The Source Grow Grant

The Cook County Small Business Source Grow Grant provides $10,000 grants to small businesses, coupled with advising and coaching services, to foster their recovery and resiliency from the pandemic, scale their operations and thrive in Cook County.

$25.5M

TOTAL FUNDING

Oct 3 – Oct 31

APPLICATION DATES

Application review will begin November 1, 2022 and not before. Early submission of an application does not lead to an earlier or faster review. Applicants will be notified of their application status in early 2023 and receive payments in early 2023.

$10,000

GRANT AMOUNT

$10,000 grants for selected eligible small businesses
in Cook County. (Grants do not have to be paid back).

CLICK HERE FOR APPLICATIONS AS OF OCTOBER 3, 2022

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Who Can Apply

To be eligible for The Source Grow Grant, a business must meet the following criteria. For more information read our FAQs.

Be a for-profit business located in Cook County, Illinois

Have less than 20 employees

Have operated and conducted business since March 2020 (prior to the COVID-19 pandemic)

Have experienced a decrease in revenue or gross receipts, increased costs, or greater financial insecurity due to COVID

All are welcome to apply regardless of resident or immigration status

Businesses that have previously applied or received other types of federal, state, county or city grants are eligible to apply.

CLICK HERE FOR APPLICATIONS AS OF OCTOBER 3, 2022

What Are Our Priorities?

All businesses that meet the above eligibility criteria may apply and all applications will receive consideration. We expect demand to exceed funds available and have prioritized the following groups.

The Source Grow Grant is prioritizing four business owner characteristics: 1) historically excluded businesses – those owned by Black-, Latino(a)-, other people of color-, Women-, LGBQT+, Veterans-, and Persons with a Disability 2) businesses in Suburban Cook County, 3) businesses in the hardest hit sectors 4) and microbusinesses with fewer than 10 employees.

Hardest hit sectors include: Accommodation, Hospitality, & Food, Arts & Entertainment, Childcare & Social Assistance, Retail Trade, and Transportation & Warehousing.

Required Documentation

Required Documents: Applicants for The Source Grow Grant are required to provide a Valid Photo ID, a 2019 Tax Return and a W-9. Details on acceptable versions of these documents are listed below.

Tip: Gather and have all the required documents accessible to you when you begin your application. Once you start the application, you will not be able to return to the application to edit or attach any documentation. Applications that do not include these three required documents will not be considered.

Form of Valid Photo Identification 

  • Certificate of naturalization
  • Certificate of US citizenship
  • Chicago City Key ID
  • Consular ID
  • Driver’s license
  • Green card
  • Military ID
  • Native American tribal photo ID
  • Passport (US and non-US)
  • Permanent resident card
  • REAL ID
  • State ID

Business 2019 Federal Tax Return

2019 tax returns to confirm the business was started prior to 2020 and to verify the legal entity status. All pages of the tax return must be submitted.

  • IRS Form 1120 for corporations and LLCs
  • IRS Form 1065 and Schedule K-1s for partnerships
  • IRS Form 1040 and Schedule C for sole proprietors

Complete and Send W-9 Form

Signed and dated W-9 Form (available in the grant application via Docusign)

CLICK HERE FOR APPLICATIONS AS OF OCTOBER 3, 2022

Event Information

Application Information Session

The Source and its partners have developed a full schedule of in-person and virtual events to assist businesses. A calendar of events is available on the right. 

Virtual Drop-in Application Help Session

Attend a Virtual Drop-in Help Session to receive help with your application. No appointment necessary. These events are virtual and held every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from October 3, 2022 through October 28, 2022 from 10:00am – 11:00am CT and 4:00pm – 5:00pm CT (except Fridays).

In-Person Drop-in Application Help Session

Attend an In-Person Drop-in Help Session to receive one-on-one application assistance from one of our small business experts. Computer and scanners will be available. No appointment necessary. In-person sessions are held every Wednesday from October 3, 2022 through October 28, 2022 from 10:00am – 1:00pm CT.

This calendar will be final on Friday, September 30th

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FAQs

What Is The Cook County Small Business Source Grow Grant (“The Source Grow Grant”)?

The Source Grow Grant provides $10,000 grants to small businesses coupled with advising and coaching services. Cook County designed this program to close racial wealth and opportunity gaps and to foster the resiliency of small business. 

