Illinois Grants Are A 'Lifeline' For Small Businesses

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By WBBM Newsradio 780 AM & 105.9 FM

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — The state of Illinois has awarded the first 2,600 Business Interruption Grants (BIG) to businesses hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

The first $46 million in grants have gone to businesses scattered across 78 of Illinois’ 102 counties. 

Among them is Mena Tours and Travel in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The firm received a $20,000 grant.

"There’s so many expenses that we’re covering on a monthly basis so this is really a lifeline for us,” co-owner Steven Sanchez said Thursday.

Another recipient, Vanetta Roy, owns Surf’s Up in South Shore and Uptown.

"I understand the importance of employment within the communities that we serve. Therefore, this money will be used for hiring, training and to fully get back on track,” she said.

Roy adds: “As a black woman in business, this money will allow me to continue to progress.”

Brittany Dickens, owner of Fierce Manes Salon in south suburban Lansing, said the money she received will allow her to hire back some staff laid off after the pandemic forced everything to shut down.

The state say more than 5,000 businesses applied for the grants. The 2,655 that received them were chosen by lottery.

Grants are either $10,000 or $20,000. For more information, click here.