• Freebies & Specials

  • Free Tools, Resources, and Financial Help for Business Owners Hit by Covid-19 Free Tools, Resources, and Financial Help for Business Owners Hit by Covid-19

    Ad credits and grants

    • Google is donating more than $800 million to support small businesses, health organizations, governments, and health workers impacted by Covid-19. The amount includes $340 million in Google Ads credits for small and midsize businesses with active accounts in the past year.

    • Telecom giant Verizon is donating $2.5 million to nonprofit Local Initiatives Support Corporation for its Small Business Covid-19 Recovery Fund, which will use the funds to provide grants of up to $10,000 to struggling businesses.

    • Facebook also created a Small Business Grants Program that will provide $100 million in cash and ad credits to 30,000 businesses in the 30 countries where Facebook operates.

    • To help local restaurants and bars, Yelp announced $25 million in relief in the form of waived advertising fees, free advertising, and products and services.

    • GoFundMe, the social-fundraising platform, has launched the Small Business Relief Initiative, partnering with Yelp to provide small-business owners with grants and resources. GoFundMe and Yelp have each donated $500,000 to the Small Business Relief Fund, and it is open for anyone to make a donation. There will also be $500 matching grants to qualifying businesses that raise at least $500 on GoFundMe.

    • The James Beard Foundation, the national nonprofit culinary arts organization, has launched the Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund. The organization will draw support from corporate, foundation, and individual donors to offer micro-grants to restaurants, bars, and other independent businesses in the industry.

    Legal and employment issues

    • Lawyers for Good Government Foundation (L4GG), a nonprofit network of more than 125,000 legal advocates in all 50 states, launched the Small Business Remote Legal Clinic to offer free consultations for small-business owners to help them answer legal questions and better understand the help that's available. The pilot program starts with New York City businesses and will expand to other cities in the weeks ahead.

    • SixFifty, the tech subsidiary of law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, released free legal tools to help businesses manage employment issues related to the Covid-19 crisis, from automated policies developed by employment attorneys to questionnaires to gather employee information, manage tasks, and automate important communications. The firm is also hosting free webinars to guide businesses on how to use the tools.


    • Business Warrior, the software platform for small businesses, is offering 12 months' free access to its software and support, including personalized recommendations to drive new customers and improve profitability during this uncertain time.

    Gift certificates, gift boxes, and more ways to support small businesses

    • Verizon launched Pay It Forward Live, a weekly charitable entertainment series, to support small businesses affected by Covid-19. Dave Matthews will be the first among other artists to perform concerts from their homes that will stream live on Verizon's Twitter account and on Yahoo Entertainment and encourage viewers to support their favorite local businesses.

    • Keep Your City Smiling, born out of the Covid-19 crisis, sells gift boxes of products to benefit struggling local businesses. It is currently focused on Seattle small businesses, but it's expected to expand to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Portland, Oregon--with more cities to come.

    • Rally for Restaurants, a grass-roots movement to support restaurants through Covid-19, has made it easier than ever to buy gift cards to restaurants and encourage others to do the same. If you're a restaurant owner, you can add your business to the list.

    • Presently, a group-gifting platform, is covering all credit-card fees for group gifts on its platform through April.

    • Kabbage has launched an online hub to help boost gift-certificate sales for small businesses impacted by Covid-19. While the service is free, there is a 2.5 percent payment processing charge per gift certificate that goes to the third party facilitating the service.

    Supply Chain Solutions

    • Software company SAP is offering free access to SAP Ariba Discovery through June 30, for all suppliers. The platform serves as a business matchmaking service for buyers and suppliers. Buyers, who always had free access, can post their immediate sourcing needs--and now any supplier is free to respond to any of them at no charge for this limited period.

    Social-media services

    • Hootsuite, the social media management platform, is offering free access to its professional plan through July 1.

    Search engine optimization

    • Moz, the SEO software company, is offering free access to more than a dozen of its Moz Academy SEO courses through May 31, covering everything from keyword research to backlink basics and more.

    Presentations design

    • WeTransfer, the file transfer service, has opened its collaborative presentation tool Paste Pro for three months free to new teams who join the platform.


