Governor JB Pritzker has announced new investments by the State of Illinois to help more small businesses access a new round of federal COVID-19 emergency programs. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will direct a $3.4 million investment to expand community navigator outreach programs and technical assistance services provided through the State’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs). These investments are designed to help more businesses take advantage of billions of dollars of financial assistance recently made available through the renewed Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), as well as the forthcoming EIDL Advance, Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) grant and other federal programs coming down the pike.

Utilizing the community navigator model will help guide an equity-based approach and address the unique barriers in reaching small businesses with the greatest needs, including very small businesses, minority-owned businesses, businesses in economically disadvantaged communities, as well as those which have yet to receive financial assistance.  First piloted under BIG, the community navigator model helped guide a record level of grants for minority owned businesses under BIG – with 40 percent of grants or nearly $90 million provided to these businesses.


In the coming weeks, DCEO, SBDCs and community navigators will host more than 100 webinars to assist small businesses. Webinars will cover technical assistance and questions related to the PPP application, as well as provide informational resources for businesses seeking assistance on EIDL, and upcoming EIDL Advance loan and SVO grant programs.

For a list of upcoming webinars, please visit…First Stop Business Information Center