What Organizations Are Affiliated With The Source Grow Grant?

The Source Grow Grant is led and funded by Cook County in partnership with the following organizations:

Business Support Organizations

The Cook County Small Business Source’s Business Support Organizations (BSOs) provide small business owners with the expert advice and assistance they need to succeed through free one-on-one expert business advising.

  • Allies for Community Business
  • Berwyn Development Corporation
  • Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council
  • Chicago TREND
  • Chicago Urban League
  • Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Illinois Restaurant Association
  • Southland Development Authority
  • The Joseph Center
  • Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC)

Referral Partners

The Cook County Small Business Source’s Referral Partners serve as program ambassadors connecting small businesses to business advising and support through the Cook County Small Business Source.

  • 18th St Development Corp (Economic Strategies Development Corporation)
  • 36Squared Incubator
  • Arts Alliance Illinois
  • Chamber57
  • Chicago Heights Economic Development Corporation
  • Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce
  • Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation
  • Cook County Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce
  • Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Far South Community Development Corporation
  • Greater Englewood Chamber of Commerce
  • Greenwood Archer Capital
  • Ignite Technology and Innovation
  • IL Action for Children
  • Illinois Business Immigration Coalition
  • Illinois Minority Business Development Agency (IL MBDA) Business Center
  • Indo-American Center
  • Melrose Park Chamber of Commerce
  • Native American Chamber of Commerce
  • Next Level Northwest
  • Northwest Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Polish American Chamber of Commerce
  • Puerto Rican Cultural Center
  • Rogers Park Business Alliance
  • Schaumburg Business Association
  • SomerCor
  • South East Chicago Commission
  • South Shore Chamber of Commerce
  • Southland Black Chamber of Commerce
  • Southwest Collective
  • West Town Chicago Chamber of Commerce
  • West Suburban Chamber of Commerce & Industry
  • Westside United

How Much Funding Is Available?

Currently there is $25.5M. Each grant will be $10,000.

When Can I Apply For The Source Grow Grant?

The grant application period opens October 3, 2022 and closes October 31, 2022. Applications submitted prior to October 31, 2022 will not be reviewed until after November 1, 2022.  

When Will Grant Recipients Receive Notifications Of Their Grant Award?

The review process will begin in November. Applicants will be notified of their application status in early 2023 and receive payment 6-8 weeks later.

How Can I Get Help With My Application?

Application support will be provided via The Source’s Business Support Organization network. Applicants will be offered free, 1-on-1 expert business advising services via the Source. (Link: https://cookcountysmallbiz.org/programs/#business-advising)

Individuals who would like assistance in completing the application, or need access to a computer, tablet, or smartphone, will be able to access in-person and virtual support during the application window in locations across the County. Please refer to the Events section for details.

Who is eligible and can apply for The Source Grow Grant?

  • For-profit businesses located in Cook County, IL
  • Businesses with 20 or fewer employees
  • Businesses that experienced a decrease in revenue or gross receipts, increased costs, or greater financial insecurity due to COVID-19
  • Business owners of all demographics are eligible to apply
  • Businesses that meet the above criteria and have previously applied or received other types of grants are eligible to apply
  • All are welcome to apply regardless of resident or immigration status

How is “small business” being defined?

Businesses eligible for this program are those with fewer than 20 full-time employees. Businesses with 20 or more full-time employees are not eligible.

How is “microbusiness” being defined?

Businesses with fewer than 10 full-time employees are considered microbusinesses.

How is “COVID-impacted industries” and “hardest hit sectors” being defined?

Businesses that conduct in the following industries:

  • Hospitality, Food, & Tourism 
  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Childcare & Social Assistance
  • Retail Trade
  • Transportation & Warehousing

How is "Accommodations, Hospitality, & Food Service" being defined?

Businesses that operate in the following NAICS codes:

  • 7211: Traveler Accommodation
  • 7212: RV (recreational vehicle) parks and recreational camps
  • 7213: Rooming and boarding houses
  • 7223: Special food services
  • 7224: Drinking places (alcoholic beverages)
  • 7225: Restaurants and other eating places
  • 3231: Printing and related support activities
  • 4531: Florists
  • 4831: Deep sea, coastal, and great lakes water transportation
  • 4853: Taxi and limousine service
  • 4855: Charter bus industry
  • 4859: Other transit and ground passenger transportation
  • 4871: Scenic and sightseeing transportation, land
  • 4872: Scenic and sightseeing transportation, water
  • 4879: Scenic and sightseeing transportation, other
  • 5615: Travel arrangement and reservation services
  • 5619: Other convention support services

How is “Childcare & Social Assistance” being defined?

