Chicago, IL – Today the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Minority Economic Empowerment is posting two Notification of Funding Opportunities for a total of $15 million to provide minority-owned businesses with resources to help create jobs, build capacity, increase revenues, and expand regionally. The announcement marks the first time the program has been funded.
“My administration is committed to expanding opportunities for minority-owned businesses, especially as an important way to help underserved communities grow,” said Governor Pritzker. “This funding will help businesses overcome one of their key obstacles – access to capital – and will help businesses across the state grow.”
“A key component of our mission at DCEO is to ensure minority enterprises have an equal opportunity to grow their businesses and succeed,” said DCEO Acting Director Erin Guthrie. “We are excited about the opportunity to provide the assistance these businesses need to bolster their economic impact in communities most in need.”
$10 million in funding is open to minority-owned businesses located in underserved populations. Eligible applicants include minority- owned businesses using the federal definition of minority owned firms (at least 51% of the firm is directly and unconditionally owned by one or more members of a minority group), start-ups or established businesses requiring public infrastructure improvements. $5 million in funding is available for incubators who serve or would like to serve minority-owned businesses.
The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will offer informational workshops across the state for businesses and incubators seeking additional details about the grants. Sessions will be held in various neighborhoods including Pilsen, Little Village, Metro East, Southland, Decatur, Westside, West Suburbs, and Rockford. Interested applicants can also stop by one of the small business development centers located across Illinois. The application process is competitive and not all businesses or incubators will receive funding. Interested parties can go to https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/AboutDCEO/Pages/2019_OMEE_NOFO.aspx to learn more about the application process and upcoming workshops.