broadband 052820SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) joins the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Office of Broadband to announce the new Illinois Connected Communities grant program.
The program is designed to assist local governments, schools and community organizations with building broadband capacity. The $150,000 grant opportunity will help communities close existing gaps and lay the groundwork for improved broadband access, adoption and utilization. The grants will be provided on a competitive basis, and applications will be accepted here through June 12.
“The pandemic has really magnified the challenges that people who have a lack of internet access have dealt with,” Bennett said. “As we continue to face this crisis, it’s clear that access to broadband is a necessity for people to access education, healthcare, jobs and even state benefits.”
This latest grant program builds on the capital commitment made through Connect Illinois, which includes a $400 million investment, and is aimed at improving access to broadband for the entire state. The first $50 million of this investment is expected to be awarded in the coming weeks. 

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SBA to resume taking applications Monday
CHAMPAIGN – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is encouraging self-employed and small business owners to call their banks immediately to start the process for the Paycheck Protection Program.
“Small business owners and employees, who are facing lost profits and layoffs due to widespread business closures are hurting. PPP loans can help keep their workforce employed during this pandemic,” Bennett said. “Small businesses needing assistance should speak to their lender immediately to ensure all appropriate paperwork is in order.”
SBA started accepting applications from approved lenders on behalf of eligible businesses Monday. Bennett is urging qualified businesses to not wait to apply.
Qualified businesses in one or more of these categories include:
  • Self-employed,
  • Less than 500 employees,
  • Sole proprietor,
  • Independent contractor,
  • Private non-profit 501(C)(19), and/or
  • Veterans organization.

The loan is meant to keep workers of small businesses on the payroll and it will be forgiven if employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities.

For more information, visit SBA’s website.



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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is sharing information on two new emergency assistance programs to provide relief to local restaurants, hotels and other small businesses during this difficult time.
“We have a strong small business presence in our community. It’s what gives us character and it’s tough to see them struggle during this outbreak,” Bennett said. “Small businesses are crucial to our economic health and will play an essential role in our recovery from the pandemic, so we must invest in them during this challenging time.”
To provide assistance to struggling small business owners, Gov. JB Pritzker unveiled the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund, a $60 million program that will support low-interest loans of up to $50,000 for small businesses outside of Chicago.
Businesses with fewer than 50 employees and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 will be eligible to apply. Loan recipients will owe nothing for six months and will then begin making fixed payments at 3% interest for the remainder of a five-year loan term.

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107152019CW0043aSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is urging local governments to apply to receive a portion of $80 million in grants to spur economic development and provide much-needed infrastructure in their communities.

“These grants are a tremendous opportunity to stimulate the economy,” Bennett said. “Not only will they help revitalize distressed communities, they will support local economies and create jobs.”

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will distribute funding to local governments through a competitive selection process to support projects that will help generate jobs, expand economic opportunity and encourage new development.

DCEO has allocated $50 million for public infrastructure investments, $16.5 million for regional economic development projects and $13 million to prepare sites for construction. Potential projects also include improvements to utility lines and waste disposal systems, land and building acquisition, and architectural planning and engineering design.

Applications for public infrastructure grants must be submitted by June 30, but others will be accepted on a rolling basis. Available grants, project guidelines and application materials can be found here.

For additional information on these funds, prospective applicants can visit DCEO’s website here. Interested parties can send questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 217-785-6174.

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