Businesses that operate in the following NAICS codes:

  • 6241: Individual and Family Services
  • 6242: Community food and housing, and emergency and other relief services
  • 6243: Vocational rehabilitation services
  • 6244: Child Day Care Services

How is “Arts & Entertainment” being defined?

Businesses that operate in the following NAICS codes:

  • 7111: Performing Arts Companies
  • 7112: Spectator Sports
  • 7113: Promoters of performing arts, sports, and similar events
  • 7114: Agents and managers for artists, athletes, entertainers, and other public figures
  • 7115: Independent artists, writers, and performers
  • 7121: Museums, historical sites, and similar institutions
  • 7131: Amusement parks and arcades
  • 7139: Other amusement parks and arcades
  • 2381: Foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors (framing contractors)
  • 5121: Motion picture and video industries
  • 5122: Sound recording industries (sound technicians)
  • 5414: Specialized design services (costume design services)
  • 5419: Other professional, scientific, and technical services (photography studios)

How is “Retail Trade” being defined?

Businesses that operate in the following NAICS codes:

  • 441: Motor Vehicles & parts dealers
  • 442: Furniture & home furnishings stores
  • 443: Electronic markets and agents and broker
  • 444: Building materials & garden supply stores
  • 445: Food & Beverage stores
  • 446: Health & personal care stores
  • 447: Gasoline stations
  • 448: Clothing & clothing accessories stores
  • 451: Sporting goods, hobby, book & music stores
  • 452: General Merchandise stores
  • 453: Miscellaneous store retailers
  • 454: Nonstore retailers
  • 8121: Personal care services
  • 8129: Other personal services

How is “Transportation & Warehousing” being defined?

Businesses that operate in the following NAICS codes:

  • 481: Air transportation
  • 483: Water transportation
  • 484: Track transportation
  • 485: Transit & ground passenger transportation
  • 486: Pipeline transportation
  • 487: Scenic & Sightseeing transportation
  • 488: Support activities for transportation
  • 492: Couriers & messenger
  • 493: Warehousing and storage

How is “Negatively Impacted” being defined?

Businesses that experienced a decreased revenue or gross receipts, greater financial insecurity, and/or increased costs.

What entities are NOT eligible?

The following entities are not eligible:

  • A business engaged in activities that are prohibited by federal law or applicable law in the jurisdiction where the business is located or conducted
  • A business that derives a majority of its income as an owner of real property that leases that property to a tenant or tenants under a lease agreement
  • A business principally engaged in teaching, instructing, counseling, or indoctrinating religion or religious beliefs, whether in a religious or secular setting
  • A government-owned business entity
  • A business primarily engaged in political or lobbying activities
  • A business that manufactures or sells at wholesale, tobacco products, liquor or that manufactures or sells firearms at wholesale or retail
  • Cannabis businesses
  • A night club or strip club
  • Gambling businesses including sports betting and game shops
  • An employment agency

How do I form a sole proprietorship?

No extra steps are required to form a sole proprietorship other than to generate income. An individual pays personal income tax on profits earned from their business and reports that income with a Schedule C for their personal tax return. Individuals may choose to register their sole proprietorship as an LLC as there are tax advantages. 

Would a business be eligible if they moved into or out of Cook County since 2019?

They would be eligible if they are located in Cook County as of the date of their application.

Are hair stylists, nail technicians, and barbers eligible for The Source Grow Grant?

Yes, those businesses are eligible for the grant provided they have the appropriate required documentation (e.g., Federal Tax Returns).

Are Uber and Lyft drivers eligible for The Source Grow Grant?

Yes, those businesses are eligible for the grant provided they have the appropriate required documentation (e.g., Federal Tax Returns).

How may grant funds be used?

The grant may be used for business expenses only including payroll, operating expenses, lease or rent payments, and inventory acquisition vital to the business. Funds cannot be used for capital improvements or personal expenses.

How do I form a sole proprietorship?

