Return to Business Grant program expected to provide funding to minority-owned businesses hit hard by pandemic – CBS Chicago


CHICAGO (CBS) – A new fundraiser has been made available to minority-owned businesses that have been hit hard throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

As CBS 2’s Tara Molina reported on Wednesday, the focus is on equity for minority-owned businesses and especially Latin American businesses for a reason. City, state and federal leaders explained that due to language barriers, concerns about immigration status and other issues, access to help for businesses affected by the pandemic has not been accessed. equal across the state – and that’s why this program is in place.

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Café Colao at 2638 W. Division St. is a little corner of Puerto Rico in Humboldt Park.

“We focus on our Puerto Rican pastries,” owner Wanda Colon said.

At the cafe, Colon served a community she chose to invest in almost 20 years ago.

“I have been in this community my whole life,” Colon said.

But like small businesses around the world, the longtime neighborhood favorite has been hit hard during the pandemic.

“I am very grateful to the residents of this area who kept us alive,” Colon said.

They were one of the companies visited by state and local leaders on Wednesday as part of a canvassing effort – covering more than 100 neighborhoods across the state – to publicize the Back to Business grant program.

This is a brand new stimulus effort for small business owners across the state, with a focus on underserved businesses, including minority, rural, veteran and women-owned businesses.

“We know that many of them have not asked for this help,” said US Representative Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Illinois).

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Garcia said grants ranging from $ 5,000 to over $ 100,000 will be awarded through Back to Business, with help available in different languages.

“We want the vitality and prosperity that these companies and their employees bring to our communities,” he said,

Eligible business owners can apply for grants regardless of their immigration status.

“I think this grant is incredibly important – especially for underserved communities, like this community,” Colon said.

A community with businesses like Café Colao and its neighbors – slices of a different culture, past, and history – is indeed part of what makes Chicago worth the investment.

Late Wednesday, it was not clear exactly when the grants will be awarded, but Molina learns, once again, that there is $ 250 million in grants available to local and state-owned businesses.

For more information on the program and how to apply, follow this link.

CBS 2 is committed to Work for Chicago, putting you in touch every day with information that you or a loved one might need in the labor market and helps you remove obstacles to your return to work.

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We will continue to uncover information every day to help this community get back to work, until the jobs crisis passes. CBS 2 has several useful items here on our website, including an overview of specific companies that are hiring and information from the state on how best to file for unemployment benefits while waiting.

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