Business Assistance Amid Pandemic

Latest Business Assistance: 

 e-Commerce Grants Still Available for Small Businesses

On May 18th, City Council officials approved a grant program to incentivize Highland businesses to implement e-Commerce solutions to facilitate purchases on their website. The Industrial Development Commission and Highland Communication Services partnered to launch the program, allowing businesses a grant of $500 to be used toward the cost of e-Commerce implementation.

 Any brick-and-mortar Highland business that does not offer an e-Commerce option is eligible to apply. Once an application is submitted, applicants will be notified of approval after verification of the absence of an e-Commerce solution on the applicant’s website. The applicant will have three months to deploy the solution and, once the solution is verified, will receive the $500 grant. The Highland Chamber of Commerce has offered to provide guidance to businesses looking to implement e-Commerce.

Round Two of Business Interruption Grants

Applicatons for the second round of the Business Interruption Grant (BIG) Program are open.  These grants will be available to all small businesses statewide that experienced losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Starting today, the application is available on the DCEO website.  On the afternoon of September 17th, applications will be accepted.  Grants will be awarded and funded on a rolling basis until funding is depleted. 
The BIG program is open to all eligible businesses (for profit and nonprofit) with $20 million or less in annual revenue in 2019 and experienced losses due to COVID-19.  The grant size will be equivalent to two months of expenses. 

  • Funding for this round is approximately $200 million
  • $70 million will be invested in Disproportionately Impacted Areas (DIAs)
  • $60 million in heavily impacted industries
  • The heavily impacted industries are defined a having annual revenues of $10 million or less and have been close or operating at a very diminished capacity since mid-March and are likely to continue to do so until Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois Plan.   

.   These industries include the following:

  • Event spaces
  • Music venues
  • Performing arts venues
  • Indoor recreation
  • Amusement parks
  • Movie theaters
  • Museums
  • Charter/shuttle buses 

The  DCEO will be hosting a series of webinars regarding this program.  You can register for any of the webinars by using the links below:


Restore Illinois Plan Resources:
Restore Illinois Plan

Phase 4 Guidelines
Phase 4 Business Toolkit & Industry-Specific Guidelines

Helpful Links:
Covid-19 Dashboard
Illinois Department of Public Health Hospital Utilization
Chamber of Commerce Covid Resources

For any questions please contact Mallord Hubbard, Economic & Business Recruitment Coordinator at or 618-654-9891. You may also contact Breann Speraneo, Director of Community Development, at or 618-654-7115. 

Emergency Small Business Grants and Loan Assistance
The State of Illinois has launched emergency assistance programs for small businesses. For more information and how to apply, click here

Small Business Development Loans are Available

All Illinois small businesses (according to SBA’s size standards) and private non-profits can now apply for loans of up to $2 million through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. If your businesses have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, this program offers working capital to meet needs including payroll, accounts payable, and fixed debt payments until the situation improves. Interest rates are 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profits. Your businesses may apply now at

Find more information for small businesses affected by coronavirus at Subscribe to email updates from SBA at to stay up to date on SBA news and events. SBA resource partners (Illinois Small Business Development Centers, WBDC, SCORE, Veterans Business Outreach Center) stand ready to help. Go to to find a counselor or mentor.  

Please visit or call (312) 353-4528 (Chicago office) or (217) 747-8249 (Springfield office) to talk to a Small Business Administration team member directly.