The City of Evanston is providing much needed financial relief for income-eligible micro-enterprises that were impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
"Going Digital" Webinar Series
From getting started online to digital marketing, this webinar series will help take your business to the next level online! Join industry experts as they provide tips for creating or enhancing your online presence.
Get the tools you need to help your business thrive. Choose from a wide range of mentors offering free strategic consulting support to Evanston's small businesses.
The City of Evanston COVID-19 Micro-Enterprise Grant Program will provide one-time funding of up to $2,500 per business for income-eligible micro-enterprises located within the City of Evanston to aid in their recovery from the COVID-19 public health crisis. Applications are currently closed.
To be eligible to apply for the COVID-19 Micro-Enterprise Grant, a business must demonstrate the need for financial support due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and meet the following criteria:
Business must be for profit and located within Evanston city limits (including home-based)
Business must have active business registration or license through the City of Evanston
Business was in existence on or before March 1, 2020 (or created as result of income or employment loss related to COVID-19 or meeting a need created by COVID-19)
Business must have five or fewer employees including owner(s)
Family income projected to be below 80% of Area Median Income (AMI) for next 12 months (see chart below)
Area Median Income Chart
Family income would include any business or non-business related income such as all family members wages, earnings, overtime, hazard pay, commissions, fees, tips, bonuses (before payroll deductions), retirement/social security/pensions, unemployment benefits, disability benefits, dividends/interests and any other income or benefits received in that time period.
The grant may be used for working capital to cover the business's day-to-day operating expenses such as rent or lease payments, mortgage payments, utility bills, payroll, technology, marketing, or other similar expenses. The grant may also be used towards the cost of obtaining protective equipment, professional services, or digital commerce expenses.
Information webinar will be held on Tuesday, September 1 at 12 p.m. Register here.
The application period will be open from September 1 through September 15. Late applications will not be accepted. Applications can be accepted as follows:
By mail to City of Evanston, Economic Development Division, 2100 Ridge Ave, Evanston, IL 60201
Staff will review applications to verify eligibility requirements
If the number of qualified applications submitted exceeds the amount of funding available, a priority ranking system will be implemented based on location of business, business owner income, whether business has received any prior financial assistance, and if business is woman- or minority-owned. A lottery system may be used to randomly select prioritized applicants.
Selected eligible applicants will be notified within five business days of the application period closing and have two weeks to submit all required documentation.
In collaboration with local digital experts, the City of Evanston is launching a series of weekly webinars to provide local businesses with insights on how to use digital tools to help boost their online presence. These sessions will provide an opportunity to learn about various digital topics, ask questions to industry experts, and network with other local businesses. The webinars are free, however registration is required.
Looking to get your business online? Or maybe your website needs an update so you can more effectively communicate your message and your brand. Industry experts (Keith Glantz of Glantz Design and Marc Zarefsky) will go over the basics of setting up your website including choosing a platform, visual design, and content strategy.
Do you ever stare at your computer and wonder what to write about on your social media pages? Or do you write one post and share it across all of your pages without considering the unique audience on each page? Jen Peterson of JPeterson Marketing (https://www.jpetersonmarketing.com/) will show you how to develop a content calendar and how to customize your content for your social media pages so that they engage your online audiences.
Should I run ads? Where? What’ll it cost? Come learn the basics of digital marketing for small businesses with Spencer Bryson, brand manager for Funyuns and Rold Gold and Kellogg MBA. Understand what digital marketing is, talk through if it would work for you, get perspective on what good/better/best looks like, and plan out practical details of how to get started.
This webinar hosted by Kelly Cutler, instructor of Digital Strategy in the Medill IMC Master's Program, will provide an overview of how to leverage data to better understand your audience and how to target your customers. It will cover Search Engine Optimization (SEO) basics and using Google Analytics to understand how your customers interact with your website.
E-Commerce Unleashed: The 3 Critical Things to Know if You Want to Win in the World of E-commerce
Selling online isn't the same as having a great website. It's an entirely different world. E-commerce is about much more, it's about creating a great shopping and buying experience. Join Sarah Bruns, founder of Gray Otter and MBA, for an overview of the three most critical elements you need to know to win at the game of e-commerce: technology, customer service, and operations & order fulfillment. In this webinar, learn about how to choose the right e-commerce platform, the differences in online customer support, and how to prepare for the back-end operations.
Small Business Mentoring Program
Northwestern and its Kellogg School of Management have partnered with the City of Evanston to provide strategic consulting support to local business owners. Kellogg alumni and students are offering pro bono consulting to Evanston business owners in high-demand areas, including digital marketing and social media, public relations, financial planning and analysis, and human resources management. Reach out to skilled mentors via the StartUpTree platform to help you see new opportunities, find ways to strengthen your online presence, or find efficiencies to weather the COVID-19 crisis. Don't miss out on this opportunity to get some free, additional support from experts!
Digital Marketing and Strategy Mentors
In conjunction with our Going Digital webinar series, please see a list of mentors specializing in digital marketing and online tools. They are all available on the StartUpTree platform along with many others.
Northwestern University | Kellogg School of Management
Proud Kellogg MBA, class of 2020. I'm a strategy consultant turned brand manager, eager to help organizations catalyze their growth. With client-side experience in countless industries, work as a nonprofit board member, and exposure to both startup and venture capital worlds, I'm eager to help out!
Northwestern University | Kellogg School of Management
Hello! Kellogg MBA + MS in Design Innovation alumna, class of 2020. I have experience in product management and marketing, specifically for digital products. Most recently, I was a founding member of a wellness startup at Kellogg. Would love to partner with local Evanston businesses to help in whatever capacity during this time!
As a writer and editor, I work with C-suite executives, top-ranked universities, nonprofits, small businesses and associations to share their stories as articles, whitepapers, e-books, and blog posts that inspire action — especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and current economic uncertainty. I'm also an Evanston native and proud alum of D65 and ETHS.
I’m an entrepreneur who has spent the last 10 years starting and growing businesses. With an MBA and a nearly completed MS in Data Science, my passion is the point where data, technology, and online consumer behavior meet. I love ecommerce and the opportunities it creates for small businesses to carve out a niche and compete in a world typically dominated by big business.
Please see steps below to sign on to the StartupTree platform, create a profile, and get started!