Chicago businesses and organizations seeking loans and other funding sources to enhance cash flow were hit hard by the news the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) have exhausted its funding. Given the immense popularity of both programs, it comes as little surprise that the initial $349B round of funding ran out quickly. Although there is talk it may be re-funded, it comes as unwelcome news to those in serious need of help.

The good news for Cook County businesses is that there are several loan programs still available including the Illinois Small Business Emergency Fund, Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund, and the Cook County Small Business Recovery Fund (the Fund). These three programs are designed to assist businesses in various locations and categories. Here we look at the key details of the Cook County Small Business Recovery Fund.

About the Fund

Cook County launched the Community Recovery Initiative to help small business, nonprofits, independent contractors, and gig workers that are struggling financially due to the COVID-19 Emergency. On April 7, 2020, Cook County President Toni Periwinkle announced the loan fund would be granted $10 million to provide relief to as many impacted businesses and organizations as possible. The Fund will offer a one-time, zero-interest loan of up to $20,000 for qualifying small business and nonprofits, and $10,000 for qualifying independent contractors and gig workers.


Eligible individuals and companies must meet location, revenue, and employee size criteria. Below is a summary for each group.

  • Independent contractors who reside outside of the City of Chicago in Cook County and who are individuals that report at least fifty percent (50%) of their income using IRS Form 1099 with incomes not exceeding $100,000 per year; or
  • Small businesses with up to twenty-five (25) full-time employees whose primary business location is outside of the City of Chicago in Cook County with annual gross revenue for either the 2018 or 2019 calendar year of no greater than $3 million.

Loan Terms

The Fund provides loans that are unsecured, feature a five-year term with no option of extension, 0% interest rate; and no loan application, loan commitment or credit check fees. In addition, there are no principal payments due for the first six months of the loan terms, and borrowers may make early payments as there are no pre-payment penalties.

Application Process

If a business, organization, or nonprofit meets the eligibility criteria then they can apply for the loan through the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development website. Since an exact date for when applications will be accepted has not yet been announced, interested parties can complete the sign-up form to be automatically emailed when announcements are made.

Contact Us

Since not every business or organization will be able to meet the credit or other terms for federal loan options, the Fund provides an important option to consider. For those looking for additional working capital, this program should not be overlooked. If you have questions about the information provided above or need assistance with a COVID-19 tax or business issue, Selden Fox can help. For additional information call us at 630.954.1400 or click here to contact us. We look forward to speaking with you soon.