CHICAGO – To ask questions and offer feedback on behalf of small businesses in the district she represents and across Illinois, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) joined Thursday’s joint hearing of the Illinois Senate Appropriations and Commerce Committees on the Back to Business (B2B) small business recovery program.
“Small business owners have suffered unimaginable stress over the past year. State and federal grant programs offered them some relief, but funding didn’t reach everyone who needed it,” Murphy said. “We approached this hearing seeking answers and solutions for the businesses that felt left out in the cold.”
The B2B program, administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, is expected to distribute $250 million in economic relief to small businesses across the state to help offset losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Leveraging relationships with regional partners established through the recently expanded community navigator outreach program, DCEO will conduct outreach locally for the B2B grant program and prioritize hardest-hit industries and communities.
At the hearing, lawmakers questioned representatives from DCEO, conveyed feedback from their local small business owners and offered suggestions on how the B2B program could learn from the successes and shortfalls of previous relief programs like the Business Interruption Grant program to better serve the needs of the Illinois small business community.
“The Back to Business program has enormous positive potential for small business communities across the state, but it must be managed with business owners and communities’ interests in mind,” Murphy said. “The feedback we received during this hearing should help direct outreach, funds and other resources to the businesses and communities that need them most.”
Applications for the B2B program open Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. More information, eligibility requirements and applications are available on DCEO’s website at Illinois.gov/DCEO.