pexels jessica lewis 583846CHAMPAIGN – To help the many small business owners facing economic hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) announced Champaign and Vermilion County businesses will receive aid through the Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program.

“The BIG program is essential to small businesses who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bennett said. “I’m pleased to see so many businesses take advantage of this grant opportunity, and I would like to see more apply while funding is still available.”

In the district Bennett represents, 32 businesses received a combined $1,655,000. Each business received between $5,000 and $150,000 to be used to help cover the costs of payroll, rent, utilities and other working capital during the time they have experienced interruptions due to the pandemic.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity awarded the grants this week, as part of the second round of the BIG program. However, applications will remain open until all of the funding is spent.

“These grants are a great step toward recovery, but our small business community needs much more of our support,” Bennett said. “I look forward to working with governor’s administration to find more resources for our hurting businesses. On an individual level, it’s important to shop local, especially during the holiday season, because that money goes right back into our economy.”

The BIG program is the largest state-run economic support program formed in response to the financial losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications are available on the DCEO website.