DCEO grants awarded to provide working capital for 32 minority-own businesses and incubators

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information provided by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (June 11, 2020) — Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) announced earlier this week that 32 minority-owned businesses and business incubators will receive a total of $11 million as part of the state’s Minority-Owned Business Capital and Infrastructure Program. These grants will equip minority-owned firms with resources to create jobs, build capacity, increase revenues, and revitalize properties in underserved communities.

Funding will reach businesses of all sizes and types, as well as community-based incubators working to help small and start-up businesses in diverse communities across the state. The development of new grant-funded projects is estimated to create hundreds of full-time and construction jobs for the surrounding community.

“At a time when businesses are facing significant setbacks due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Minority Capital Fund will help eliminate obstacles so minority-owned businesses can rebuild and continue supporting their communities,” said Governor Pritzker. “These small, family-owned businesses are the backbone of Illinois, and capital grants will unlock funding to help them expand, create new jobs, and drive positive economic change for their communities.”

In total, 20 businesses were granted $8.1 million, and a dozen business incubators were granted over $2.9 million. This includes funding distributed to a diverse group of recipients—including community-based and youth organizations, small and family-owned businesses such as restaurants, retail, manufacturing, a museum, roofing, and more. A full list of OMEE grant recipients is available on DCEO’s website.

Grant recipients represent underserved communities across Illinois, as defined by the CDBG program. Grant funding is being extended to Chicago, Peoria, East St Louis, Decatur, and more. The majority of the projects planned are for property acquisition and renovation—and every project is expected to create jobs.

Grants were reviewed and evaluated on a competitive basis, with proposals evaluated against the following criteria: demonstrated need for capital, capacity to complete the project, and potential to create social impact for the surrounding community. Minority business status was a prerequisite for eligibility of this program, as well as the project’s ability to create economic development in low-to-moderate income areas.

Individual applicants were eligible to receive up to $500,000 per project, and the amount of the award is based on anticipated costs associated with meeting project requirements and bond guidelines.

Grant funding is restricted to specific working capital use—including property acquisition, renovation, purchase of essential equipment, rehabilitation of publicly owned property, and communal infrastructure works, such as sidewalks, streets, or other site improvements.