NAWBO Chicago COVID-19 Business Resources | NAWBO

At NAWBO Chicago, we have been working around the clock to stay on top of the latest Coronavirus (COVID-19) developments, recommendations and resources and to develop a plan that will support you and keep you connected during this challenging time. We are gathering resources from our partners and other trusted organizations to help you navigate the changing business world. We will continue to update this page, along with our member programming as more information becomes available.

Financial and Banking Resources

Small Business Funding

SBA COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan
On March 19th the U.S. Small Business Administration approved Governor Pritzker's application for an economic injury declaration due to the coronavirus. Now small businesses across the state of Illinois are eligible to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) through the SBA. In addition, please visit for detailed information regarding the program.

  • To apply, log onto the SBA Disaster Loan Assistance application page. If you do not already have a login, you can register to create an account. You will then be directed to the required application form.
  • In addition to the application form, be prepared to submit: a completed and signed
  • Tax Information Authorization (IRS Form 4506T); complete copies of the most recent Federal income tax returns for the applicant business; completed and signed Personal Financial Statement (SBA Form 413) and a Schedule of Liabilities listing all fixed debts (SBA Form 2202).
  • EIDL's offer up to $2 million in assistance per small business.
  • EIDL's may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact.
  • The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. 
  • SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay. 

Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund
On March 19th, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the launch of the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund. This is a new $100 million economic relief package to support Chicago’s small businesses that are experiencing a temporary loss of revenue as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. SomerCor is proud to partner with the City of Chicago in administering the Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) and Neighborhood Opportunity Fund (NOF) grants. If your business has been negatively impacted by COVID-19 outbreak, click here to learn more. Official application for the fund will start on March 31st.

LISC-State Farm Small Business Relief Loan Program
LISC and State Farm today announced that LISC has received a $10 million low-interest loan through State Farm’s Good Neighbor Relief response to COVID-19 to help Chicago and Central Illinois small business owners and nonprofit organizations work through the economic fallout from the pandemic. With the loan, LISC will establish a Small Business Rescue Fund to distribute loans to small businesses and nonprofit social enterprises for urgent needs, including operational costs like paying employees, vendors and rent. For more information please visit this flyer or fill out this questionnaire to determine eligibility. 

Grant Opportunities

Illinois Hospitality Emergency Grant Program
A grant is now available for Illinois restaurants and bars with 2019 revenues under $1 million, and hotels with under $8 million in 2019 revenue. The grant covers expenses on working capital (like payroll and rent), job training, and technology to support change in operations. Selection is based on a lottery system, with more spots available for businesses that use grant on new technology or equipment. Applications are due on April 1, 2020.

Facebook Small Business Grants
We know that your business may be experiencing disruptions resulting from the global outbreak of COVID-19. We've heard that a little financial support can go a long way, so we are offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits to help during this challenging time.
Timeframe: Opens | Apr. 20, 2020, 10:00 AM (EDT); Deadline | May 6, 2020 11:59 PM (EDT)
Amount: Offering a $4000 grant for the recipients in the US; $2500 cash, and $1500 in optional ads credits

Salesforce Care Small Business Grants
As part of Salesforce’s commitment to small businesses and giving back to the community, Salesforce is partnering with Ureeka to offer eligible small businesses the opportunity to receive a $10,000 grant to help them through the COVID-19 outbreak.

The grant is intended for For Profit businesses with annual sales of $250k to $2M with 2-50 employees. Non Profits and entities that received PPP funding are not eligible.  Please click here for a FAQ’s and the application details. 

Chicago Microbusiness Recovery Grant Program
Announced on April 28, the Chicago Microbusiness Recovery Grant Program will provide $5 million in grants to businesses with four or fewer employees in low- and moderate-income areas of the city. Grants of $5,000 will be disbursed via a lottery, with winners equitably distributed across eligible Community Areas based on population. Applications are available now and will be open until Monday, May 4th at 5:00 pm.
Business Affairs and Consumer Protection will be holding a series of webinars in multiple languages this week to inform prospective applicants about the Recovery Grant program and to answer questions. To register, please visit

Partner Resources

HR and Employee Resources

Business Owners

COVID-19 and Unemployment Benefits
Unemployment benefits may be available to some individuals whose unemployment is attributable to COVID-19. IDES recently adopted emergency rules to try to make the unemployment insurance system as responsive to the current situation as possible.

COVID-19 Guidance for Employer
As the coronavirus outbreak spreads around the world, employers must respond in rapid fashion and face a series of questions regarding the impact the virus will have on the workplace.

City of Chicago Business Affairs and Consumer Protection
To assist businesses, consumers and employees during this difficult time, the City of Chicago’s Business Affairs and Consumer Protection has created a dedicated resources page. Please visit this page for updated information on the available resources and steps the City is taking to support business owners. 

