open signage rain drops businessCHICAGO – Nearly a dozen local businesses in the district State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) represents was awarded financial relief through the state’s Business Interruption Grant program. Now, she’s urging even more businesses to apply.

“I am pleased many businesses in the district took advantage of the assistance, and hope more will continue to do so,” Villanueva said. “These grants will go a long way to help struggling businesses keep their doors open.”

Eleven businesses in the district Villanueva represents received a combined $360,000. Each business received between $5,000 and $150,000 to be used to help cover the costs of payroll, rent, utilities and other working capital during the time they have experienced interruptions due to the pandemic.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity awarded the grants this week, as part of the second round of the BIG program. However, applications will remain open until all of the funding is spent. Villanueva encourages any small business in need to apply. Priority funding will be given to businesses located in areas with increased mitigation efforts.

“This pandemic had been especially tough on Latinx and Black communities – who already have fewer resources during a non-pandemic time,” Villanueva said. “Any business who still needs assistance is encouraged to apply as soon as possible.”

The BIG program is the largest state-run economic support program formed in response to the financial losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications are available on DCEO’s website.