The City of Chicago is currently in Phase Four: "Gradually Resume." Many City services have adjusted hours or locations and may require health screens prior to entering their physical spaces. Please call ahead or visit any department's website to get additional details, or visit chicago.gov/covid-19.
Updated Sept. 21, 2020
DPD's Small Business Advocacy division is tracking all available resources from the public, private and nonprofit sectors that can help Chicago entrepreneurs re-open and grow following recent civil unrest and the ongoing public health crisis. Program questions can be directed to Deputy Commissioner Mary O'Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The small business grant program, now in its fourth year, offers up to $250,000 to entrepreneurs on the South, West and Southwest sides seeking to start, grow or rebuild their business.
The program awards grants to projects that have a catalytic impact on the neighborhood and lead to the construction or rehabilitation of new and existing, publicly accessible, commercial spaces or cultural establishments. It does not award grants for the construction or rehabilitation of residential uses, manufacturing uses, industrial uses, or places of worship that do not identify commercial as the primary use of a project.
The Neighborhood Opportunity Fund is accepting applications for the next round of funding through Friday, Nov. 6. More than $5 million is available. For more information or to apply, visit www.chicago.gov/nof.
On June 22, Mayor Lightfoot announced that Chicago would cautiously move into Phase IV starting on Friday, June 26. This will allow nearly all businesses to re-open with additional rules and restrictions. Additional restrictions on some businesses were set in July. For detailed information, visit www.chicago.gov/reopening.
Local business owners should text "CHIBIZ" to 67283 or visit chicago.gov/chibizalerts to opt in to targeted alerts for their neighborhood from the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection and the Office of Emergency Management and Communication.
Through this program, business owners will receive targeted emergency alerts specifically for the business community. In the event your business is damaged, consider the following steps:
The “Together Now” was designed by Mayor Lightfoot to help Chicago small businesses and non-profits that have experienced economic distress due to COVID-19 or recent property damage.
The $15 million fund is supported by an initial commitment of $10 million from the City of Chicago, a $1 million contribution from Jewel-Osco, and several million dollars in additional private donations.
The initial round of grants is expected help more than 2,500 small businesses. For more information, visit www.chicago.gov/togethernow.
The City of Chicago's Personal Protective Equiment (PPE) Market provides Chicago's small businesses, community-based organizations, and not-for-profits with transparent pricing and direct access to local PPE suppliers. For more information, visit the program's website.
This new permit has been created specifically for temporary outdoor dining.
Existing, fully-licensed restaurants and food establishments may apply to temporarily use streets and private property to extend dining space, where proper social distancing and adherence to public health guidelines are observed.
Applications will be accepted from Chambers of Commerce, SSAs, Business Associations, or a minimum of three establishments (on a contiguous city block) applying together for full-service restaurants, limited-service restaurants and non-alcoholic beverage bars to serve food, beverages and liquor for consumption. Applicants may request full street closure (maintaining a 12-foot fire lane) or use of private property, as long as:
To apply for the permit, see the permit portal.
The Small Business Resource Navigator program from BACP will provide individualized counseling for business owners who need help navigating the resources available for those impacted by the pandemic. More information on the locations and services of these navigators can be found on BACP's website.
The Chicago Department of Public Health has launched "Chi COVID Coach," a mobile-friendly, web-based application designed to support residents during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. You can find the app at chicago.gov/COVIDCOACH.
Cook County has launched a comprehensive initiative to provide economic relief to small businesses, non-profits, community service organizations and independent contractors in response to the pandemic. More information can be found on the county's website.
The State of Illinois is currently offering two programs for small businesses: the Business Interruption Grants Program (BIG) and the new Rebuild Distressed Communities (RDC) program. In its upcoming second round of funding, BIG program will provide $220 million to businesses who have experienced losses or business interruption due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The RDC program will provide $25 million in funding to cover the cost of civil-unrest related repairs while also supporting new investments in economically distressed communities across Illinois.
For the latest information on both programs, visit the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO)'s website.
All Illinois small businesses are currently eligible to apply for loans of up to $2 million from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) through the Economic Injury Loan Program. These loans can go toward working capital to meet needs including payroll, accounts payable and fixed debt payments until economic conditions improve. Interest rates are 3.75 percent for small businesses and 2.75 percent for non-profits. Applications are open now on the SBA's website.
The Illinois SBA District Office is also hosting free webinars to discuss eligibility, use of proceeds, terms, filing requirements and additional small business resources. Small business coaching may also be available, visit sba.gov/local-assistance to find a resource near you, or email any questions to Illinois.email@example.com.
The Paycheck Protection Program from the SBA can help businesses keep their workforce employed during the pandemic. Visit the SBA's website for more information.
The EIDL is available to provide up to $10,000 of economic relief to businesses experiencing difficulties due to the current pandemic. SBA will resume processing EIDL Loan and Advance applications that are already in the queue at a first-come, first-serve basis. Visit the SBA's website for more information.
The CDC is suggesting steps that small business owners can take to mitigate risk, protect employees and support customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The world's largest search engine is offering $340 million in Adwords credits to affected businesses. More information is available on the company's website.
The social media giant is offering $100 million in cash grants and advertising credits to small businesses during the pandemic. More information is available on the company's website.
The company's Small Business Relief Initiative is providing small matching grants for COVID-related business fundraisers on its website. More information is available on the company's website.
The South Side-based business development center is regularly updating a list of local, national, public, and private grants and loans related to the pandemic. For more information, visit their website.
The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation established the Red Backpack Fund to support female entrepreneurs. GlobalGiving will oversee the fund, making grants of $5,000 to female entrepreneurs to cover immediate costs and support long-term recovery.
Grant applications will open up each month. Upcoming application rounds will open May 4, June 1, July 6 and Aug. 3. For more information, visit the Red Backpack Fund website.
Seated offers free advice from finance, law, accounting, human resource and business experts for entrepreneurs who need help navigating the current crisis. For more information, visit Seated's website.