Home > News & Events > B2B NewBiz Grants NOW OPEN

B2B NewBiz Grants NOW OPEN

New businesses launched in 2020 or 2021 eligible for up to $30,000 in grants.

Applications close January 11, 2024.

Applications now open: https://b2bnewbiz.com/

Illinois B2B NewBiz will provide sub-awards ranging from $5,000 to $30,000  determined based on whether the business is home-based or brick-and-mortar, and the amount of time the business was in operation during the pandemic, as shown in the following table:

Business Start Date Brick-and-Mortar Home-Based
January 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020 $30,000 $10,000
July 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020 $20,000 $5,000
January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021 $10,000 N/A

The business start date is based on the date the business was incorporated or date on business license. Sole proprietors that started in 2020 whose professional licenses do not reflect a start date will be eligible for $5,000.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for a grant award under Illinois B2B NewBiz, for-profit businesses and nonprofit organizations must meet all the criteria listed below:

  1. Started operations between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021.
  2. Had gross receipts of at least $25,000 and up to $20,000,000 in 2021 (annualized if started during 2021).
  3. Currently active operations in Illinois.
  4. Have not received a Back to Business (B2B) grant prior to 2023.
    • Business Interruption Grant (BIG), Back to Business (B2B) Grant issued prior to 2023, Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG), or Restaurant Revitalization Fund Grant (RRF).
  5. Must meet one of the following two criteria:
    • The business or nonprofit is in a priority industry as defined for the previous Back to Business program
      1. A list of priority industries and their definitions can be found here.
    • The business is majority owned by an individual or individuals that became eligible for and received unemployment insurance benefits – including from Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – between March 13, 2020, and the date the business began operations.

Ineligible Businesses

The following businesses are not eligible to apply for this Program:

  1. independent contractors or freelance workers that do not operate a sole proprietorship; 
  2. ​recipients of an Illinois Business Interruption Grant (BIG), Back to Business (B2B) Grant issued prior to 2023, Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG), or Restaurant Revitalization Fund Grant (RRF);
  3. child care providers that have received and/or are registered for Child Care Restoration Grants
  4. a private club or business that limits membership for reasons other than capacity; 
  5. a business primarily engaged in speculative activities that develop profits from fluctuations in price rather than through normal course of trade; 
  6. a business that earns more than a quarter of its annual net revenue from lending activities, unless the business is a non-bank or non-bank holding company certified as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI);
  7. a business that derives at least 33% of its gross annual revenue from legal gambling activities;
  8. a business engaged in pyramid sales, where a participant’s primary incentive is based on the sales made by an ever-increasing number of participants;
  9. a business engaged in activities that are prohibited by federal law or applicable law in the jurisdiction where the business is located or conducted. (Included in these activities is the production, servicing, or distribution of otherwise legal products that are to be used in connection with an illegal activity, such as selling drug paraphernalia or operating a motel that knowingly permits illegal prostitution);
  10. a business principally engaged in teaching, instructing, counseling, or indoctrinating religion or religious beliefs, whether in a religious or secular setting;
  11. a government-owned business entity (except for businesses owned or controlled by a Native American tribe);
  12. a business primarily engaged in political or lobbying activities;
  13. a business that manufactures or sells at wholesale, tobacco products, liquor or that manufactures or sells firearms at wholesale or retail;
  14. a night club or strip club;
  15. a pawn shop;
  16. a liquor store;
  17. an establishment similar to any enumerated above; or
  18. a business in which a majority owner has a financial or familial connection to a director, principal shareholder or leadership member of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity or Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s partner under the program.
  19. a business primarily engaged in administration of COVID-19 tests or COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Press release Thursday, November 16, 2023

CHICAGO — Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) today announced $25 million in available grant funding through the Back to Business (B2B) NewBiz program. Following state recovery programming for businesses totaling $1.5 billion, the latest American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)-funded opportunity is designed to provide additional support for businesses in hard-hit sectors who launched during the pandemic. Businesses that launched in 2020 or 2021 and remain in operation have faced significant impacts during the pandemic, but they have not been eligible for other federal or state relief programming since they were not operational prior to the pandemic.

