• Small Business Community Navigator Program

    Dear Community Partner,
    Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) recently announced a significant expansion of DCEO's community navigator program, an outreach model leveraging community partners to help small, minority owned businesses connect with emergency resources during the pandemic.
    Illinois' community navigator model has been recognized by the Biden-Harris administration, which is using this approach nationally through the recently passed American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
    Through a Hub and Spoke Model, the program is designed to strengthen access to technical assistance programs by underserved businesses and reach businesses owned by women, veterans and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Up to $10,000,000 in grants will be awarded to Hubs that will sub-grant to Spokes. Services will be provided from late June 2021 through December 2021.
    Community Navigators will provide outreach and technical assistance so target businesses have awareness of and access to government relief programs.
    • Examples of relief programs include: BIG, PPP, EIDL, SVOG, RRF, future federal and state small business relief programs
    • Target businesses include:
    • small businesses located in rural areas or disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs) designated by DCEO
    • small businesses owned by members of the following communities: racial or ethnic minorities, veterans, immigrants, women, and/or individuals with disabilities.
    Learn more about the Small Business Community Navigator Program and the informational webinar.
    If you are interested in participating in this program, you are encouraged to submit your contact information in order to be added to a public listing of all interested parties. Hubs and Spokes should be communicating directly with one another to submit an application. DCEO will only award grants to Hubs; Hubs will then provide sub-grants to Spokes.
    Submit your contact information for the public facing hub and spoke list.
    Jonathan McGee,
    Deputy Director of Regional Economic Development (RED)
    Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity
    Vanessa Uribe
    Deputy Director Office of Minority Economic Opportunity (OMEE)
    Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
    As Illinois moves towards our new normal, the administration is outlining clear metrics and mitigations that will allow the state to continue with a gradual reopening. Learn more on the bridge to Phase 5 and expanded capacity limits in Phase 4.