Micro grants could mean macro results for some small businesses

Development Council offering grants for special projects


CLINTON — As state COVID-19 restrictions continue to cause problems for some small businesses, the local economic development group is currently offering a new program to help those businesses.

The DeWitt County Development Council’s “DCDC Micro Grant” program is available for business owners who have a plan for enhancing the operation of their businesses but could use some financial aid to help get their projects off the ground.

“This is the first time we’ve done this,” said David Torbert, president of the DCDC board. 

DCDC also has an existing revolving loan program.

“But, that’s more of a gap-financing program to be used in conjunction with a regular bank loan,” Torbert said.

DCDC has available $10,000 to be split among the final applicants chosen.  Torbert said the board does not have a pre-determined number of recipients it will award.  He said knowing some projects are less costly than others, they hope to help as many applicants as possible with the money available.

“The Micro Grant program was kind of born from the idea, ‘How can we, as an organization, directly help with maybe some of those smaller things’,” Torbert said.

He said the program could help businesses with smaller projects without the need to go through a lender.

The money funding the program comes from the DCDC general fund.

The board originally considered offering a set number of grants.

“We really hate to lock people into a box to say we’re going to give out three grants or five grants or whatever the case may be,” Tobert said.  “We’ve left it open because we understand that everybody’s challenges are different, and we wanted to be flexible in that way.”

The number of applications might affect how much money a business receives.

“Depending on how much interest we have in the program, we might be able to award only a portion of any particular project,” Torbert said.  “You may or may not get the full amount depending on the size of the project.”

He said DCDC wants to help the businesse applicants as much as possible.

“Some projects have several pieces to them, so if we can kick in a certain amount, and they’re just looking for a little extra to finish a project, we want to be able to help them.”

Torbert also pointed out that funds some businesses received through other programs ultimately had to be used just to keep their operations going during COVID restrictions.  This meant extra or special projects business owners had planned had to wait.

“We understand what COVID did to some businesses, so if we can jump in and offer some help, that’s a win for everyone,” he said.

DCDC Micro Grant loan applications are available at http://www.dcdc-illinois.net and can be emailed to execdirector@dcdc-illinois.net or delievered in person to the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce office, 100 Center Street #101.

Farmer City applicants should contact DCDC for the best method for hard copy submission.

The deadline for applications is Feb. 8.