Frequently asked questions

How much is the pool of funding for this program?

The pool of funding for this grant program is $12.6M.

Do businesses located in Chicago qualify for the grant?

No. Grants are allocated to businesses located in Cook County outside of Chicago.

Do businesses in all industries qualify?

  • No. Businesses that are not eligible include, but may not be limited to:
      • Branch banks
      • Pay day loan stores
      • Pawn shops
      • Astrology, palm reading
      • Liquor stores, night clubs
      • Adult bookstores, massage parlors, strip clubs
      • Track waging facilities
      • Trailer-storage yards
      • Junk yards
      • Marijuana dispensaries
      • Any uses similar to those listed above[PA1]

Who is the primary point of contact for questions regarding the program?

This webpage is the central point of contact for all questions related to the program. If business owners are interested in applying, they should submit the Get Matched form here to be connected to a Business Support Organization (BSO) to apply. The BSO can help answer questions related to eligibility and the application process.

I received funding from the federal COVID-19 assistance programs (PPP or EIDL) but they do not adequately cover my business. Can I still apply for funding through this program?

You may be eligible, depending on what you plan to use the Recovery Grant for versus your intended use of PPP or EIDL funding. You cannot receive government funding for the same expense multiple times. Therefore, if you received funding from a program like PPP for a specific expense, then you are not eligible to receive Recovery Grant funding from the Small Business Assistance Program for those same expenses.

Will all eligible applicants receive grant dollars?

No. Businesses will be scored using additional criteria and enter a lottery program if they exceed expected score thresholds.

When should grant recipients expect to be notified of their grant award?

Given the robust process of reviewing applications, we aim to notify grant recipients no later than October 27th, with cash disbursement occurring two weeks post notification.

If a business does not qualify for the grant, are there any other resources or referrals that will be made to help that business?

Our intention is to help businesses through this tough period. If a business is not funded through the program, the business should maintain a relationship with the BSO provider, who should be able to provide technical assistance on general operating matters. There is a small business resource guide with resources for businesses here.

Who is eligible for Cook County Recovery Grants?

  • Businesses located in municipalities within suburban Cook County
  • Businesses with 20 or fewer employees
  • Sales reduced (>20%) by COVID-19 in any month from March-July vs. February 2020
  • Businesses who have not received federal funding in the past, or businesses that have received federal funding and intend to use the Cook County Recovery Grant for expenses different than what federal funding was used for
  • For-profit small businesses only are eligible (non-profit organizations are not eligible)
  • May not have an IRS tax lien or other judgment(s) against it and the business owners or partners may not be currently undergoing bankruptcy proceedings

What can I use the funding for?

The grant may be used for payroll, operating expenses, lease or rent payments, modifications that are required for complying with reopening guidelines, and inventory acquisition vital to the business. Funds cannot be used for capital improvements, taxes, or personal expenses.

Does the grant application approval process involve a credit check or personal guarantee requirement?


How do I demonstrate that I've lost at least 20 percent of revenue in any month since February 2020?

This can be shown by comparing February revenue with revenue of the following months March, April, May, June, or July 2020. If you’ve lost more than 20% in any one month since February 2020, you meet that qualification criteria. On the application, you will enter in your revenue for February – July and the application will do the math for you.

What documentation do I need to submit with my grant application?

  • 2019 or latest business tax return.
  • Signed W9.
  • Bank statement from 2020.
  • Photo copy of a valid ID card (Driver’s License, State ID, Passport or Consular ID card are acceptable).

Can business owners with a felony record participate?


Are sole proprietors eligible?


Can nonprofits apply?

No, our programs are exclusively intended to support for-profit businesses.

Can for-profit businesses owned by a non-profit organization apply?

For-profit businesses owned by non-profits organizations are eligible, as long as they meet all other requirements. The application must be made through the for-profit business, and not the non-profit parent company.

How and when can I apply?

  • Click here to apply for the Business Advising program, and here to apply for the Recovery Grant program.
  • The Cook County COVID-19 Recover Small Business Assistance program will open on September 16, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. CST. Applications will be accepted until October 6th, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. CST (subject to change).

When will I receive Business Advising support?

All small businesses can receive support right away through our weekly webinars. Webinar participants will also receive self-guided resources to help with their recovery. In addition to weekly webinars, there will be one-on-one Business Advising consultations available to qualified applicants:

For Cook County Recovery Grant applicants, you will be contacted within seven days to provide any assistance needed with application. If you are ultimately awarded the grant, you will be required to have a follow up one-on-one Business Advising consultation prior to December, 30 2020.

For Cook County/Chicago Business Advising program participants, the first one-on-one Business Advising consultations will take place after the application period has closed on October 6th, 2020 at 5:00p.m. CST (subject to change).

How will one-on-one business advising work?

If you are deemed eligible for the one-on-one business advising work, a BSO will reach out to you within a week of your application to make sure your application is complete and that you have access to key resources, such as webinars and handouts. Following the three-week intake period, a BSO will reach out to set up time with you for a one-on-one meeting to begin your full consulting program.

How are Cook County Recovery Grants different from the Cook County Community Recovery Loan Fund?

  • Community Recovery Loan Fund offers a one-time, zero-interest loan of up to $20,000 for small businesses and up to $10,000 for independent contractors in suburban Cook County.
  • Cook County Recovery COVID-19 Small Business Assistance program offers $10,000 to small businesses with 20 employees or less. Grant recipients will work with our network of providers to receive strategic guidance and business advising to enhance operations.

Can I receive funding from both the Cook County COVID-19 Recovery Small Business Assistance program and the Cook County Community Recovery Loan Fund?

  • Yes, but you must use the Cook County Recovery Grant for expenses different than what Cook County Recovery Loan funding was used for. This is also true for any other state or federal funding originating through the CARES Act that you may have received through PPP, EIDL, or otherwise.

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White LinkedIn Icon
  • White YouTube Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White Pinterest Icon
  • Instagram - White Circle