August 11, 2021

SIU’s Small Business Development Center offers help to businesses hurt by pandemic

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Illinois Small Business Development Center is offering workshops and other assistance to help businesses severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, connecting them to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s (DCEO) new Back to Business grant program.

SIU is hosting a series of four free introductory workshops in the next week via Zoom, including sessions Thursday and Friday, Aug. 12-13, to introduce interested businesses to the Back to Business program.

“We have seen many businesses that haven’t previously gotten to apply for many of the COVID-related business grant and loan funds due to the complexity of the programs,” said Greg Bouhl, director of Entrepreneurship and Business Development at SIU. “This additional funding and the Back to Business program will focus on helping those businesses that haven’t received funding and that are still struggling.”

All can apply

Bouhl said any business in the state is eligible and may apply for this new Back to Business grant funding but preference will go to applications from businesses that did not previously receive state COVID-relief funds, as well as those that fall within specified industries including:

  •  Hotels.
  • Restaurants and bars.
  • Arts organizations.
  • Clothing and electronics retail establishments.
  • Home health providers.
  • Child care providers.
  • Barbershops and salon services.
  • Indoor recreation facilities.
  • Gyms and fitness centers.
  • Tourism and group transportation organizations.
  • Spectator and social event support services.

Applications will open on Wednesday, Aug. 18, and grants of up to $150,000 are available. Statewide, $250 million is available to assist small businesses.

SIU will help local businesses

SIU’s Illinois Small Business Development Center has received a Community Navigator Program grant from the DCEO to help Southern Illinois businesses better access COVID-related funding programs.

The funding enabled SIU to hire additional advisers to focus exclusively on helping businesses by going into communities to deliver workshops and advise business owners which programs and grants they are eligible for and to assist in submitting applications at no cost.

The four introductory workshops, with links to access each session are:

Greater Egypt Regional Planning and Development Corporation is serving as the hub for the DCEO grant funding, with other SBDCs as recipients as well.

To learn more

For more information about how SIU’s Small Business Development Center and how its Community Navigator Program grant can assist with the Back to Business grant program or the other SBDC services and programs, visit https://sbdc.siu.edu/, call 618-536-2424 or email gbouhl@biz.siu.edu.