Small Business Relief Program

Small Business Relief Program
The grant program application window has now closed. Awards will be announced in late December.

Click here to view a PDF of eligible expenses
Click here to view a PDF of the required documents
Click here to view a PDF of Grant Eligibility Requirements
ISU AMA

Town of Normal Announces Small Business Relief Program


Normal, IL – Nov. 23, 2020 – To assist small businesses significantly impacted by COVID-19, the Town of Normal developed the Town of Normal Small Business Relief Program (SBRP) with money granted through the Local CURE ES Program (Local Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency). 

The Town of Normal received $450,000 from the Local CURE ES Program, a federally funded effort from the Coronavirus Relief Fund which uses dollars allocated to Illinois through the CARES Act.

“Like those across the country, businesses in Normal continue to be heavily impacted because of COVID-19,” said Eric Hanson, Assistant City Manager. “The Town of Normal Small Business Relief Program can provide supplemental assistance to those hit especially hard.”

The SBRP will provide eligible businesses with funds up to $15,000, divided into equal opportunities for grants of $5,000 in three broad categories:

  • Operational Assistance Grant – up to $5,000 for expenses related to sustaining business operations. (e.g., rent, mortgage or utilities) 
  • Digital and Marketing Support Grant – up to $5,000 for efforts related to enhancing their digital footprint. (e.g., social media marketing, point of sale systems, website enhancements) 
  • Business Modification Grant – up to $5,000 in reimbursement for COVID-19-related physical improvements/modifications made to ensure continued service. (e.g., building modifications, additional cleaning supplies)
“The Town created these categories based on feedback from local business owners who shared the devastation they have endured during the pandemic,” added Hanson. “The Town of Normal is dedicated to local business owners. Sadly, we cannot replace their lost revenue or magically increase customer traffic. This program allows us to provide some assistance.”  

Eligible businesses must meet several requirements, including the following:
  • Have a physical presence/location within the boundaries of the Town of Normal
  • 50 full-time employee equivalents (FTE) or fewer
  • Be operational as of Jan. 1, 2020
  • Show a demonstrated impact/loss of revenue due to COVID-19 
  • Up-to-date on all local and State of Illinois tax obligations
To determine eligibility, businesses can use a pre-qualification form at www.normal.org/SBRPprequalification. This pre-qualification form outlines all eligibility requirements. 

A secure portal for submitting applications will be available on the Town’s website beginning Dec. 1 through an online portal with a submittal deadline of Dec. 8 at 5 p.m. CST. In the meantime, business owners are encouraged to visit www.normal.org/SBRP to learn more about the application process and begin compiling documentation needed for the application. 

Applications will be taken beginning Dec. 1 and will be considered until all funds are depleted. Funds awarded to local businesses are taxable. The Town of Normal will provide a 1099 form to those receiving grants. 

Illinois State University Digital Marketing Partnership
Businesses applying for the Digital and Marketing Support Grant may receive an added boost, thanks to a unique partnership with Illinois State University. 

“A business’ online presence has become more important during the pandemic,” added Hanson. “Using resources in our own backyard, we can create a mutually beneficial experience for students and businesses. We have partnered with student organizations and faculty advisors at ISU to provide local businesses with help improving online reputation and visibility.”

The Town of Normal will work with educators from the College of Business to pair students looking for real-world experience with businesses who need additional digital and marketing support. 

“I see this as a win-win for everyone,” said Aaron Charlton, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Marketing at ISU. “Participating small business owners can improve their online image, increase visibility, or perhaps add systems such as online ordering. The students will gain valuable experience and a much-needed boost as they prepare to enter a challenging job market.” 

These student workers are eager to help with digital marketing strategy, copywriting, social media content and related tasks. 

Business owners applying for the Digital and Marketing Support Grant who would like to partner with ISU students on $500 of digital marketing efforts should visit the ISU Chapter of the American Marketing Association website at isuama.org.

Local business–ISU student contracts will be for $500, or about 30 hours of work. The engagement contract must be signed and enacted in December for these expenses to be eligible for reimbursement through the Digital and Marketing Support Grant. 

For more information about the Small Business Relief Program, visit www.normal.org/SBRP

For media questions related to ISU’s role in the Digital Marketing Partnership, contact  Dr. Aaron Charlton at 480-626-3885