Program offers $220 million in grants to small businesses struggling amid the pandemic in Illinois

Coronavirus

CHICAGO — Some of Illinois’ one million small businesses are getting much-needed financial help from the state to keep them going during the coronavirus pandemic.

Governor JB Pritzker highlighted the $220 million Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program, a new pool of state funds for struggling businesses, as he visited the hard-hit DLV Printing Wednesday in the South Austin neighborhood.

“Those are designed to help people get through these tough times,” Pritzker said.

While DLV Printing has provided Chicago Public Schools athletes with team apparel for decades, the cancellation of sporting events due to the pandemic caused it to take a tremendous hit and lose about 70% of business.

While she was forced to lay off staff and cut costs, DLV owner Vernita Johnson said relief in the form of a $20,000 BIG Grant in addition to federal aid has made a big difference.

“So we probably would not be in business without the assistance because we had no other income,” Johnson said.

Information about additional funding for struggling businesses is now available on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity website.

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