Cook County Announces $71 Millon Source Grow Grant Program to Help Historically Excluded Small Businesses in Pandemic Recovery
Applications for $10,000 Grants to Open on October 3
CHICAGO—Today the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development announced the launch of the Source Grow Grant through the Cook County Small Business Source, a program that strives to support, grow and elevate small businesses as the backbone of Cook County’s economy. The Source Grow Grant program will award $71 million in grants to thousands of small businesses beginning in 2022. Applications will open on October 3. The Source Grow Grant is made possible through funds provided by the American Rescue Plan Act.
The Source Grow Grant program, announced during Hispanic Heritage Month, will provide $10,000 in grants paired with one-on-one business advising to historically excluded businesses—including those owned by entrepreneurs of color, women, veterans, LGBQT+ and persons with a disability—to close racial wealth and opportunity gaps. The grants will prioritize businesses in sectors heavily impacted by COVID-19, including Accommodations, Hospitality, & Food Service, Arts & Entertainment, Childcare & Social Assistance, Retail Trade, and Transportation & Warehousing
“Cook County’s small businesses faced unprecedented challenges during the pandemic, and the Source Grow Grant program is key to helping them scale and thrive,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “I’m proud that this program will provide not only the funds they need but also the business coaching that is critical to sustainable growth.”
The Cook County Small Business Source provides coaching and guidance which provides one-on-one business advising through the organization’s support network of 40+ organizations, webinars and small business resources in areas such as finance and marketing, and grant application support.
“Since its launch, the Cook County Small Business Source and its programs have provided direct invaluable support to 4,800 small businesses in Chicago and Suburban Cook County,” said Xochitl Flores, Bureau Chief of Economic Development for 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.”
“I am delighted to see the County’s significant and continued commitment to supporting the resiliency of small businesses, particularly those owned by historically excluded populations,“ said Cook County Commissioner Alma Anaya.
“These grants represent a great step forward for Cook County's small businesses," said Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison. “The Source Grow Grant will go directly towards reducing the racial wealth gap and moving us towards the equity goals we strive for. I’m so proud of the work being done at the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development.”
“I am grateful that $1 million of The Source Grow Grant has been allocated to assist veteran-owned small businesses,” said Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Tanya Anthony. “This funding is crucial to helping veterans retain and grow their business. Empowering our veterans and offering support is key to creating a better Cook County for everyone.”
“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 Alex Cabrera, Owner of Lalo’s on Maxwell, who worked with the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce through the Cook County Small Business Source program. “I’m proud to say that Cook County has helped me to do that, and I’m excited to see what the recipients of this grant achieve with this opportunity.”
The Cook County Small Business Source engages some of the region’s leading business support organizations such as Allies for Community Business, Berwyn Development Corporation, Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council, Chicago TREND, Chicago Urban League, Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Restaurant Association, The Joseph Center, Southland Development Authority and Women’s Business Development Center to serve as trusted business advisors.
The lead administrator of the Source Grow Grant is the Women’s Business Development Center. Allies for Community Business serves as a partner grant administrator.
“Across the nation, local governments are stepping up to meet the needs of entrepreneurs and small businesses that have been historically held back. Cook County is leading the way through its Source platform, providing resources and funding opportunities that have had, and will continue to have, a sizable impact on entrepreneurs of color and women-owned businesses,” said Charisse Conanan Johnson, Next Street Managing Partner. “Next Street is proud to partner in designing and delivering the Source, helping Cook County small businesses realize their potential.”
To apply for a Source Grow Grant or learn more about upcoming webinars and help sessions, visit www.CookCountySmallBiz.org/GrowGrant.