BIG Grants rd 2

CHICAGO – More than 50 small businesses facing economic uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the district State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) represents received financial relief through the Business Interruption Grant Program, and he is urging more to apply. 

“I was proud to support legislation to make these extremely valuable grants available for our small businesses as we head into the winter and the pandemic continues,” Villivalam said. “Our local economy is powered by both family and minority-owned businesses. While outdoor dining was employed over the summer to help generate business, that is much more of a challenge during the winter months.”

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity awarded the funds this week as part of the second round of BIG program funding. Applications will also remain open until all of the funding is spent. 

The second round of grants awarded between $5,000 to $150,000 to 52 businesses in the 8th District, which received nearly a combined $1.5 million. These funds can be used to help cover expenses like payroll costs, rent, and utilities, as well as pandemic-related expenses, such as personal protective equipment, increased training and new technology.

“While these grants provide much needed financial relief, there is simply no question that we need an all of the above strategy that includes a federal stimulus package,” Villivalam said. “Additionally, I will certainly and I know other folks will support their local and small businesses throughout the winter. Getting takeout or simply purchasing a gift card can really help out a small business owner.” 

The BIG program is the biggest state-funded financial support program created in response to the pandemic to date. Applications are available on the DCEO’s website.