Commerce Weekly Update
Northeast Region Weekly Update
March 22, 2021
Last week, Governor Pritzker and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike announced a metrics-based, vaccination-informed framework for Illinois to advance to Phase 5 of the state's Restore Illinois Plan, our new normal. In recognition of an increasing national vaccine supply and the state now averaging 100,000 vaccine administrations per day, Governor Pritzker also announced that all Illinois residents age 16+ will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting April 12th, with additional announcements to come about populations who will be made eligible prior to universal eligibility. See below for more information on this announcement and links to our updated Restore Illinois guidelines. With this new information, we are poised to cautiously move forward. Just remember to continue to wear your mask, keep your distance, and wash your hands. We are moving in the right direction! We’re All in Illinois.
With the passage and signing of the American Rescue Plan, additional programs and funding will be forthcoming to assist with the economic impact of this pandemic. Please be patient while we and other agencies work through the implementation of this plan. We will provide updates as we receive them through this newsletter and separate communications as needed. If you want to receive updates from the Department, you can fill out this form and you’ll be added to our Department contact list. I also encourage you to follow us on our social media channels for real time updates.
We continue to celebrate Women’s HERstory Month throughout March. Led by the Offices of Minority Economic Empowerment (OMEE) and Regional Economic Development (RED), DCEO will celebrate women leaders from across the state, highlighting their enduring contributions to society and emergence as trailblazers during times of crisis. See below for a list of all our events throughout the month and check out other events through the state as we celebrate women in history!
We continue to help the SBA promote the Paycheck Protection Program. DCEO and SBA have numerous webinar opportunities to learn more about this program. As of right now, the deadline for this program remains March 31st. I’ve provided links to the webinars below. I’ve also included an update from our Office of Community Development on both the Rebuild Illinois Capital Program and the Community Development Block Grant Programs. The application deadline for the Broadband Expansion Capital Funding NOFO has been extended to April 12, 2021. We also have numerous other program updates, so please read on!
Restore Illinois Plan
All regions of the state are currently under Phase 4 guidelines. This week, DCEO has updated numerous Phase 4 guidelines that are effective immediately. As part of these updates, we have guidelines for activities such as social events, amusement parks, outdoor markets and festivals, meetings, conventions and trade shows, and overnight camping. All the Phase 4 guidelines can be found on our website here. We are working to update the FAQ document as well and will have that posted soon.
Governor Pritzker’s announcement this week also unveiled the Bridge to Phase 5 plan. This plan will allow Illinois to move forward with a dial-like approach between the mitigations in Phase 4 and the post-pandemic new normal of Phase 5. This Bridge to Phase 5 will allow for higher capacity limits and increased business operations. Once 70% of residents 65 and older have been vaccinated and barring any reversals in our COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths for a 28-day monitoring period, the Bridge to Phase 5 will begin with increased capacity limits in both indoor and outdoor settings. Once 50% of residents 16 and older have been vaccinated and stable or declining COVID-19 metrics are recorded during a 28-day monitoring period, Phase 5 will be implemented, removing capacity limits altogether. All regions of the state will move through these next phases together based on statewide metrics. More information on the Bridge to Phase 5 plan can be found here.
If you have questions on the guidelines or how they apply to a situation, please reach out to us for guidance. IDPH will continue to track the metrics by region to determine if mitigations can be relaxed, if additional mitigations are required, or if current mitigation should remain in place. Follow the latest metrics at: https://dph.illinois.gov/regionmetrics .
Join our Team!
DCEO is looking to hire an Administrative Assistance to assist Team RED operations. This Team RED position is located in Cook County and is Spanish speaking. The posting will close on March 26, 2021. You can link to the job posting here .