University of Chicago Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation -  Small Business Resource Guide
Our hearts go out to you, your families, and all of our communities during this uncertain time. While this is a challenging, scary situation for everyone, we know that it is especially difficult for those, like so many of you, who are working to build a new business or keep a small, local business afloat. Now and always, you are our greatest inspiration. Below, please find a list of resources for small businesses during this difficult time.


Independent Contractor Resources
The State of Illinois just released new guidance for unemployment benefits for independent contractors. The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) recommends ALL unemployed individuals to apply for benefits immediately, regardless of what type of worker you are.

Independent contractors, self-employed individuals, sole proprietors and 1099 workers are now eligible for up to 39 weeks of benefits under the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program in the CARES Act. However, IDES emphasized that, to qualify for PUA unemployment, an individual must first be denied traditional unemployment benefits. The denial letter will be the basis for approval under their subsequent PUA application. For more information, visit the IDES website. Here are FAQs.

Bartender Emergency Assistance Program
The USBG National Charity Foundation offers a Bartender Emergency Assistance Program.  If you believe you meet the Selection Criteria and Eligibility Requirements, fill out the online application and make sure to include the required supporting documents.

Chicago Emergency Rental Assistance
The City of Chicago Department of Family & Support Services offers an Emergency Rental Assistance program that is available for people suffering financial hardship due to a crisis such as loss of job, home fire or illness.  The program is intended to allow families to maintain housing during the time it takes to regain stability.  

Federal Housing Finance Agency
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) and the Federal Home Loan Banks are taking steps to help people who have been impacted by the coronavirus.  If your ability to pay your mortgage is impacted, and your loan is owned by Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac, you may be eligible to delay making monthly mortgage payments for a temporary period.  

One Fair Wage
One Fair Wage has set up an emergency coronavirus tipped and service worker support fund.  Cash assistance is being provided to restaurant workers, car service drivers, delivery workers, personal service workers, and more. 

Re-Opening Your Business

Re-Opening Your Business Guide from the CDC
During an infectious disease outbreak, such as the current outbreak of COVID-19, small business owners must prepare for disruption in their business as well as prepare to protect their employees’ health and safety in the workplace.

Illinois Required Notice for Posting
Pursuant to Executive Order 2020-32 (Stay at Home Order), your employer must comply, to the greatest extent feasible, with social distancing requirements.

Related Posts

Communication Is Everything
September 15, 2021

Communicating internally with employees and externally with customers and vendors has always been...

Upcoming NAWBO Events
September 13, 2021

knoodle PR Director Katy Hansen interviews gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake in first program....

Upcoming NAWBO Events
August 20, 2021

President, Rosaria Cain     As we emerge from 2020 with a vaccine and a new way of looking at...

Caring For You Is Caring For Your...
August 18, 2021

Entrepreneurship has so many positives—your time is yours to control, you are building something...

NAWBO National Commends U.S. Senate...
July 27, 2021

NAWBO National looks forward to continuing work with SBA on behalf of women business owners....

Quality vs. Quantity in the Art of...
July 21, 2021

Scaling a business is a delicate art. As entrepreneurs, most all of us want our businesses to grow...

A Message from Our President: Quality...
July 07, 2021

During COVID, I did something a little crazy. As the pandemic was in full swing and my business...

A Message From Our President: #...
July 02, 2021

It’s June, which means summer is finally here! I don’t know about you, but I’m happy to finally...

Rooted in Advocacy
June 16, 2021

  There’s a time and place for everything, and for our #NAWBOVoice that speaks out for not only...

Leading the Way: The Ultimate Test
May 19, 2021

Whether you manage a team of two or 200, this prolonged pandemic has no doubt been the ultimate...

A Message from Our President: Leading...
May 03, 2021

Welcome to May! With spring in bloom and vaccination distribution well underway, we are beginning...

Minding the Rules
April 21, 2021

Compliance is a catch-all term for how well you mind the rules—the laws and regulations governing...

A Message From Our President: Minding...
April 07, 2021

Happy April! With some doses of warmer weather and stretches with real sunshine, I hope you are...

A Message from Our President: People...
March 31, 2021

Happy March! We are so excited (and relieved) that Spring is finally upon us! The theme this month...

Our Most Important Asset: Our People
March 17, 2021

At NAWBO, we know our most important asset is our people—the amazingly talented and diverse women...

Think Inclusive from the Start
February 17, 2021

The positive impacts of diversity and inclusion (D&I) are clear and run deep. In fact, we’ve...

A Message from Our President: Think...
February 03, 2021

If January wasn’t the “Fresh Start” to 2021 you were expecting, that’s okay! The beauty of fresh...

Member Spotlight: Ashley Logan
February 03, 2021

ASHLEY LOGAN Founder & CEO, Yakkety Yak   When Ashley Logan started in content marketing in...

A Message From Our President: Fresh...
February 02, 2021

Happy New Year! We can’t believe it’s already 2021, but we’re so glad to leave 2020 behind. Our...

Here’s to Fresh Starts!
January 20, 2021

“I want every day to be a fresh start on expanding what is possible.”  ―Oprah Winfrey   There’s...