In a speech delivered to Chicagoans on Thursday evening, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot announced a new $100 million economic relief package to support Chicago's small businesses that are experiencing a temporary loss of revenue as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Building on the administration’s ongoing efforts to help reduce the financial impact of this public health crisis on residents, the City is launching the new Chicago Small Business Resiliency Loan Fund in partnership with the Catalyst Fund, chaired by Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin, and other private sponsors. The new fund will provide more than $100 million in low-interest loans to severely impacted small businesses over the coming months, targeting historically under-resourced communities with an emphasis on minimizing hardship for those businesses and their employees.
The Mayor’s economic relief package is designed to provide much-needed cash flow relief for neighborhood entrepreneurs over the coming weeks and months and includes extended due dates for business-related tax payments until April 30, 2020.
“Chicago’s small businesses are the heart of our economy and critical to the life of our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “We know this isn’t business as usual and we don’t have the luxury to wait for federal support, which is why with these initial investments, we’re ensuring local business owners and entrepreneurs have the resources they need to survive.”
More than half of Americans work at or own a small business, the majority being local Main Street services — restaurants, bars, coffee shops, barbershops, hair salons, auto repair shops, and dry cleaners. According to a recent study, the average Chicago small business has only 28 days of cash on hand, and in many of Chicago’s South and West Side neighborhoods, liquidity is even tighter. In Englewood, for example, half of small business owners only have enough cash to operate for five days or less. The creation of an emergency loan fund will provide critical support for businesses, their employees, and the families that depend on the vitality of the local neighborhood economy.
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