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Financial Help for Small Businesses during the Pandemic










The SBA announced a new initiative prioritizing the smallest businesses for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. On February 24, 2021, the SBA opened a 14-day, exclusive PPP loan application period for businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 20 employees. Borrowers can apply for the Paycheck Protection Program by downloading the First Draw PPP loan application or Second Draw PPP loan application and working with a participating PPP lender through the SBA Lender Match tool

Additional changes to PPP funding benefiting very small businesses were announced. The program will now allow sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals to receive more financial support by revising the funding formula for these categories of applicants. And exclusionary restrictions on PPP access for small business owners with prior non-fraud felony convictions will be eliminated, federal student loan debt delinquency and default as disqualifiers to participating in the PPP will be eliminated, and access for noncitizen small business owners who are lawful U.S. residents is ensured by clarifying that they may use their Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to apply for the PPP.

Loans and Other Financial Resources

Local, state, and federal resources are available to provide some relief, even to the smallest businesses. Many of these programs are time sensitive, so don’t hesitate to apply.

Business Counseling

Small business counselors, funded by the Small Business Administration, are available to help businesses of any size free of charge. Our local North Cook and Lake Counties SCORE chapter created a Coronavirus Resource Hub, where you can sign up for remote mentoring from a SCORE business counselor and for webinars addressing the issues businesses are encountering. Illinois Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are also available to assist businesses seeking loans, counseling, and preparedness planning. A list of nearby Small Business Development Centers, now operating remotely, can be located here

Library Business Resources

The library has online tools to help businesses. Find customers and competitors, take online courses to sharpen your skills, create business plans, and keep up with the latest business news. If your business is located in Skokie or is a member of the Skokie Chamber of Commerce you can apply for or renew a business library card online, and use it to access library business resources remotely. 

Chamber of Commerce

The Skokie Chamber of Commerce has a list of resources available to all businesses during the pandemic and is providing free business webinars on a wide range of topics to current, past, and prospective members.