CHICAGO (CBS) — Debating the fairness of the state’s $580 million Business Interruption Grant program. It’s designed to help small businesses struggling in the pandemic. The question on the table: Is that money getting to those who need it most?
A spokesperson told a state committee on Thursday many small business owners feel let down by the BIG program.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Weekend Warmup
“Small business owners would like a seat at the table,” said Elliot Richardson of the Small Business Advisory Council. “What I can tell you is that I’ve heard countless stories, you have heard countless stories, from folks who applied for Business Interruption Grants, and they were not provided. Because only 20% of the folks that applied actually got the grants.”
The program was developed last spring by Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois General Assembly.READ MORE: Northwestern Alums Create 'The Seeker,' A Highly Accurate Football Thrower They Call A Robotic QB
$290 million went to child care providers and $290 million to other small businesses.
Grantees could use funding to help with capital expenses; including payroll, rent, and other operational costs. The state said nearly half the awards were made to small businesses in disadvantaged areas.MORE NEWS: Cariacature Artist, Substitute Teacher Says She Keeps Trying To Reach Illinois Unemployment Office -- Only To Have Calls Dropped
More than 80% of funds went to businesses with $1 million or less in annual revenues, and 40% went to businesses owned by people of color.