Cook County Unveils Historic $37 Million Investment to Support Small Businesses
CHICAGO — (May 6, 2022) Today Cook County unveiled its historic investment to support local small business resiliency and growth.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle shared details today about a $37 Million investment to support a network of over 30 business support organizations and forthcoming small business grants at Cook County’s Small Business Source Launch Event. The event was a part of the County’s celebration of National Small Business Week.
President Preckwinkle, County Board Commissioners, small business owners and community-based experts gathered for a press conference and roundtable discussion to inform the Cook County small business community of new and enhanced resources for businesses to overcome the challenges caused by the pandemic and establish long-term strategies and practices.
“Our American Rescue Plan Act investment in small businesses through the Cook County Small Business Source will be groundbreaking and transformative to local businesses, the backbone of our communities,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “The Source, as we call it, will help small businesses access the funding and services they need to continue to weather the ongoing storms of COVID-19. We’re aiming to help these businesses establish long-term infrastructure to thrive and build community wealth over time.”
This announcement parallels the unveiling of a new name and brand for the County’s small business initiative. The Cook County COVID-19 Recovery Small Business Assistance Program is now the Cook County Small Business Source — a name reflective of the County’s continued commitment to the small business community in response to the pandemic and beyond. The new brand includes an updated and resourceful website at www.cookcountysmallbiz.org.
To date, Cook County’s Small Business assistance has directly served over 2,500 small businesses through grants and/or one-on-one, no-cost business advising, and has supported over 10,000 small businesses with additional types of assistance, such as grant application assistance, access to online toolkits and checklists and small group webinars.
“We can state with confidence that our program reached business owners and communities hardest hit by COVID. This is evidenced by the fact that 66% of participants are members of Black, Brown, Indigenous Nation, or Asian American communities and 55% of are women entrepreneurs,” said Xochitl Flores, Bureau Chief of Economic Development for Cook County.
The Cook County Small Business Source is comprised of founding organizations such as Allies for Community Business, Berwyn Development Corporation, Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council, Chicago TREND, Chicago Urban League, Cook County Black Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Restaurant Association, The Joseph Center, Next Street, Southland Development Authority and Women’s Business Development Center.
The Cook County Small Business Source also is committed to continuing to partner with funding and advocacy organizations such as The Chicago Community Trust, Fifth Third Bank, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, MacArthur Foundation, Polk Bros Foundation, Robert R. McCormick Foundation and the State of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
To learn more about the Cook County Small Business Source, visit www.cookcountysmallbiz.org.