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To assist business owners with the application process for the Business Interruption Grant program, state Sen. Christopher Belt (D-Centreville) and state Sen. Rachelle Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) are cohosting a free webinar with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for businesses in central and southwestern Illinois at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30.

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, which is why I am encouraging local business owners to participate in the BIG webinar this week,” Belt said. “The pandemic was devastating for many businesses, so it’s imperative that they make the most of this opportunity to receive some aid from the second round of the BIG program.”

To provide stability to the communities struggling most during the pandemic, the second round of BIG grants gives priority to downstate small businesses affected by mitigation efforts,” Crowe said. “I urge business owners to join the webinar to get answers to their most pressing questions about eligibility and how to apply.”

Registration is required. Click here to register.

Applications for Round 2 of the BIG program were launched last week. The latest round has allocated $220 million in assistance for movie theaters, performing arts venues, concert venues and other hard-hit businesses to help them stay afloat through this time of crisis and ensure they have the resources to open safely in the coming months.

The intention of the second round is to provide relief for all types of small businesses, with a focus on businesses located downstate and heavily distressed industries. Of the total funding, $70 million has been set aside for businesses in economically distressed communities that have been the most vulnerable to COVID-19.

Applications to the BIG program are open and can be found on the Illinois DCEO website. Belt and Crowe urge business owners who are unable to attend the Sept. 30 webinar to visit DCEO’s website to sign up for another webinar or view a prerecorded version.

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