ROMEOVILLE, Ill. – In order to ensure that new businesses are being set up for success, state Rep. Natalie Manley, D-Joliet, is encouraging local business owners who started their business during the COVID-19 pandemic to take advantage of a new state grant program that provides funds to businesses most impacted by the pandemic.

“While there were many programs started to help businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses that were started during the pandemic had far less resources available to them,” said Manley. “Starting a business during a time that was difficult for established businesses, let alone new ones, would be hard on any business owner, which is why this new round of grants will help these businesses get much-needed resources to help them thrive moving forward.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) has allocated nearly $1.5 billion in support for businesses. However, much of that aid was given to businesses that were started before the beginning of the pandemic. To ensure that businesses started during the pandemic have access to state support, DCEO is launching the $25 million Back to Business New Business Grant Program. The program will provide grants up to $30,000 to businesses started from January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2021 that are in an industry particularly impacted by the pandemic, such as hotels and restaurants, or were started by an individual or individuals who became unemployed due to the pandemic. Applications for the grants open on Nov. 30, 2023 and end Jan. 11, 2024. For more information or to apply, please visit

“It has been a difficult few years for businesses in Illinois, with many small businesses struggling to get by,” said Manley. “As we continue to recover from the economic impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic caused, it is critical that we aren’t leaving anyone behind. I applaud DCEO’s decision to support these businesses that have been left without many resources through some very tough times, and I highly encourage business owners to take a few moments and see if these grants may be available to them.”


Rep. Natalie ManleyRep. Natalie Manley


Assistant Majority Leader

98th District

Springfield Office:
300 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-3316

District Office:
1050 W. Romeo Rd.
Suite 101
Romeoville, IL 60446
(815) 725-2741