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$10,000 Grants Available For Skokie Small Business Owners

SKOKIEIL — Small business owners in Cook County have until the end of the month to apply for $10,000 grants through the Source Grow Grant program.

The million program is funded by federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act, according to the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development.

More than 2,500 qualifying businesses with 20 or fewer employees who apply for grants this month will be able to receive payments early next year.

To be eligible, Skokie businesses must be for-profit, been in operation since before March 2020 and experienced some financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Religious, political, tobacco, liquor, firearm, cannabis, landlords and government-owned enterprises are not eligible, according to county officials.

The grants are paired with one-on-one business coaching through the county’s support network of more than 40 organizations to advise small business owners.

Skokie small business owners can apply or learn more about the program online.

All businesses that meet the eligibility criteria will be considered, according to county representatives.

“We expect demand to exceed funds available and have prioritized the following groups,” according to the website.

“The Source Grow Grant is prioritizing four business owner characteristics: 1) historically excluded businesses – those owned by Black-, Latino(a)-, other people of color-, Women-, LGBQT+, Veterans-, and Persons with a Disability 2 ) businesses in Suburban Cook County, 3) businesses in the hardest hit sectors 4) and microbusinesses with fewer than 10 employees.”

County officials define the “hardest hit sectors” as retail, hospitality, food, arts, childcare and transportation.

Xochitl Flores, chief of the county’s economic development bureau, said in a statement last month the “Small Business Source” programs have provided support to 4,800 small businesses in Chicago and suburban Cook County.

“I am thrilled that we are able to expand this program at such a critical time in our county’s post-COVID recovery and give small business owners valuable support,” Flores said.

The Source Grow Grant program is administered by the Women’s Business Development Center in Chicago, with Allies for Community Business acting as a partner grant administrator, according to county officials.

“There are so many small business owners here in Cook County who have the skills, the talent and the drive — they just need support, access to capital and coaching to make their vision a reality,” said restauranteur Alex Cabrera, owner of Lalo’s on Maxwell in Chicago, one of the business owners who received assistance through the county Small Business Source program.

“I’m proud to say that Cook County has helped me to do that,” Cabrera said, “and I’m excited to see what the recipients of this grant achieve with this opportunity.”

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