CHICAGO — The city awarded $10 million worth of grants to local business owners on the South and West sides.
It’s an investment city officials hope will pay off in the long run. The businesses that have been hit hard by the virus will be hiring locally and now will have the cash-in-hand to invest in themselves and their neighborhoods.
Outside of the Dusable Museum Monday, dreams came through. Nearly 30 entrepreneurs received checks ranging from $49,000 to $1.7 million. The grants will support more than $20 million in retail improvements along commercial corridors on the South, West and Southwest sides.
“I would’ve never opened my spot in the Roseland neighborhood if it wasn’t for the city,” Sip and Savor owner Trez Pugh said.
The opportunity fund takes fees from construction projects around downtown and reinvests those dollars in local neighborhoods.
This year’s recipients are dance studios, shared kitchens and juice bars. The city said they aren’t just big checks — but an intentional investment in diversity and inclusion. Around 75% of 2021’s grant winners are minorities.
“So when our Black and Brown residents don’t have equal access to opportunities to grow their businesses, folks we all lose,” Mayor Lightfoot said.
The finalists were selected from a spring application period, the first of two submission rounds planned for 2021.
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