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ELGIN – The last round of Back to Business grants have been awarded, and State Senator Cristina Castro is pleased to see this small business assistance coming to Cook and Kane counties.

“Our businesses have shown such resiliency throughout this pandemic,” said Castro (D-Elgin). “The Back to Business grant program was vital for keeping the doors of restaurants and local shops open through the tough two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

More than $2.5 million was awarded to dozens of businesses in the district Castro represents. The B2B grants are awarded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity using funds allocated to them by the American Rescue Plan through last year’s state budget.

DCEO has provided $250 million in B2B grants to small businesses throughout the state, with an emphasis on hard hit sectors, such as restaurants, bars, barbershops and salons, gyms and more, with a focus on providing assistance to disproportionately impacted areas.

“Even with restrictions being lifted, it is important that we still help our small businesses continue to recover from an unprecedented difficulty,” Castro said. “I encourage everyone to shop and dine local to help our local economy stay robust.”

With strong leadership from Castro, the state has seen six Illinois’ General Obligation bond rating upgrades in the last year from all three of the nation’s primary credit rating agencies. The latest two-notch upgrade comes as a result of the state paying down its bill backlog from over $16 billion to less than $3 billion in a course of just a few years.

Due to fiscal responsibility, the state saw an increase in funds available to assist small businesses.

Visit the DCEO website for more information on the B2B program.