(WSIL) — The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity is wrapping up the end of its Business Interruption Grant program.
In its second round, $275 million in funds went out to 9,000 small businesses statewide.
Many businesses have been struggling for the past year due to the pandemic. The department told News 3 $5 million in grants
went out to our region.
The State of Illinois has worked with local leaders, business owners
and chambers to help 15 counties in our region affected the hardest by COVID-19.
The director of the Illinois Department of Commerce says businesses earned an average of $25,000, with some receiving $5-$150,000.
She told me she understands this money won’t last forever, but the department hopes this can help businesses stay afloat.
“This virus doesn’t have a sense of borders, a sense of towns, a sense of cities. Its really impacting everyone, their families, their livelihoods, and we wanted to make sure that we thought about all Illinoisans and how it’s impacting their lives on a day to day,” said Erin Guthrie.
The DCEO says on its website 40% of the grants have gone to minority-owned businesses and women own 37% of those receiving assistance statewide.
One of those is Miz BJ’s Hair Haven in Marion. Owner Barbara Timmons says she received $5,000 from the program.
She says the past year has been tough with many slow business days, but she said she’s not giving up the hard work put into her store.
“I had a dream about this business for many many years. I put a lot of time into it and I put a lot of money into it and I’m going to fight this out. I am going to stick this out,” she said.
The Department of Commerce says if you have any questions visit here.