Financial Help for Small Businesses during the Pandemic
May 13, 2020
Skokie businesses are entitled to financial help during the pandemic, and the information changes quickly. It is difficult to know where to look and what to do first. Here’s a brief summary of where to get started (originally published April 16 and updated May 13.)
The Village of Skokie has a special, frequently updated Resource Page for Businesses affected by COVID-19. This page includes forms and the latest information and links to local, state, and federal programs.
The Village of Skokie supports local businesses offering curbside pickup in front of or in the public right-of-way near their store. Village regulations regarding curbside pickup have been relaxed until further notice. If you are offering curbside pickup or delivery and have not already provided information for the Village's Open for Business page, please email len.becker@Skokie.org.
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.
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.
- The Cook County Community Recovery Initiative launched the Cook County Recovery Fund, which offers one-time, zero-interest loans of up to $20,000 for small businesses and $10,000 for independent contractors in suburban Cook County. Loans will be administered by the Chicago Community Loan Fund and provided by a network of community lenders. Program details are still being finalized. Sign up to receive updates and be in line when the application period opens.
- A Small Business Covid-19 Relief Program is offered through the Illinois Treasurer's Office. It is partnering with approved financial institutions to provide lower-rate loans, or loans to a business or nonprofit that would not otherwise qualify, to Illinois small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Small Business Majority, a national nonprofit organization with an Illinois location, has an Illinois Covid-19 resource page. Its Venturize portal can connect small businesses with reputable sources of capital. Venturize also has an Illinois emergency loan resource page.
- The Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund is not accepting applications at this time.
- The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is only accepting applications from agricultural businesses at this time.
- The Payroll Protection Program provides small businesses with funds to pay up to eight weeks of payroll costs, including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. Funds are provided in the form of loans that will be fully forgiven when used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. At least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll. The PPP Loan Forgiveness Application is now available. It must be submitted by October 31, 2020. Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees. This program is being administered through local banks across the country.
- Businesses thinking through their reopening process can consult the Center for Disease Control’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers Responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019 page for more information.
- As of Monday, May 11, self-employed workers can apply for the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program and unemployment benefits on a new state application portal. Self-employed workers can include sole proprietors who do not pay unemployment contributions and business owners. The process includes several steps. More details and links to apply can be found on the Illinois Department of Employment Security Learn about PUA page.
Learn more about resources for small businesses, nonprofits, and other employers provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress, including the major programs and initiatives administered by the Small Business Administration, and additional tax provisions.