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1,200 businesses receive more than $16.5M in total assistance from Lake County program

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Feb 12, 2021

When the Lake County Board received more than $100 million in funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act in July, they created several programs to help county residents in crisis. The Lake County Small Business Assistance Grant Program was among them and aimed to cover up to four months of occupancy costs, including rent, mortgage and utilities. When the application window opened for only two weeks in July, the Small Business Development & International Trade Center (SBDC/ITC) at College of Lake County (CLC) stepped up to help business owners navigate and complete the application process. 

SBDC Logo“The CLC team provided exceptional customer service by demonstrating compassion as they helped many of these businesses apply for the county resources,” said Vice President of Community and Workforce Partnerships at CLC Dr. Ali O’Brien. “We also now have more data and evidence of where there is need, where resources were not leveraged to the full extent and how we can help fill those gaps moving forward.” 

Nearly 2,000 applications came in from across Lake County of which approximately 1,200 were approved for grants equal to 4.5 times of the applicant’s monthly rent. A report assembled by Lake County Partners shows about half of the grants were given to businesses which have been around for at least ten years. It also reports around 600 of the recipients had annual sales under $250,000. This demonstrates the program met its goal of getting assistance into the hands of those small business owners who help drive Lake County’s economy. Those aren’t the only statistics to come out of the report which local leaders are interested in. 

“We also saw woman and minority owned businesses well represented with 46 percent and 31 percent respectively receiving grants,” said Director of the SBDC/ITC Mitch Bienvenue. “This exceeded the program’s goal of 10 percent for each category.” 

While the grant program is not currently accepting additional applications, the SBDC/ITC is continuing its mission to assist local business owners and prospective entrepreneurs. Among its many available resources is a monthly, no-cost one-hour workshop devoted to starting a business in Illinois. Learn more about all the SBDC/ITC offers here. 

About College of Lake County: 

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. The College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.