Funds to boost outreach, training, and professional guidance for small businesses throughout Illinois
information provided by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (May 28, 2020) – The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) announced a new $7.3 million investment from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) program—a statewide network focused solely on supporting Illinois businesses and entrepreneurs in starting, growing, and maintaining their businesses at no cost. In the wake of COVID-19, SBDCs have played a vital role in connecting businesses with support resources and assistance programs designed to help keep businesses afloat.
New funding will bolster the SBDC network of 40 community-based teams to provide additional resources for education, training, and professional business advising to small businesses that have experienced supply chain disruptions, staffing challenges, a decrease in gross receipts or customers, or a closure as a result of COVID-19.
The funding will also support SBDC host organizations to increase assistance and expand outreach for small businesses across the state, with a concerted effort to reach businesses owned by minorities, women, persons with disabilities, veterans, and those located in rural areas.
Throughout the crisis, SBDCs have been working on the front lines with small businesses to help them access economic assistance to help make payroll, address urgent operational needs, and, literally, keep the lights on. Targeted emergency assistance programs created by the Pritzker administration as well as federal government are one critical component of keeping Illinois businesses open and residents employed.
Illinois SBDCs have seen a demonstrable increase in interactions with businesses due to the crisis, and staff members continue to work full-time helping businesses in spite of the crisis. Since the beginning of March, SBDCs have seen a 54% increase in businesses served through one-on-one sessions and trainings, relative to the same time frame last year. These efforts have helped approximately 182 unique businesses get access to an estimated $19 million in grants and loans from state and federal programs in recent weeks. These businesses employ a combined 34,000 workers throughout the state.
For more information on where to find a statewide SBDC location, visit: https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/SmallBizAssistance/BeginHere/pages/sbdc.aspx.