JB Pritzker, the governor of Illinois, announced new investments to help more small businesses. The purpose of these investments by the State of Illinois is to allow small businesses to access new programs related to the coronavirus emergency. According to the announcement, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will invest $3.4 million to assist small businesses.
The DCEO will invest $3.4 million to expand community navigator outreach programs and technical assistance services provided through the Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs). The State of Illinois aims to allow more businesses to take advantage of upcoming federal small business assistance programs including renewed Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP), EIDL Advance, Shuttered Venue Operators grant, and many more.
There are some unique barriers in the way of reaching small businesses. The community navigator model is useful in terms of addressing those barriers. Some businesses in Illinois have not received financial assistance so far. The minority-owned businesses, very small businesses, and businesses located in economically disadvantaged communities will mainly be focused on these new state investments.
The community navigator model was first used in BIG. It helped a record number of minority-owned businesses to receive grants under the BIG program. These businesses got more than $90 million in grants with the aid of the community navigator model. The main advantage of this model is its ability to create equity in terms of reaching small businesses.
The small businesses will get assistance from the DCEO, SBDCs, and other community navigators in the upcoming weeks through more than 100 webinars. These webinars will provide technical assistance and information resources to the small businesses related to the PPP, EIDL Advance Loan, and SVO Grant programs.