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A worldwide technology outage is causing disruption to some State of Illinois online systems.  We are aware of this issue and are diligently working on restoration.

2023 Small Business Community Navigator Program

The Small Business Community Navigators Program is a support program for small businesses in the State of Illinois. The program targets businesses in Illinois that are identified as underserved including minority, rural, veteran, and women-owned businesses. Underserved businesses may find resources difficult to access, or simply be unaware of the services and resources available. The Small Business Community Navigator Program is specifically targeted at alleviating these issues and reducing the barriers underserved businesses often face when trying to access relief program dollars.

The program is a hub and spoke model, bringing together community organizations from across the State of Illinois. The spokes will offer grassroots engagement with small businesses to assist with access to grants, financial planning, marketing outreach, and technical assistance. Community Navigators will be tasked with informing the Illinois business community of state small business relief grants, as well as federal support available from the Small Business Administration and U.S. Treasury. Community Navigator assistance may include applying for Economic Injury Disaster Loans, Shuttered Venues Operators’ Grants, Restaurant Revitalization Grants, traditional SBA loans, and opportunities such as the Back 2 Business economic recovery grant program from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. These navigators will provide access to economic support and cutting-edge resources vital to the recovery effort our businesses are now facing in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

What do Community Navigators do?

Community navigators provide the following services:

  • Outreach to hard-to-reach or underserved businesses to raise awareness of opportunities for federal or state support

  • 1-on-1 technical assistance to small businesses to help them understand eligibility and apply for economic support

  • Offer services in multiple languages

  • Share information on small business barriers with DCEO to ensure programming is accessible 

The awardees below will provide support and training services to the spokes in their programs, who will in turn, venture out into their respective communities and engage our small businesses.

Community Navigator Hubs

  • American Business Immigration Coalition
  • Arts Alliance Illinois
  • Champaign County EDC
  • Cook County Bureau of Economic Development
  • Effingham Regional Growth Alliance
  • Greater Egypt EDC
  • Greater Peoria Economic Development Council
  • Greater Peoria EDC
  • Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University
  • Illinois Public Health Association (IPHA)
  • Main Street America

Community Navigator Spoke Locations

Over 100 community navigators providing 1:1 regional support service for small businesses.  Find your community outreach with the B2B search which will also include the listing by language or by county.