Women’s HERstory Month 2021
“Women Breaking Barriers in Illinois”
Government and Private Funding for Women Small Businesses
Date: March 24, 2021
Time: 11:00 AM
Click here to register
In the State of Illinois, there are nearly 440,000 women owned businesses with over 300,000 employees. Chicago has the most female entrepreneurs in the United States, it has a 30% rate of start-ups. One of the substantial hurdles for women owned businesses is access to capital. We know that accessing funding is not always easy to navigate and we're here to help. Learn about grants and programs to help your business thrive. Together, this panel will provide you with a toolkit of resources in government and private funding to explore opportunities in some cases unchartered waters.
EmpowHERed: How Women Trailblazers are Shattering the Glass Ceiling & Leading COVID-19 Recovery Efforts in Illinois
Date: Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Time: 2:00 PM
Click here to register
Please join the Offices for Minority Economic Empowerment and Regional Economic Development for a webinar exploring how women economic leaders in Illinois are driving COVID-19 relief efforts and economic recovery with an equity lens. According to the Harvard Business Review, women are better leaders during a crisis. One study found that outcomes related to Covid-19, including number of cases and deaths, were systematically better in countries led by women. Women trailblazers in philanthropy, business, and government will share their leadership stories on combating the global pandemic and offer insights around how Illinois can build back better. This session will leave business owners and leaders with tangible tactics and strategies around how to lead during a crisis, and lay the foundation for future economic growth, with an emphasis on gender equity.
DCEO Veterans Series
Taking Veteran-Owned Businesses into the Global Marketplace
Date: Wednesday, March 24, 2021
Time: 1:30 pm CST
Click here to register.
Join us for this 2-hour event. Our U.S. veterans have unique experiences and contact networks that can help facilitate global sales success. Companies engaged in international trade earn higher revenues, employ more, and stay in business longer than those that do not. Join the SBA’s Office of International Trade (OIT) and the Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) at Old Dominion University as we celebrate and learn from the export success of veteran-owned businesses sharing their stories of global market success.
The Webinar will include:
-Insights from successful veteran-owned small business exporters
-Strategies for launching or expanding your global sales
-Information on programs that help veteran businesses enter and expand in global markets.
-The Veteran Institute for Procurement – VIP INTERNATIONAL and “Vets Go Global”
-SBA international trade resources available to facilitate global market success, including grant programs to support global expansion.
Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program
The U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the U.S. Treasury Department, has re-opened the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for new borrowers and certain existing PPP borrowers. This round of the PPP will continue to be processed through participating financial institutions and will be available through March 31, 2021. This round is open to both First Draw PPP Loans and a Second Draw PPP Loan. In general, a First Draw PPP loan is for eligible borrowers who did not receive a PPP loan before the program closed in August 2020. A Second Draw PPP loan is for certain eligible borrowers that previously received a PPP loan and used the full amount of their First Draw PPP loan on authorized expenses, generally have 300 employees or less, and have suffered a 25% reduction in gross receipts.
SBA announced four additional changes to open the PPP to more underserved small businesses than ever before. While these changes are being implemented, SBA will work with community partners to improve the emergency relief “digital front door” and conduct extensive stakeholder outreach. And, SBA will strengthen its relationships with lender partners to advance equity goals, deliver funding efficiently, and prevent fraud, waste, and abuse. SBA will:
- Allow sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals to receive more financial support by revising the PPP’s funding formula for these categories of applicants;
- Eliminate an exclusionary restriction on PPP access for small business owners with prior non-fraud felony convictions, consistent with a bipartisan congressional proposal;
- Eliminate PPP access restrictions on small business owners who have struggled to make student loan payments by eliminating student loan debt delinquency as a disqualifier to participating in the PPP; and
- Ensure access for non-citizen small business owners who are lawful U.S. residents by clarifying that they may use Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to apply for the PPP.