    • Shopify, the e-commerce platform, is offering an extended 90-day trial for new customers. For those of you currently on a 14-day trial, you can extend it at no charge to 90 days.

    Cloud storage

    WFH skills and tools

    • Threads, a collaboration and communication platform, is offering its Pro tier plan, which supports up to 100 members, for free through July 1.

    • Workhuman, the human capital management software company, is making its cloud-based social recognition tools--specifically its Life Events, Social Recognition, and Conversation platforms--free for 12 months to all businesses and organizations.

    • 15Five is offering full access to its performance-management software through June 15, to help companies lead remote teams.

    • Igloo Software, a digital workplace solutions provider, is offering its Business Continuity Bundle for free through July 6, which includes digital workplace tools to keep employees productive and supported through the crisis.

    • LinkedIn has made 16 LinkedIn Learning courses available for free, including tips on how to stay productive, build relationships when you're not face-to-face, use virtual meeting tools, and balance family and work in a healthy way.

    Team videoconferencing

    • Calendly, the appointment scheduling software company, is offering Zoom and GoToMeeting integrations--which were previously premium tier features--free of charge to businesses through June.
    • Dialpad, a communications platform, is offering businesses its cloud-based phone system Dialpad Talk Pro and its videoconferencing tool UberConference Business at no charge for two months. 

    • Adobe is offering Adobe Connect, a Web conferencing platform, for free to businesses and individuals through July 1, for meetings of up to 25 participants.

    • Cisco, the multinational tech giant whose Webex product hosts videoconferencing, online meetings, screen share, and webinars, is offering free 90-day licenses with unlimited usage.

    • Jamm, a voice and video collaboration tool for remote teams, is offering its service free to any team for four months.

    • Zoho Remotely has opened up its complete suite of Web and mobile apps for free to small-business owners through July 1, to help remote teams communicate, collaborate, and be productive.

    • Align Technologies has made its Huddle Tools software available for free to small businesses to help teams improve the flow of communication and manage updates and tasks through the coronavirus crisis.

    • Software giant Atlassian, which offers productivity and collaboration tools, is offering its cloud products for free to small businesses with teams of up to 10 people. 


    Video content

    • Software company Panopto is offering three months of free access to Panopto Cloud, a service used to record and distribute video content.

    • Apple has opened some of its professional-grade software to businesses at no charge for 90 days: Final Cut Pro X for video editing and Logic Pro X to create music.


    • Headspace is offering a variety of guided meditations and exercises (including new ones) for free to all businesses and their employees.

    • Fitness startup ClassPass has launched livestream classes for studios, with all proceeds going back to studios through June 1. The fitness startup is encouraging members to donate to their favorite studios, and it plans to match those donations up to $1 million. ClassPass also offers free access to 2,000 on-demand workouts.

    • Unmind, a workplace mental health platform, has started a free and open #GreatUnminds channel on Slack, where you can make connections, learn tips, and share advice on mental well-being in the workplace.

    • Les Mills, whose fitness brand started in 1968 in New Zealand, is offering more than 100 of his virtual fitness classes for free until the coronavirus crisis is over.

    • If yoga is more your speed, DoYogaWithMe is offering two months of free access to its premium content.


    Source: Inc.com

  • Techie Techie

    Ever want to start your own podcast? Zencastr is lifting the limits on its basic "Hobbyist" podcasting plan through July 1. Their web based software lets you interview guests remotely, add sounds and post your show all from your computer.

    Need to send a large file for work? Check out Meerodrop. They are unlocking advanced features you usually have to pay for, like the ability to send a file up to 10 gigabytes! Your link will good for 90 days.

    Free access to Creative Cloud tools through May for home use by students attending schools that currently only provide lab access through May. 

  • Online Learning Online Learning

    There has never been a more opportune moment to explore the wealth of information available at our fingertips through the internet than now, when we’re stuck at home and running out of things to fill the void of what used to be our normal schedules. Online courses are a great way to expand your knowledge and even advance your career by earning certificates. Taking an online course is also a useful tool for exploring fields of study. By studying short courses in different fields, you can make better decisions when it comes to deciding what degree to pursue. And useful information doesn’t have to come at the expense of putting you in debt!

