Sterling, Dixon main streets receive grants to help businesses with economic recovery

Sterling Main Street and the Dixon Chamber of Commerce and Main Street will both receive $30,000 grants to go toward helping underserved businesses.

Earlier this month, Gov. JB Pritzker announced $9 million to go toward 13 organizations including Illinois Main Street, which awarded 21 grants to main street organizations throughout the state to be part of the Illinois Small Business Community Navigator Program.

“We are thrilled to provide Illinois Main Street communities and their small businesses with this much-needed support,” Joi Cuartero Austin, director of the Illinois Main Street Program, said in a news release. “After a difficult year for Illinois’ small business owners, these services will be crucial in strengthening our downtowns and commercial districts in the next phase of recovery. The 21 local programs work with their business community daily and are well positioned to continue supportive efforts.”

The program tasks organization “spokes” to assist underserved businesses with access to grants, financial planning, marketing outreach, and technical assistance.

Those who qualify as underserved include minority, rural, veteran and women-owned businesses.

Community Navigator assistance may include applying for Economic Injury Disaster Loans, Shuttered Venues Operators’ Grants, Restaurant Revitalization Grants, traditional Small Business Administration loans, and future opportunities that may come from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

“This Community Navigator Program will help state, local and federal agencies connect with small businesses that have historically been left behind,” SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said. “The smallest of the small—in rural and urban America—and small businesses owned by women and people of color have suffered the greatest economic loss from the pandemic. At the SBA, we’re focused on reaching these underserved businesses to ensure they have the support they need to recover and build back better.”

Rachel Rodgers

Rachel Rodgers

Rachel Rodgers joined Sauk Valley Media in 2016 covering local government in Dixon and Lee County.