Date: Tuesday, March 23, 2021
Time: 10:00 am
Presenter: Austin Grammer, East Central Regional Manager, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity with special guest, Fernanda Pedraza-Schmitt with SBA
Registration Link: https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=e0387be102e3d5ffeee7f401e734f7b33
Date: Tuesday, March 23, 2021
Time: 2:00 pm
Presenter: Kala Lambert, Southeast Regional Manager, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity with special guest, Darrah Perryman with SBA
Registration Link: https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=e422d5fc34746650aea20c782d01cd96e
Date: Wednesday, March 24, 2021
Time: 10:00 am
Presenter: Joe McKeown, Northeast Regional Manager, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity with special guest
Registration Link: https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=e59265b2826eb17a1441fd756f7a7b571
Small Business Administration Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program
The Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) Grant program was established by The Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Non-Profits, and Venues Act, signed into law on December 27, 2020. The program includes $15 billion in grants to shuttered venues, to be administered by the Small Business Administration’s Office of Disaster Assistance.
Eligible applicants may qualify for SVO Grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million. $2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees. Eligible entities include:
- Live venue operators or promoters
- Theatrical producers
- Live performing arts organization operators
- Relevant museum operators, zoos and aquariums who meet specific criteria
- Motion picture theater operators
- Talent representatives, and
- Each business entity owned by an eligible entity that also meets the eligibility requirements
This program is not yet open for applications. SBA has issued more guidance on this program in the past week. To follow updates on this program, please click here to go to the SBA’s website. Applicants must also have a valid SAM.gov registration to apply for this program. Here’s a link to a video on how to apply: SAM.gov Entity Registration Training - YouTube .
Small Business Administration Program: Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL)
This week SBA announced extended deferment periods for all disaster loans including EIDL until 2022.
- All SBA disaster loans made in calendar year 2020, including COVID-19 EIDL, will have a first payment due date extended from 12-months to 24-months from the date of the note.
- All SBA disaster loans made in calendar year 2021, including COVID-19 EIDL, will have a first payment due date extended from 12-months to 18-months from the date of the note.
The SBA is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses and non-profit organizations that are suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19. These loans may be used to pay debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact, and that are not already covered by a Paycheck Protection Program loan. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profits. The first payment is deferred for one year. Applicants must be physically located in the U.S. or designated territory and suffered working capital losses due to the coronavirus pandemic, not due to a downturn in the economy or other reasons. Eligible applicants include the following:
- Businesses with 500 or fewer employees or defined as small per SBA.gov/SizeStandards
- Cooperatives with 500 or fewer employees
- Agricultural enterprises with 500 or fewer employees
• Faith-based organizations
• Sole proprietorships and independent contractors
The deadline to apply for this program has been extended to December 31, 2021. For more information and the application, please click here to go to the SBA’s website.
DCEO Office of Community Development Updates
We have scheduled a Rebuild Illinois Grant Administrator’s Workshop on Tuesday, April 6th. This event will be held virtually, and all recipients of the Fast Track and Shovel Ready grants must send the person(s) administering the grant. Administration includes (but is not limited to) procurement, financial and programmatic reporting, compliance with state and federal requirements, assuring invoices match estimates and are properly calculated, and payments are completed promptly and documented. Registration information for this event will be sent to the contact listed in your grant application and is available on our website here.
Community Development Block Grant
The Housing Rehabilitation grant awards were announced this week. Public Infrastructure application reviews continue, and we anticipate awards before the end of March. We will hold a CDBG Grant Administrator’s Workshop virtually on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. All administrators of awarded 2020 CDBG Housing and Public Infrastructure grants must attend. To register for this workshop, go to our website here.
HUD has announced our 2021 CDBG Allocation and we are happy to receive about $220,000 more this year. We will be updating our Guidebooks over the next month and they will be available on our webpage asap. However, we do not anticipate many changes over the 2020 Guidebooks. The Application Workshop for Housing will be Tuesday, March 30th, and the PI Application Workshop will be April 12th. All of these will be virtual with registration available on our website here. The Application Deadline has been set for Tuesday, August 3rd for both Housing and Public Infrastructure.
Team RED will be hosting numerous program webinars over the next few weeks. Please join us and learn about these programs. While different team members from around the state are hosting the webinars, they are open to anyone to attend. You can view the full list of upcoming events on our website here.