No extra steps are required to form a sole proprietorship other than to generate income. An individual pays personal income tax on profits earned from their business and reports that income with a Schedule C for their personal tax return. Individuals may choose to register their sole proprietorship as an LLC as there are tax advantages. 

How do I apply?

You can apply via Smartsheet by clicking on the “Apply Here” button in our landing page (placeholder link). The application is available in 8 different languages: Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, Polish, Hindi, Urdu, Gujarati, and Bangla.

Can I apply on my phone?

The application is accessible on your phone, however, we recommend applying using a computer given the required step to upload required documents and because you must complete the application in one sitting. You will not be able to save your application progress once you begin your application.

What technology do I need to apply?

The application will need to be completed on a computer, tablet, or smartphone. You will need access to the internet (or a mobile phone connection), have an email address, and a digital device to apply. You will also need to upload documents. We recommend applying using a computer given the required step to upload required documents and because you must complete the application in one sitting. You will not be able to save your application progress once you begin your application. If you do not have access to one of those devices, you will be able to access in-person and virtual support during the application window in locations across the County. Please refer to the Events section for details.

Will all eligible applicants receive grant dollars?

No. There will be a total of 2,550 grants awarded and we anticipate that demand will exceed that.

Grant applicants may have multiple opportunities to be prioritized in the selection process.

The Source Grow Grant is prioritizing four business owner characteristics: 1) historically excluded businesses – those owned by Black-, Latino(a)-, other people of color-, Women-, LGBTQ+, Veterans-, and Persons with a Disability 2) businesses in Suburban Cook County, 3) businesses in the hardest hit sectors, 4) and microbusinesses with fewer than 10 employees

Hardest hit sectors include: Accommodation, Hospitality, & Food, Arts & Entertainment, Childcare & Social Assistance, Retail Trade, and Transportation & Warehousing

What documentation is required for The Source Grow Grant application?

The following 3 documents are required for the application:

  • Form of Valid Photo Identification including:
    1. Certificate of naturalization
    2. Certificate of US citizenship
    3. Chicago City Key ID
    4. Consular ID
    5. Driver’s license
    6. Green card
    7. Military ID
    8. Native American tribal photo ID
    9. Passport (US and non-US)
    10. Permanent resident card
    11. REAL ID
    12. State ID
  • 2019 Federal Tax Return
    2019 tax returns to confirm the business was started prior to 2020 and to verify the legal entity status. All pages of the tax return must be submitted.
    • IRS Form 1120 for corporations and LLCs
    • IRS Form 1065 and Schedule K-1s for partnerships
    • IRS Form 1040 and Schedule C for sole proprietors
  • Signed and dated W-9 Form (available in the grant application via Docusign)

Applications that do not include these three required documents will not be considered.

If someone besides the owner submits the application on behalf of the business, whose photo ID should be submitted?

The owner's ID is required. This ID needs to match the business owner name on the federal tax returns.

Can I link my personal bank account?

No. The bank account you provide must be in the name of your business unless you are a sole proprietor.

Can I apply using a home address that is outside of Cook County?

No. Please provide the business address, which must be in Cook County.

Can for-profit businesses owned by a non-profit organization apply?

For-profit businesses owned by non-profits organizations are eligible if they meet all other requirements. The application must be made through the for-profit business, and not the non-profit parent company

Can I apply without sharing my immigration status?

Yes, The Source Grow Grant is open to all Cook County households regardless of immigration status. You will not be asked to verify your citizenship or immigration status in the application.

Will my application impact my existing public benefits or eligibility?

No. Submitting an application will not impact your existing public benefits

How can I stay up to date and be notified when the application is about to open?

Sign up for our email-list and receive updates about the Grant and notifications about the application window status.

How can small businesses provide feedback on The Source Grow Grant ?

A feedback system will be put into place to gather relevant data for impact measurement.

Are grant proceeds taxed?

Yes. Recipients of a grant award will receive tax information related to their grant proceeds, which will need to be reported on their tax returns. Please consult with a tax professional for additional information.

If an application is incomplete, will the applicant be given the opportunity to re-submit their application?

No. We encourage you to gather the information and documents required to apply before submitting your application.

Questions?

If you have any questions, contact info@cookcountysmallbiz.org

CLICK HERE FOR APPLICATIONS AS OF OCTOBER 3, 2022