To provide hands-on support and raise awareness about the program, the State has mobilized a network of nearly 100 community navigators across Illinois. Applicants are encouraged to visit b2bnewbiz.com to learn more and apply.

“Small business owners contribute to our thriving state economy every day, often taking on enormous risk to do so—but no business owner could have been prepared for the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “These grants will support those who faced down unprecedented circumstances and met them with innovation and entrepreneurial spirit who may have been left behind in previous aid efforts.”

“Small businesses and entrepreneurs are the backbone of our economy, driving our state forward. B2B NewBiz grants will ensure Illinois’ newer small businesses can continue to thrive, especially those most affected during the pandemic,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “I’m proud of our hardworking small business owners for making Illinois the best place to live, work and do business.”

Applications are open from November 30 through January 11, 2024, and awards are expected to be made several weeks after the deadline date. All eligible applicants will receive a grant as long as the business meets eligibility requirements and submits proper documentation and attestations.

“Thousands of courageous entrepreneurs in Illinois launched businesses in the height of the pandemic,” said DCEO Director Kristin Richards. “B2B NewBiz makes funding available to new small business owners who were ineligible for pandemic relief based on their start date and supports small businesses across the state that are the heart of our economy.”

DCEO has enlisted a robust network of nearly 100 community navigators to conduct outreach and provide technical assistance in the hardest hit communities. Community navigators will be conducting outreach, hosting webinars, and supporting prospective applicants to prepare before the application opens on November 30. This is in addition to available small business support available through Illinois’ network of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs).

In order to manage a high volume of applications in a timely manner, DCEO has enlisted a program administrator – Lendistry – to support with application review, provide technical portal support for applicants, manage the development of the application portal and provide support in processing payments.

“We’re proud to partner with DCEO and the state of Illinois to help small business owners who were brave enough to open up shop in the middle of the biggest disruption our generation has seen,” said Lendistry CEO Everett K. Sands. “Opening up while also taking on extra expenses to keep customers and staff safe was costly in many ways. My team and I applaud those entrepreneurs for supporting their communities and are proud to deliver the support needed to help them reach sustainable revenues and grow.”

Eligibility, Application, and Awards

To qualify for the B2B NewBiz program, businesses must have launched between January 2020 and December 2021 and be in an industry that was particularly impacted by the pandemic (As outlined here), or a business that was started by an individual or individuals that became unemployed during the pandemic. Eligible funding amounts are based on when the business was established and whether the business is home-based or operating out of a “brick-and-mortar” establishment.

“Illinois’ small business community proved its resiliency during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the state of Illinois is committed to supporting entrepreneurs and businesses through their continued post-pandemic recovery efforts,” said Senate Assistant Majority Leader Dave Koehler (D-Peoria). “Through a variety of resources and programs such as B2B NewBiz, the state is spurring a positive business climate in every corner of Illinois.”

“Small businesses are the soul of Illinois, and through hard work and dedication the last few years, new small business owners contributed to Illinois’ growing economy,” said Rep. Janet Yang Rohr (D-Naperville). “The State of Illinois’ B2B NewBiz program is putting small business owners first and showing them why Illinois is the best place to do business.”

“Existing business owners and entrepreneurs weren’t the only ones who suffered during the pandemic – new business owners setting up shop across Illinois faced an uphill battle yet persevered,” said Rep. Kimberly DuBuclet (D-Chicago). “The B2B NewBiz program is supporting Illinois’ resilient small business community while bolstering the economy through continued job creation.”

 Since the onset of the pandemic, DCEO has allocated $1.5 billion in pandemic-related support for businesses, including $693 million through B2B and BIG, $899 million in Child Care Restoration Grants (administered in partnership with DHS), $18.5 million in local CURE funding specifically allocated to businesses, $14 million in Emergency Hospitality Grants, and $3.5 million in BIG agriculture grants.