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Applications open for $10M recovery fund for Cook County suburban small businesses, independent contractors 

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced Monday that applications are now open for the Community Recovery Loan Fund.  

The fund was launched as part of the Bureau of Economic Development’s Community Recovery Initiative to provide one-time, zero-interest loans of up to $20,000 for small businesses and up to $10,000 for independent contractors.  

“Cook County is committed to having a meaningful impact in the communities that are facing tough economic challenges in the face of COVID-19,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “While we know the funds will go fast, through these investments in local small businesses and independent contractors, the county hopes to positively impact financially underserved communities while providing growth capital to help sustain operations and provide assistance to our most vulnerable businesses.”  

This program will serve suburban Cook County businesses with less than 25 employees and less than $3 million in annual revenue, or independent contractors with less than $100,000 in yearly income who earn at least 50 percent of their revenue from contracting work. Self-employed, independent contractors such as rideshare drivers and other gig industry workers residing in south suburban Cook County are eligible. 


Since the announcement of the recovery fund in April, more than 8,000 small businesses, independent contractors, and non-profits have reached out to express need and interest in the County’s loan fund program and technical assistance resources.

“While we understand $10 million is not enough to help the thousands of small businesses that expressed a need in this program, we are hopeful that it will offer relief to some,” said Xochitl Flores Bureau Chief of Economic Development. “Our efforts to identify more resources and ways to grow our support are ongoing, and we are hopeful that this is coming at a time when recovery is so critical.” 

The loan applications will be processed through a network of lending partners that include: the Chicago Community Loan FundSomerCorAccionWomen’s Business Development Center, and Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives Micro Finance Group.

Applications will be open for ten days.

  • Eligibility – Applicants must meet all the criteria identified in the form, submit all the requested materials, and submit them via the portal by June 8. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • Geography: Loans will be awarded across all suburban Cook municipalities.
  • Priority will be given to applicants located in Economically Disconnected Areas or Disinvested Areas and businesses owned by women, minorities, persons with disabilities, or veterans.

Online applications for the loans are now being accepted until June 17 and are available in English and Spanish. To apply and to find additional information, please visit www.cookcountyil.gov/recovery.

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