Community Navigator Program

July 2, 2021 – Governor JB Pritzker joined the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) in announcing a $9 million investment to expand the community navigator outreach program to help small businesses take advantage of economic recovery grant programs. An expansion to the existing community navigator program leverages 13 community navigator organizations that will provide support for small businesses statewide who require assistance navigating billions of financial assistance dollars available from the State of Illinois and the U.S. Small Business Administration as a result of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

Community navigators will perform intensive outreach to ensure that small and hard-to-reach businesses are aware of economic relief funds available. Additionally, navigators will provide 1-on-1 technical assistance to support businesses in understanding how to access relief.

Learn more about DCEO’s Community Navigator program here.

Hub & Spokes

Have questions and/or need technical assistance? Reach out to a Community Navigator (listed below) for free & confidential assistance. All organizations provide technical assistance to businesses, with a focus on underserved businesses including minority, rural, veteran and women-owned businesses.

Hub: Champaign County Economic Development Corporation


Champaign County Economic Development Corporation
(Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC)

Economic Development Corporation of Decatur – Macon County

    • Main Contact: Brandy Poshard
    • Email: 
    • Phone: 217-422-9520
    • Coverage Area: Macon County

Vermilion Advantage

Champaign County Chamber of Commerce

New American Welcome Center (NAWC) at the University YMCA

Tuscola Chamber & Economic Development, Inc.

Iroquois Economic Development Association

    • Main Contact: Angel Crawford
    • Email:
    • Phone: 815-432-0072
    • Coverage Area: Iroquois County

Current Programs

Back to Business (B2B) NewBiz Grant Program – Businesses that launched in 2020 or 2021 and remain in operation have faced significant impacts during the pandemic, but they have not been eligible for other federal or state relief programming since they were not operational prior to the pandemic, are invited to apply for the Back to Business (B2B) NewBiz Grant Program. There is $25 million in available grant funding through this program.

Past Programs

Back to Business Grant Program – All funds for the Back to Business Program have been awarded. 6,687 businesses received awards, and the list can be viewed here.

Back to Business Grant Program for Creative Arts, Hotels, & Restaurants – All funds for the Back to Business Program for Creative Arts, Hotels, & Restaurants have been awarded. The lists can be viewed here.