EAST ST. LOUIS – Over 30 businesses in Madison and St. Clair Counties were awarded more than $1.4 million in funding from the Back to Business program thanks to advocacy and support from State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea). Senator Belt

“Metro East businesses have fought to keep their doors open,” Belt said. “Local businesses are deserving of this funding to continue getting back on their feet after the unprecedented times we have had.”

A total of $1.415 million was awarded to 34 businesses in the 57th District. The B2B grants are awarded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity using funds allocated to them by the American Rescue Plan through last year’s state budget.

DCEO has provided $250 million in B2B grants – thanks to strong support from Senator Belt – to small businesses throughout the state, with an emphasis on hard hit sectors, such as hotels, restaurants, bars, barbershops and salons, and disproportionately impacted areas.

“Small businesses enrich our communities,” Belt said. “Let’s continue shopping local to show our support for the hardworking business men and women.”

With strong leadership from Belt, the state has seen five Illinois’ General Obligation bond rating upgrades in the last year from all three of the nation’s primary credit rating agencies. The latest two-notch upgrade comes from Fitch Ratings, as a result of the state paying down its bill backlog from over $16 billion to less than $3 billion in a course of just a few years.

Due to fiscal responsibility, the state saw an increase in funds available to assist small businesses.

Belt urges small businesses to visit the DCEO website for additional resources or contact DCEO’s First Stop Business Information Center Services at 800-252-2923 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..