FOR MORE INFORMATION
Director of Community Health and Programs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 1, 2021
Springfield-Area Small Businesses Encouraged to
“Stop by and We’ll Help You Apply”
Walk-In Hours for State B2B Grant Application Assistance Provided Through September 17 at Lincoln Library
SPRINGFIELD - A local network has ramped up with State support to provide one-on-one assistance to small businesses in Springfield to help business owners apply for, and receive, one of the State’s new Back to Business (B2B) grants.
Since the B2B application opened on August 18, more than 50 Springfield-area businesses have received assistance from one of the organizations working through the State of Illinois’ Small Business Navigator Program that is managed locally by the Illinois Public Health Association (IPHA). IPHA received an Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) grant of nearly $1.5 million to create a network providing outreach and technical assistance services. DCEO has also partnered with 12 other statewide “Navigator Hubs.”
“IPHA is honored to be a recipient of DCEO's Community Navigator Grant as a part of the State's Back to Business initiative. The network we’ve built is dedicated to improving their communities and helping businesses receive money that could help cover financial losses due to COVID-19,” said Tom Hughes, IPHA Executive Director. “Through the Small Business Navigator Program, IPHA and our partners will ensure that many more small businesses in our area will receive State funding to remain open.”
Participating local organizations in the statewide Navigator program include the City of Springfield, Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, Springfield Black Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Springfield Inc., Innovate Springfield, Small Deeds Matter, Springfield Urban League, and Family Communications Center.
The B2B grants are intended for small businesses that experienced losses due to COVID-19 in 2020; grant amounts will be between $5,000 and $150,000. Small businesses can access details and access the application portal at www.springfield.il.us/b2b. The grant program is funded by $250 million of American Rescue Plan funds set aside by Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to support the continued recovery of small businesses across Illinois.
“Through the Back to Business grant program, the Pritzker administration is committed to mobilizing federal recovery dollars quickly to help small businesses cover COVID-19 losses, bring back staff, and rebuild from the pandemic,” said DCEO Acting Director Sylvia Garcia. “We know the urgent needs facing small businesses throughout the state - which is why we've partnered with over 100 trusted community partners, including the Illinois Public Health Association, to provide on-the-ground support to help eligible businesses apply for and access relief. This regional collaboration is crucial as we aim to help people and businesses from every corner of the state take advantage of these critical recovery dollars.”
Representatives from all the local organizations will be staffing walk-in hours at the Lincoln Library starting today through September 17. Although the B2B application is slated to officially close on October 11, organizers encourage Springfield-area businesses to submit their applications now as funds may run out.
“We are proud of the strong network that has come together locally to assist our small businesses through this grant process. By working together, we can more easily remove barriers that local business owners may face when applying for critical funding, including answering questions, helping gather documentation, and guiding businesses through the online application,” said Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder.
Small business owners may visit the library’s Nancy Huntley Computer Lab on the second floor to receive one-on-one assistance in uploading their documents and applying for the grant during these times (no reservation required):
Fri, Sept 3 10-12
Tues, Sept 7 10-12 and 5-7
Wed, Sept 8 10-12 and 5-7
Fri, Sept 10 10-12
Mon, Sept 13 10-12 and 5-7
Wed, Sept 15 10-12 and 5-7
Fri, Sept 17 10-12
In addition to the office hours at the library, local businesses may contact any one of the organizations directly or call an assistance hotline at 217-843-1598 to be matched with one-on-one assistance. Small businesses may also email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about the B2B grant.
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