CHICAGO – Today, State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. announced that 200 businesses across the 17th district were awarded nearly $4.5 million in funding from the Back to Business program thanks to his advocacy and support.


“As we continue to deal with the impact COVID-19 has had on our daily lives, we are also seeing local businesses face tremendous financial distress as they also work to bounce back,” said Sims (D-Chicago). “The Back to Business Grant program has continued to be a nation-leading small business assistance program that has provided thousands of businesses across the state with millions of dollars in assistance to help them through these challenging times.”

A total of $4.475 million was awarded to 174 businesses in the 17th District. The B2B grants are awarded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity using funds allocated to them by the American Rescue Plan through last year’s state budget.

DCEO has provided $250 million in B2B grants – thanks to strong support from Senator Sims – to small businesses throughout the state, with an emphasis on hard hit sectors, such as hotels, restaurants, bars, barbershops and salons, and disproportionately impacted areas.

“Small businesses enrich our communities,” Sims said. ” I am proud to have led efforts in the Senate to ensure this much-needed funding assistance reaches our hardest-hit areas.”

With strong leadership from Sims, the state has seen five Illinois’ General Obligation bond rating upgrades in the last year from all three of the nation’s primary credit rating agencies. The latest two-notch upgrade comes from Fitch Ratings, as a result of the state paying down its bill backlog from over $16 billion to less than $3 billion in a course of just a few years.

Because of the fiscally responsible budgeting approach taken by the state, Illinois saw an increase in funds available to assist small businesses.

Sims urges small businesses to visit the DCEO website for additional resources or contact DCEO’s First Stop Business Information Center Services at 800-252-2923 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..