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The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) are establishing the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund to offer small businesses low interest loans of up to $50,000.

Businesses located outside of the City of Chicago with fewer than 50 workers and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 will be eligible to apply.  Successful applicants will pay nothing for six months and will then begin making fixed payments at a below market interest rate for the remainder of a five-year loan term.

Loan funds must be used for working capital, and at least 50% of loans proceeds must be applied toward payroll or other eligible compensation including salaries, wages, tips, paid leave, and group healthcare benefits. Eligible uses will exclude compensation in excess of $100,000.

Loan Guidelines

  • Term and Interest Rate: Emergency Loan offered as five-year term loan at 3% annual interest, simple. Payments are deferred for six months, and fixed principal and interest payments will be due after initial deferral. Loan may be repaid early without penalty.
  • Loan Amount: Borrowers may receive up to $50,000, with borrower loan amounts determined by average monthly revenues prior to COVID-19.
  • Loan Uses: Loan funds must be used for working capital, and at least 50% of loan proceeds must be applied toward payroll or other eligible compensation, with a commitment to hire or retain at least 50% of a business workforce for six months.

Borrower Eligibility

  • Businesses must have received less than $3 million in gross revenue in 2019 and employ fewer than 50 employees. Employee threshold will be based on average employment over the period of October 2019 to December 2019. Seasonal businesses may base employment on average from January 2019 to December 2019.
  • Business has experienced at least a 25% decrease in revenues as a result of COVID-19.
  • Business must be located in Illinois and provide proof of an Illinois business address and valid business license from an Illinois jurisdiction. Business have been in operations for at least one year.
  • Please ensure ability to provide bank statements dating back to October 2019 and most recent tax returns.
  • At this time, non-profits and farm business that would traditionally qualify under the USDA’s farm loan program are not eligible.

How to Apply 

DCEO is partnering with multiple lenders to provide access to the Small Business Emergency Loan Fund in your area.

To manage capacity of available lenders the State recommends reaching out to lenders based on your location within Illinois:

  • For businesses located north of I-74, Accion Serving Illinois and Indiana is the lending partner in your area. You can initiate an application with Accion here.
  • For businesses located south of I-74, Justine Petersen is the lending partner in your area. You can initiate an application by reaching out to Galen Gondolfi for more information at 314.565.2223.

The State expects high demand for this program, and once submitted, it will take time to process your application and receive a response. Lenders are reviewing applications as quickly as possible, and the State is working to add additional lenders to the program. Please continue to check the DCEO website for an up-to-date listing of lenders and available programs.

If you have questions about this program, please contact Shareholder, Mark D. Belongia, or the Johnson & Bell Attorney with whom you regularly work. Also, check out The Docket, a compilation of developments about the courts in Illinois and Indiana, initiatives aimed at helping business and the economy, and general news of interest to our clients and friends of the firm.