COOK COUNTY, Ill. — $71 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act is being devoted to helping small business owners in Cook County through the newly formed Source Grow Grant program.

The program was announced Thursday at a morning press conference featuring Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, other county leaders, community partners and local small business owners.

According to a press release sent out by Preckwinkle’s office:

The Source Grow Grant program will provide $10,000 in grants paired with one-on-one business advising to historically excluded businesses—including those owned by entrepreneurs of color, women, veterans, LGBTQ and persons with a disability—to close racial wealth and opportunity gaps. The grants will prioritize businesses in sectors heavily impacted by COVID-19, including Accommodations, Hospitality & Food Service, Arts & Entertainment, Childcare & Social Assistance, Retail Trade and Transportation & Warehousing.

Those interested in applying can do so beginning October 3 through the program’s website. The initial application window will close on October 31, and application review will begin November 1. Applicants will be notified of their status in early 2023 with selected applicants receiving payments six to eight weeks later.

The program is currently funded to run through 2026 and aims to distribute more than $25 million in grants in its first round of awards.

According to the program’s website, this is the criteria to apply:

  • Be a for-profit business located in Cook County, Illinois
  • Have less than 20 employees
  • Have operated and conducted business since March 2020 (prior to the COVID-19 pandemic)
  • Have experienced a decrease in revenue or gross receipts, increased costs, or greater financial insecurity due to COVID
  • All are welcome to apply regardless of resident or immigration status

Businesses that have previously applied or received other types of federal, state, county or city grants are eligible to apply.