Help for Small Businesses

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Cook County Government - Toni Preckwinkle - Cook County Board President

Bureau of Economic Development | June 5, 2020


President Preckwinkle visits with small businesses on 47th Street in Chicago


President Preckwinkle at Press Conference

On June 4, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was joined by Cook County Board Commissioner Bill Lowry, 3rd District; the American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC), as well as representatives from community organizations that have been leading recovery and cleanup efforts and affected small business owners themselves.

During the press conference, which took place outside of Vic Mensa's SaveMoneySaveLife Foundation, President Preckwinkle acknowledged the grief and anger felt across the country following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, stating "The murder of George Floyd was the tinder that ignited our country, already stretched thin by the COVID-19 pandemic." She went on calling for calm and collaboration following the vandalization and destruction of local community businesses and institutions. 

With hundreds of businesses impacted during the recent civil unrest, thousands of people are working to help clean up and repair the devastating damage.  The President amplified the impact these events are having across the nation while encouraging people to go into the weekend with a calmer and peaceful approach to protest. 

American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC) Executive Director Rebecca Shi shared remarks highlighting the debt that many Asian Americans owe to the Black community for expanding civil rights and protections for all marginalized communities in the U.S., including her own family, stating, "My ma lived 19 years in fear of the police and in fear of being separated from our family. In 1984, Mayor Harold Washington put his full support behind a Puerto Rican cab driver named Luis Gutierrez, who later became a Congressman and stopped my mother's deportations. Today under the terror regime of Trump, my ma is a U.S. citizen thanks to the first Black mayor of Chicago."   In the weeks ahead, the County will continue efforts assessing the damage and creating a plan to assist with the repair of the many communities and businesses impacted by both the COVID-19 and civil unrest public health crisis.

To learn more about the American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC) go to their website. Find out more about the SaveMoneySaveLife Foundation by going to their website. View the entire press conference on Facebook.

Resources for Small Businesses

If you are a small business in need of assistance, please reference the resources and information below: 

  • For the latest Cook County recovery initiatives, visit the Cook County COVID-19 Community Recovery Initiative page here.
  • If you are a Chicago small business looking for assistance, please share your needs via email with the City at
  • For available assistance for Little Village businesses, visit the Little Village Chamber of Commerce page here
  • Available assistance for Chinatown businesses, visit the Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce page here
  • For available assistance for Illinois restaurants, visit the Illinois Restaurant Association page here.
  • For available assistance for Englewood businesses, visit the Greater Englewood Chamber of Commerce page here.

The Community Recovery Fund application 

Cook County’s Bureau of Economic Development will post the application for the Community Recovery Fund the week of June 8th, as part of the Community Recovery Initiative. This loan fund offers one-time, zero-interest loans of up to $20,000 for small businesses and up to $10,000 for independent contractors in suburban Cook County. Businesses must be located in suburban Cook County. 

Please bookmark for the latest information.

Return to Work Resources

The Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) has a variety of resources for manufacturers to utilize: 

Coronavirus Return To Work Guidelines from Paycor.

The Management Center has published guidelines to guide states as they are lifting restrictions. For questions leaders should ask themselves to prepare for reopening, check out Checklists for Reopening Business After COVID-19

Save the date - upcoming webinars

We are planning our next webinars on issues of interest to the small business community.  Once the details are finalized, you will be able to sign up on our website:

  • Thursday, June 11, 10 am CDT - Safe to reopen: Proper Disinfecting and Instilling Confidence
  • Tuesday, June 16, 2 pm CDT - Prepare to Reopen: Staffing and Returning to Work Issues

We will post other webinar opportunities on our website once they are finalized.

Phase Three - Restore Illinois

Last week, Governor Pritzker announced Phase Three of Restore Illinois.  We understand the events of the past several days may have impacted some businesses in ways that were not clearly visible when this plan was released.  However, we want you to have this information, so you are able to reach out to the State of Illinois programs, directly.  View letter from State of Illinois.  

In Case You Missed It

  • Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was joined by Governor JB Pritzker, Cardinal Blase Cupich, Jahmal Cole of My Block, My Hood, My City, Princess Shaw, a North Lawndale community activist and other faith based community leaders to discuss the recent unrest locally and nationally.  Watch the video of the press conference on Facebook.
  • A "shout out" for our Department of Building and Zoning worked remotely due to the Stay at Home Order, yet increased the number of inspections from last year:
    Total number of inspections performed from 3/17/2019-5/20/2019 3,608
    Total number of inspections performed from 3/17/2020-5/20/2020 4,240
  • The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has increased the demand for household cleaning items, including disinfecting wipes, paper towels and toilet paper. As a result, people have turned to alternatives such as so-called "flushable" wipes and other paper products. This can lead to clogged pipes at homes and in smaller sewer systems. In this educational video titled "No Wipes Down the Pipes!," Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago President Kari K. Steele demonstrates how various products do not break down or dissolve sufficiently in water, and as a result, those materials can clog pipes in homes and cause sewer backups.  View "No Wipes Down the Pipes"

COVID-19 Resources

Cook County's Response and Resources

Cook County Department of Public Health

Illinois COVID-19 Resources

Chicago COVID-19 Resources

Centers for Disease Control

Cook County Community Recovery Initiative

City Bureau COVID Resource Finder


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