Overview of WIOA Workforce Business Services
Date and Time: Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at 2pm CST
Please join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's Office of Regional Economic Development for a webinar to learn more about Illinois Workforce Programs that can benefit both Employers and Employee's with items like hiring, training, Apprenticeship programs, and other Business Services.
Overview of DCEO Programs
Date and Time: Friday, April 9, 2021 at 10:00 am CST
Please join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's Office of Regional Economic Development for a webinar as we give an overview of the agency
and talk about the programs available to help businesses.
Upcoming SBA program webinars for Central and Southern Illinois
Below are two events that the SBA is hosting a few times over the next couple of months. Click on the links below for more information.
Central & Southern Illinois: Marketing & Selling to the Federal Government
https://marketingandsellingfedgov.eventbrite.com Event dates: 4/7/21, and 5/5/21 from 9am – 11am
About this Event
Are you located in Central and Southern Illinois? Have you thought about having the federal government as one of your customers but unsure as to where to start?
Come and join us to learn about SBA resources to help your small business successfully identify and compete for federal contract opportunities. We will cover information on the following certifications
Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB)
Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB)
Self-Certification for Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business
Team RED Office hours
DCEO’s Regional Economic Development Team is hosting weekly office hours on the days and times listed below. These sessions are designed as open times that the Team is available. The Team will provide you with the latest updates and answer any questions you may have on state or federal programs. Feel free to drop in for any assistance you need. If these times do not work for you, please reach out to your regional Team RED representative. We’re always here to help.
Mondays from 3pm – 4pm
Meeting link: https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/j.php?MTID=mdac63fc058a28665bc12f2db155d8e81
Wednesdays from 1pm – 2pm
Meeting link: https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/j.php?MTID=mab7683a4fd7c1b69c9aead26b0fce1ea
Thursdays from 3pm – 4pm
Meeting link: https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/j.php?MTID=me64c9d6620b31db8645644cf588f956b
Fridays from 10am – 11am
Meeting link: https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/j.php?MTID=m097b6d22cef426d023f9d5375ba167b4
DCEO Office of Minority Economic Empowerment
The Office of Minority Economic Empowerment (OMEE) is committed to providing minority-, women-, persons with disabilities and veteran-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs across the state with equitable access to opportunities and resources. Through dynamic partnerships, targeted outreach, and tailored programs and initiatives, OMEE aims to create an inclusive business ecosystem for communities that have traditionally faced systemic barriers to entry and growth. This investment spurs local economic development in underserved areas resulting in a revitalized and thriving Illinois economy. OMEE is gathering contact and business information for an internal database to support our businesses and stakeholders more effectively. Please click here to update your information with us. Feel free to reach us at email@example.com with any questions. You can find more information about OMEE including programs they are hosting on their webpage here.
Open DCEO Notice of Funding Opportunities
Below is a list of open Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs) currently with the Department. Please use the links to go to additional information on our website. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions on these.
- Connect Illinois Broadband Grant Program – Applications due 4/12/21. For more information, click here.
If you have upcoming meetings or events and would like DCEO to participate, please reach out to me. One of our goals is to ensure information about our programs and activities is getting out to the communities and we’re happy to participate. We are now working on scheduling workshops for 2021, so please let us know if you are interested in partnering with us to provide program information to your organization and region. If you want to receive updates from the Department, you can fill out this form and you’ll be added to our Department contact list. I also encourage you to follow us on our social media channels for real time updates.
Local CURE Support Program
Local Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency (Local CURE) Support Program: DCEO is continuing to work with our communities across the state to submit their reimbursable expenses related to COVID-19. It’s not too late to submit expenses. The deadline to submit reimbursable costs has been extended to January 31, 2022. DCEO has posted information on our website here. The website also has some good Q&A documents that can help with determining if an expense is eligible for reimbursement. Additional guidance has been released on Substantially Dedicated Payroll and Claiming the Costs of Implementing CDC Guidance for Public Employees and within Public Spaces or Facilities. Check out these new documents and other guidance here. If you have not been able to access the portal or have not received the access email, please send a message to our partner, Crowe, at LocalCURE@crowe.com and they will be able to assist you. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. You have other questions you can send them to LocalCURE@crowe.com and we will get back to you.
