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Workshop teaches minority business owners how to apply for $15m available in grants

It was a packed house at the Peoria Gateway Building Monday.

People showed up to learn how to apply for state minority owned business grants.

The funding available totals $15 million with $10 million going to minority owned businesses in undeserved populations. The other $5 million will go to incubators geared toward minority owned businesses.

Rachael Parker attended the event; she owns SweetCakes by Rachael, in Peoria. Parker said she left her full time job as Chillicothe’s Economic Development Director to open her own bakery.

“In all the years I’ve been working in economic development, I can’t even think of a time where there’s been money available for minority owned companies specifically,” said Parker.

She said she hopes to get funding to upgrade equipment and do building renovations, which could cost $150,000-$200,000. Parker said she hopes that will free up money to hire more people. Right now, she said it’s just her, her daughter, and a part time employee running the shop.

The deadline to apply for grant money is June 30th.

To learn more about how to apply for the grant money, click here.

Monday’s event was hosted by the Illinois Department of Commerce’s Office of Minority Economic Empowerment.


Molly Jirasek

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