CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — People who need help filling out applications for Back-to-Business grants (B2B) can now come to office hours at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to ask for assistance, according to State Senator Scott Bennett.

“The B2B grant program is essential for our small business community, who have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bennett said. “The Champaign Small Business Development Center and I are committed to helping these businesses get back on track—if you have questions about the application process, stop by our open office hours to get the assistance you need.”

Officials said the B2B program will give eligible small businesses one-time grants of up to $150,000 to cover operation costs, staff payroll and other expenses in an effort to make up for losses sustained due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bennett and the SBDC will be available to answer questions, provide technical assistance, scan required documents and more at the SBDC office that is located on South Neil Street.

According to officials, office hours are available on the following dates:
– Thursday, September 16 from 8 to 10 a.m.
– Friday, September 17 from 2 to 4 p.m.
– Monday, September 20 from 3 to 5 p.m.
– Wednesday, September 29 from 3 to 5 p.m.

These services will also be available at the business center of the Champaign Public Library on West Green Street from September 22 to September 28. It offers walk-in working space, seminars, meeting rooms, and other resources for current and prospective business owners.

“We’re grateful for the launch of the Back-to-Business Grant program, a crucial investment by the state of Illinois to support small businesses and accelerate business recovery to rebuild our economy post-pandemic,” said the Executive Director of the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation Carly McCrory-McKay. “As one of thirteen Community Navigator hubs across the state of Illinois, we’ve been working to provide technical assistance to businesses in the application process. We’re thankful for State Senator Scott Bennett’s partnership with us to host these open office hours as we work to expand outreach and ensure eligible small businesses and non-profits apply for this grant.” 

Anyone interested can apply for the B2B program online. Please call Bennett’s Champaign office at 217-355-5252 for more information.