Other DCEO Programs
Broadband Expansion Funding Opportunity
Broadband Expansion Capital Funding
The state is releasing $50 million in funding for the second round of matching grants through Connect Illinois, the state’s $420 million statewide broadband expansion plan. Eligible applicants include internet service providers, rural cooperatives, nonprofits and local governments. Up to $5 million per project will be available during the second round, and subsequent rounds will follow over the course of the next several years. The second round of Connect Illinois calls for a nonstate match component requiring companies to dedicate funding that will accelerate the delivery of broadband investments. The application for the second round of funding largely mirrors requirements of the first application – including a 50 percent nonmatch in most cases. To ensure an equal playing field, the administration has instituted an exemption allowing a lower nonstate match for project proposals concerning economically distressed communities. This program change acknowledges the difficulty of connecting the hardest-to-serve areas of Illinois, and the compounding challenges created by the COVID-19 crisis, allowing underserved communities to be competitive when applying for critical infrastructure dollars. In addition to providing universal access to basic broadband for homes, businesses, and community anchor institutions by 2024, the State’s broadband plan seeks to improve utilization of broadband for various uses in education, telehealth and economic development. All Connect Illinois projects must meet the minority business participation requirements of the State of Illinois' Business Enterprise Program. Click here for the NOFO. Application deadline has been extended to April 12, 2021.
PC’s for People
Through a first-of-its-kind collaboration by the State of Illinois, PCs for People and various community partners, Illinois has launched a statewide network that will receive, refurbish and redistribute used computers to those in need. This initiative responds to the 1.1 million Illinois households currently without computers and aims to bridge the digital divide for those without internet access to help improve connectivity essential for remote learning, work from home, telemedicine, and other requirements of everyday life. To source the network with newly refurbished computer devices, the State of Illinois is working with private and philanthropic partners to build a pipeline for Illinois households in need. For more information, click here.
If you are interested in donating equipment to this program, PCs for People will accept any and all used computer equipment, redistributing what it can refurbish and recycling what it cannot refurbish. PCs for People is NAID AAA and R2 certified, requiring the non-for-profit to practice the highest standards of information destruction, hard drive sanitization, and environmental computer device recycling along with a zero-landfill policy. If your entity is undertaking a pc refresh or you know of an entity that is looking to undertake one and would be interested in donating to this program, please let me know and we’ll help make the connection to PC’s for People.
Other News and Notes:
USDA Rural Development
USDA Rural Development is inviting applications for grants under the Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) Program for fiscal year (FY) 2021, subject to funding availability. This notice is issued to allow applicants sufficient time to leverage financing, prepare and submit their applications, and give the Agency time to process applications within FY 2021. Successful applications will be selected by the Agency for funding and subsequently awarded to the extent that allowance may ultimately be made available through appropriations. All applicants are responsible for any expenses incurred in developing their applications. Complete applications may be offered in paper or electronic format to the appropriate Rural Development State Office and must be received by 4:30 p.m. local time on March 31, 2021.
Illinois Department of Transportation
The Illinois Department of Transportation is hosting free virtual workshops in February as part of its Building Blocks of Success series for firms interested in participating in the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program strengthening their skills and bidding on state projects. The workshops are open to all, but some are tailored to specific districts/regions of the state.
The workshop dates and topics are:
• March 23: Getting Paid, 10 a.m. to noon
• March 25: Required Documents, 10 a.m. to noon
• March 29: Quick Books Part 1, 10 a.m. to noon
• March 30: Quick Books Part 2, 10 a.m. to noon
• March 31: Quick Books Part 3, 10 a.m. to noon
Building Blocks of Success will be conducted through April. Workshop information, including dates and times, will be made available through Eventbrite at bit.ly/DBEworkshops. Advance registration is required.
Questions can be directed to the DBE resource center at (312) 939-1100.