Gov. Pritzker comes to Urbana, announces first round of Business Interruption Grants

Gov.+J.B.+Pritzker+announces+the+first+round+of+Business+Interruption+Program+grants+outside+of+the+Wood+N%27+Hog+BBQ+in+Urbana.+Gov.+Pritzker+stopped+by+Urbana+on+Wednesday+before+speaking+at+Bloomington+an+hour+later.+

Ethan Simmons

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announces the first round of Business Interruption Program grants outside of the Wood N’ Hog BBQ in Urbana. Gov. Pritzker stopped by Urbana on Wednesday before speaking at Bloomington an hour later.

By Amrita Bhattacharyya, Staff Writer

Outside of the Urbana Wood N’ Hog BBQ on Thursday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker spoke about the first round of the Business Interruption Grants program, designed to help small businesses offset negative impacts of the pandemic. 

Created by Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the first tranche of $46 million in grants supports more than 2,600 businesses in over 400 cities and towns across 78 of Illinois’ 102 counties.  

The first round of grants includes $910,000 in funding for 50 small businesses in Champaign-Urbana, including Joe’s Brewery, Raw Fitness, Oishi Hibachi Steak House and Amara Yoga & Arts. 

funding for 50 small businesses in Champaign-Urbana, including Joe’s Brewery, Raw Fitness, Oishi Hibachi Steak House and Amara Yoga & Arts. 

“Small businesses like (Wood N’ Hog Barbeque) are the backbone of Illinois’ economy, collectively representing the largest number of jobs in our economy in this state,” Pritzker said.

The BIG program gives priority to businesses that haven’t received loans from the federal Paycheck Protection Program, with a focus on businesses that have received less than $3 million in annual revenues. 

“The federal PPP program seems to have overlooked too many entrepreneurs and small shops, and it was important to me and to the General Assembly to ensure that small businesses get the help that they need,” Pritzker said. 

A portion of the funding is reserved for businesses that were shut down in the spring, as well as those in COVID-impacted areas that also experienced property damage from the civil unrest in June. 

Over $24 million will go toward businesses in “disproportionately impacted areas,” or areas that have been hit hard by virus-related economic stresses, with half of the total businesses receiving awards being minority-owned. 

Pritzker also said a portion of the grants are set aside for childcare providers. 

“I will do whatever I can to support our families and revitalize our economy and build a stronger and more inclusive Illinois for the other side of this pandemic,” Pritzker said. 

[email protected]