negative net worth

  • No delinquencies (personal or business), unless explicitly related to the economic slowdown

  • Lease agreement in good standing

  • Registered and legally organized business

  • Personal guaranty

  • Blanket lien on the business (lien position negotiable)

  • Demonstrated community support