    To reduce the time spent digging for information, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best resources for learning new skills & subjects online, for free!

    MIT Open Courseware is produced by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They offer courses in Business, Engineering, Health & Medicine, Math, and even language courses! The courses in OCW are classes that were once offered as college classes. When you select a course, you’ll be provided the course description as well as what materials are available to you. These courses require self-discipline since you’ll be working through the course schedule without the assistance of a professor. OCW courses take some practice working through, but once you get the hang of working through a syllabus and downloading course materials, you’ll be learning in no time!

    Coursera is another service that offers free online classes, as well as opportunities to earn a certificate or degree, as well as career training. Coursera offers classes in Arts & Humanities, Computer Science, Personal Development, Foreign Language, & Information Technology. They also offer degrees in Business Administration, Computer Science, Public Health, & more in both Bachelor’s and Mater’s degree. You can study & receive certificates in IBM Data Science, Construction & Engineering Management, Google IT Support, etc. All the courses offered through Coursera are created by national and internationally recognized organizations, such as University of Michigan, Imperial College London, IMB, & Yonsei University to name a few, so you know you’re getting all the right information. Coursera Allows you to work at your own pace & provides feedback as you work through the course material.

    Alison, similar to Coursera, works with recognized organizations around the world to produce high quality courses for free or reduced prices. Through Alison, you can receive certification in Foreign Languages, Media Studies, Health & Fitness, Networking, & more. You can also work through Diploma courses that offer skills training in Workplace Safety & Health, Business Management, Nursing & Patient Care, and many more! Another option offered through Alison is Learning Paths. Learning Paths combine courses in a related subject area to offer an in-depth learning experience. These paths combine courses in areas such as Hospitality & Food Safety, Tourism & Language Studies, and Project Management & Physics to name a few. You can also search for courses, certifications, & diplomas based on your career. Alison also offers Career Building and Guidance training based on where you’re at in your career, whether you’re trying to start, seek promotion, or re-enter the workforce.
    Edx is yet another service that provides free courses, certificate programs, & degrees online from top institutions around the world. Take courses in Architecture, Biology, Economics, Literature, and a wide range of other fields. Earn a MicroBachelor’s in Computer Science or Information Technology. Or achieve your Mater’s in Accounting, Nutritional Sciences, Supply Chain Management, or Cybersecurity to name a few. Advance your career with a certificate in Python Programming, Corporate Finance, Business Science, Deep Learning, etc.
    Open Culture is a free database for all the best free cultural & educational media available on the internet. Open Culture connects you to over 1,300 online courses, degree & certificate programs, movies, audio books, eBooks, textbooks, language lessons, business courses, and K-12 Educational resources. Open Culture is completely free to use and is a great place to go to explore that area that you’ve always wanted to learn more about. If you’ve ever wanted to learn about Digital Photography, this is a starting ground. If you or one of your children has always wanted to learn about space exploration, now’s their chance! Maybe you’ve been wanting to write a book, but want some creative writing lessons before you start, all your resources are available. Open Culture is also a great tool to help your kids’ study after being out of school for weeks.
    Drawspace is an online drawing course with free lessons covering all the bases of learning to draw. Start with an introduction then work your way through contouring, shading, composition & perspective, all the way to working with color.
    If you’ve ever wanted to learn sign language, lifeprint is a great place to start. Here, you can find a wealth of resources from the American Sign Language University. ASLU offers four levels of learning, starting with fingerspelling, introductions, and moving onto more advanced sentences until you can carry on a conversation in sign. Knowing Sign Language not only can provide new career opportunities, but connects you to millions of new people.

    Many students will be joining or returning to the school band this coming fall, give them a head start or refresh their memory with MusicTheory.net. Music Theory offers basic lessons in reading sheet music, rhythm & meter, intervals, chords, and chord progressions. It’s a great tool for students just starting to learn an instrument or for those looking for a refresher. Even if you aren’t a student and are looking to get into an instrument, it’s a good place to start.

