Small Business Resources

The latest, up-to-date info is available at Coronavirus.Illinois.Gov and at

As of March 21, Governor Pritzker has ordered that all individuals in Illinois stay at home, with limited exceptions. All non-essential businesses and operations must cease.

A full list of essential businesses can be found here.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Webinars with Illinois District Director, Robert Steiner

On March 24th, Rep. Casten hosted the first webinar which featured guidance on how local businesses and non-profit organizations can apply for Economic Impact Disaster Loans offered by SBA. Full video can be found here or below. 

On April 8th, Rep. Casten hosted a webinar focused on nonprofits affected by COVID-19. Video can be found here or below. The slide deck can be found here. 

PDF iconSmall Business COVID-19 Assistance_PPP Training - Non-profit.pdf

Federal Government Resources

On March 27, the House passed the CARES Act, a bipartisan supplemental package to help those affected by COVID-19. The $2 trillion package contains more than $375 billion in relief for struggling small businesses with funding for disaster grants, debt relief for current and new SBA borrowers, and the Paycheck Protection Program. 

For more information about the CARES Act, please use The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act

To keep up to date on when these programs become available, please stay in contact with our Small Business Administration (SBA) District Office, which you can locate here.

Struggling to get started? The following questions might help point you in the right direction. Do you need:

  • Capital to cover the cost of retaining employees? Then the Paycheck Protection Program might be right for you.
  • A quick infusion of a smaller amount of cash to cover you right now? You might want to look into an Emergency Economic Injury Loan.
  • To ease your fears about keeping up with payments on your current or potential SBA loan? The Small Business Debt Relief Program could help.
  • Just some quality, free counseling to help you navigate this uncertain economic time? The resource partners might be your best bet. 

Paycheck Protection Program 

On March 31, 2020, the U.S. Treasury Department issued details about PPP. For more information visit  For a guide on PPP please click here.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will provide nearly $350 billion in forgivable loans to assist small businesses with payroll support, insurance premiums, mortgage, rent, and utility payments. The program also waives both borrower and lender fees, the credit elsewhere test, and collateral and personal guarantee requirements for participants. The new loan program will be available retroactive from Feb. 15, 2020, so employers can rehire their recently laid-off employees through June 30, 2020.

Who is eligible?  

Small businesses with up to 500 employees, 501 (c)(3) nonprofits, 501(c)(19) veteran’s organizations, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals are eligible to apply. The program also temporarily waives SBA “affiliation rules” to allow businesses with multiple locations to qualify.

Borrowers will need to demonstrate that their businesses were operational on February 15, 2020, and make a good faith certification that the loan is necessary due to the uncertainty of the current economic conditions caused by COVID-19. 

Are these grants?

The loans are convertible to grants if certain requirements are met. The amount of the loan forgiven at the end of the year will be determined by the number of employees retained on the company’s payroll. 

The SBA’s network of 2,500 7(a) lenders will be used to process these loans. The bill provides the authority to fast track additional lenders to process and disburse these loans to reach as many small businesses as quickly as possible.

What are the Terms & Conditions?

  • Eligible businesses: All businesses, including non-profits, Veterans organizations, Tribal concerns, sole proprietorships, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors, with 500 or fewer employees, or no greater than the number of employees set by the SBA as the size standard for certain industries
  • Maximum loan amount up to $10 million
  • Loan forgiveness if proceeds used for payroll costs and other designated business operating expenses in the 8 weeks following the date of loan origination (due to likely high subscription, it is anticipated that not more than 25% of the forgiven amount may be for non-payroll costs)
  • All loans under this program will have the following identical features:
    • Interest rate of 0.5%
    • Maturity of 2 years
    • First payment deferred for six months
    • 100% guarantee by SBA
    • No collateral
    • No personal guarantees
    • No borrower or lender fees payable to SBA

How to Apply?

Borrowers may apply for PPP loans and other SBA financial assistance, including Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs), 7(a) loans, 504 loans, and microloans, and also receive investment capital from Small Business Investment Corporations (SBICs).

EIDL Program

Illinois businesses are now eligible for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). You may apply for an EIDL loan and find out more information here.

You can also email the SBA at or call them at 1-800-659-2955.

You can contact the Illinois district office at (312)-353-4528 (Chicago) or (217)-793-5020 ext. 114 (Springfield).

EIDL loans can up to $2 million at interest rates of 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profits.l

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What are EIDL Loans?

A: They are loans that the SBA issues to small businesses and non-profits that have been impacted by the coronavirus. Each small business can apply for up to $2 million in loans that can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, or other bills that cannot be paid due to the pandemic.

Q: Who is eligible?

A: The SBA defines ‘small business’ according to the North American Industrial Classification (NAIC) system. More information can be found at As the Governor’s order applies throughout the state, any business in Illinois that meets the SBA’s eligibility requirements can apply.

Q: How long do I have to pay back the loans?

