COVID-19: Small Business Resources

Our hearts go out to you, your families, and all of our communities during this uncertain time. While this is a challenging, scary situation for everyone, we know that it is especially difficult for those, like so many of you, who are working to build a new business or keep a small, local business afloat. Now and always, you are our greatest inspiration. Below, please find a list of resources for small businesses during this difficult time.

For the latest COVID-19 health information and related campus announcements, please visit: https://goforward.uchicago.edu.

View the Small Business Bootcamp recorded sessions.

Acknowledgements:

The Polsky COVID-19: Small Business Resources guide is made possible by a community of Booth students (Naila DharaniFaisal AkkawiJennifer LinkerBalthazar BergkampKate Sercombe, and Graham Lombardi), Booth professors Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan, SSA Professor Nicole Marwell, staff from the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the Office of Civic Engagement, the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation, as well as Accion and LISC.

Financial & Logistical Support

  • The Mansa Fund, Lee Moulton founded The Mansa Fund to help bridge the funding gaps that are putting promising Black and LatinX businesses at a disadvantage.  
  • Paycheck Protection Program: Coronavirus Assistance — Coronavirus Assistance – Small Businesses
  • UChicago: Community Support
  • DCEO: Business Interruption Grants Program (BIG)
    • The Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program is a $636 million program developed by Governor Pritzker and the Illinois General Assembly to provide economic relief for small businesses hit hardest by COVID-19. BIG leverages federal funding provided by the CARES Act to help offset COVID-19 related losses for Illinois small businesses. funding may be used to help businesses with working capital expenses, including payroll costs; rent; utilities; and other operational costs as defined in the eligible cost list found below.
  • Small Business Administration: Economic Injury Disaster Loans
    • Provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue. If you wish to apply for the Advance on your EIDL, please visit https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/ as soon as possible to fill out a new, streamlined application. In order to qualify for the Advance, you need to submit this new application even if you previously submitted an EIDL application. Applying for the Advance will not impact the status or slow your existing application.
  • Small Business Administration: SBA Express Bridge Loans
    • Allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 with less paperwork
  • Small Business Administration: Local Assistance
    • SBA works with local partners to counsel, mentor, and train small businesses (e.g., help SBs craft a plan to navigate any rapid changes in demand due to covid)
  •  Lunchbox & Eniac Ventures: Help Main Street
    • Platform for discovering and buying gift cards from small businesses
  • Google: Ad credits for Google Ads
    • $340 million in ad credits, which can be used at any point until the end of 2020 across our Google Ads platforms for SMBs who have been active advertisers since the beginning of 2019 
  • Kiva: 0% interest loans
    • Platform that allows entrepreneurs to crowdsource a 0% interest loan of up to $15,000
  • Kabbage: Gift Certificate Program
    • Platform that allows SBs to sell gift cards with a value between $15-500
  • UChicago Institute for Justice: Shop in Place Chicago
    • Site for consumers to discover small business in Chicago that are still operating
  • The SnapBar: Keep Your City Smiling
    • Sells gift boxes containing products of local, small businesses (Seattle)
  • Rally for Restaurants: Gift Cards
  • Honeycomb: Crowdfunded Small Business Relief Loan 
    • Community sourced loans for small businesses affected by COVID-19. The loans are community funded via the Honeycomb crowdfunding platform. 
  • Honeycomb: Credit Loyalty Bond Platform, Crowdfunded gift card subscription product that vests to a higher value over a twenty-four month period. Get cash flow now, without having to redeem all your gift cards sold once you reopen. Businesses with at least 1 year of operating history, strong social media and/or email following, and a physical or online shop that accepts gift cards are encouraged to apply.
  • Square: Give and Get Local, local businesses need your support. You can give your favorite Square merchants a boost by buying digital gift cards.
  • Fanbank: COVID-19 Small Business Relief Program
  • Learn from a Chef: Online Cooking Classes

Information Support

Legal Support

Resource Aggregators

Mental Health Support

Workplace Safety Products

Resource Guide Updates

We will continue to update this resource guide as we learn of additional opportunities and information. If you have information or resources to add to this resource guide, please contact Isra Omar at iomar@uchicago.edu.

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