    There’s a wealth of information available to us all through these resources. And there’s never a better time than now to start learning something new. Every bit of information gained & skills developed is a door to opportunity that has opened. Your knowledge is your power. In the words of B.B. King, “The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take it away from you.”
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  • Kids & Students Kids & Students

    Age of Learning 
    Families at affected schools free at-home access to ABCmouse, a learning resource for ages 2 to 8; Adventure Academy, is open for students ages 8 to 13; and ReadingIQ, a digital library and literacy platform is available for children 12 and under.

    Connect the kids on a virtual playdate with Caribu. Think FaceTime but with on screen activities like drawing pictures, playing games or reading a book together.The service is usually $7 a month but access is free right now. No credit card needed. Just download and you're good to go!

    If your little one is under 4, an app called Kinedu can help you fill your day with activities. Just answer a few questions about your little one and Kinedu will generate a daily schedule complete with activities aimed at developing crucial early skills. The service is free through April 15.

    GoNoodle: Good Energy at Home
    GoNoodle is the kid friendly entertainment company your kids know from school. They put together a free online resource for parents during this time called GoNoodle: Good Energy at Home.

    The content includes learning materials used at elementary school like movement and mindfulness videos. There are also downloadable and printable activity sheets that supplement what they see on screen. The best part: your little ones can do many of the suggested activities on their own, which means more time for parents to concentrate on working from home.

    Samsung Kids+
    Samsung Kids has a library of educational games, books and videos packaged inside an app thats simple for kids to use and easy for parents to control. There are popular brands including LEGO, Toca Boca and Peppa Pig represented with no adds or in-app purchases. Parents can also set time limits.

    New users can get a 30 day free trial and their second month for just $0.49. You can download Samsung Kids+ on Samsung devices through Google Play or Galaxy Apps Store.

    Spectrum Internet
    Spectrum is giving households with Pre-K to 12 or college students two free months of internet service. To be eligible, you must be a new customer. They're also waiving installation and pre-payment fees.


  • Gail Borden at Home


  • Health & Wellness - Fitness Health & Wellness - Fitness

    Stay fit even if you don’t have one of Peloton’s fancy bikes at home. They’re offering an extended 90 day trial to their app, which offers workout classes in a variety of categories, not just cycling.

    Headspace is one of the most popular meditation apps! Right now, they're offering free access to all K-12 teachers, school administrators, and supporting staff in the U.S. as well as health care professionals. A collection of content called Weathering the Storm is also available free to everyone.


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  • Entertainment Entertainment

    Sling TV
    Sling TV is encouraging folks to "Stay in and Sling" with totally free programming, including thousands of movies and shows for kids and families. The best part: there’s zero sign up or login! Just go to the website to start streaming.

  • Books, Magazines & More Books, Magazines & More

    Apple News+
    This is not necessarily a new or extraordinary offer, but it's still a good way to pass the time. You might know the Apple News app on your phone but did you know if you subscribe you get access to hundreds of magazines? And not just the current issues, but back issues as well.

  • Transportation Transportation

    Doctors, nurses, EMTs, paramedics and other medical personnel on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic will now be able to ride free on Metra by showing their work ID to a Metra conductor.

    Pace is offering free rides on all Pace fixed route bus and On Demand services to all medical personnel--including doctors, nurses, EMTs, and paramedics--for the duration of the State’s “stay at home” order. To ride free, medical personnel must present a work ID showing that they are employed at a hospital, doctor’s office, medical facility or local fire department. For the latest information on Pace's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.



  • We're so proud to be a member of this community, and enormously appreciative of the hard work the chamber has done to help local businesses. You're an invaluable resource, and one we're thankful for! - Midwest Bone & Joint Institute 

    You are doing a GREAT JOB supporting local business. Your proactive communication and support is REALLY APPRECIATED. 

    Thank You!!
    Jenny Redisi,
    Cafe Roma 

    I learned so much about how to build my business from the ground up from business owners who presented to the Elgin Area Chamber’s Small Business Academy, along with incredible networking. Thank you, EAC!

    Amanda Garcia, Principal                  ColorWord Creative




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