vanpelt 050922CHICAGO – More than 200 businesses on the city’s Westside have received over $11 million in Back to Business grants thanks to support from State Senator Patricia Van Pelt.

“Our small business owners give us so much, and I jump at every opportunity I have to support their businesses,” said Van Pelt (D-Chicago). “Times are hard, and entrepreneurs need as much support as they can get.”

A total of $250 million was awarded to 6,500 businesses throughout the state. 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.

More than 60% of awards were given to businesses located in Disproportionately Impacted Areas, and 61% of awards granted to hard-hit industries, including restaurants and taverns, hotels, arts organizations, and salons.

Businesses owned by people of color were the recipients of half of the grants, including 22% of grants to Asian American or Pacific Islander-owned businesses, 15% to Black-owned businesses, and 12% to Latinx-owned businesses.

“I am happy that so many business owners of color and those located in disproportionately impacted areas were grant recipients,” Van Pelt said. “So many different kinds of businesses needed assistance, and I know how much they will benefit from these grants.”

With strong leadership from Senator Van Pelt, the state has seen six Illinois’ General Obligation bond rating upgrades in the last year from three major credit rating agencies, allowing the state to have funds available to assist small businesses.