A: The SBA offers loans with a variety of terms; up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms of loans are determined on a case-by-case basis.

Q: How long will the process take?

A: Typically, the timeline for loan approval is 2-3 weeks after the application is submitted. The time for approval could be longer now due to a higher volume of coronavirus-related applications. After approval, the disbursement of funds can take up to 5 days.

Q: Where can I find more information?

A: The site for EIDL loans is here: You can also contact the SBA at The SBA has an office in Chicago that you can reach at (312)-353-4528 and one in Springfield you reach at (217)-793-5020 ext. 114

Q: Are there non-EIDL loans available?

A: The SBA has a Lender Match tool available at that can connect you with other potential opportunities for loans.

Non-Government National Resources

The US Chamber of Commerce has a coronavirus-focused small business guide available at They also have more general resources available at You can contact them at 1-800-638-6582

The Main Street America Institute also has some resources available for small businesses at You can contact them at (312)-610-5613

The State of Illinois and Local Resources

The State of Illinois’ Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) has curated information and resources for small businesses at

The DCEO has also launched three emergency assistance programs including grants and loans for Illinois businesses. Information can be found at

For more information, you can contact the Illinois First Stop Small Business Information Center at or you can find your local Small Business Development Center at


Compliance with State of Illinois Executive Orders and Regulations

Q: Is my business designated essential and can I remain open per the Governor’s Executive Order?

A: There is a comprehensive list of businesses deemed essential at If you are still unsure, contact the state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity at 1-(800)-252-2923 or at All essential businesses must continue to practice social distancing guidelines.

Q: Can exemptions to the Governor’s order prohibiting on-premise consumption of food and prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people be made?

A: No – the Governor’s Executive Orders are state-wide and apply to all counties in the State of Illinois. Executive Order 2020-10 (the stay at home order) currently extends through April 7, 2020

Q: Can ‘mom and pop’ independent businesses that traditionally have smaller crowds remain open?

A: Small businesses can provide delivery and take-away options, either themselves or via third party services such as Uber Eats or Grubhub.

Q: If I have a liquor license that expires soon, will I receive an extension?

A: All liquor licenses expiring at the end of March, April, and May have been extended to expire on July 31. As long as the license is renewed on or before the end of July, no late fees will be assessed.

Q: Can I defer sales tax payments?

A: The Illinois Department of Revenue announced on March 19th that eating and drinking establishments that incurred a total sales tax liability of less than $75,000 in 2019 could defer state sales tax payments until May 20. More information is available at

Q: My business has a stockpile of masks and personal protective equipment. Is there a way to donate them?

A: Please contact the local health department for a way to donate healthcare equipment.

Bank Resources

Many banks have setup support lines and resources to work with individuals and businesses impacted by the coronavirus. The below list is not comprehensive – if a bank is not listed, reach out to them to see if they are offering support to those impacted. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), National Credit Union Association (NCUA), and Illinois Bankers Association (IBA) have posted resources for banks, businesses, and consumers:




Other commercial banks have posted resources:

·        Bank of America:

·        BMO Harris:

·        Capital One:

·        Chase:

·        Citibank:

·        Discover:

·        DuPage Credit Union:

·        Fifth Third Bank:

·        First Midwest Bank:

·        Marcus at Goldman Sachs:

·        Oxford Bank:

·        PNC:

·        TCF:

·        Truist:

·        US Bank:

·        Wells Fargo:

·        Wintrust Bank:

The State of Illinois has received its statewide Economic Injury Declaration which means small businesses in all 102 Illinois counties may be eligible for low-interest, economic injury disaster loans up to $2M per business.

Businesses can access additional information and apply for the loan online here. Eligibility requirements are determined by SBA and can be found here.

DCEO is working with federal and local partners, like yourselves, to ensure assistance is available for small businesses seeking loans, counseling and preparedness planning. If you are not yet working with our Regional Economic Development Team, please feel free to reach out to them for any questions you may have. Their contact information can be found below. If you have questions about your region, please refer to the map provided following the contact list. 




In addition, business advisors at our Illinois Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are available to assist small businesses with the loan application process and are currently operating remotely. Businesses can locate their nearest Small Business Development Center here. Should they have any issues finding their direct contact information, below is a list for their reference. 



For businesses owned by minorities, women, veterans, or persons with disabilities, the Office of Minority Economic Empowerment (OMEE) Business Development Managers are also available to assist and provide them with information. Their contact information can be found below.



Please note: This site is being continuously updated with COVID-19 information for small businesses which you can refer to at any time. 

Should any businesses reach out to you regarding questions about DCEO programs, resources or incentives you can feel free to refer them to our First Stop Business Information Center. They can email or call our toll-free helpline at 1.800.252.2923.

If any businesses in your community are interested in sharing information about the impact of COVID-19, we encourage them to do so here. Filling out this form also adds them to our distribution list so they can be the first to know of any new resources available to them. It also allows us to better understand the needs of companies throughout the state at this time.


Read more here