Illinois leaders launch grant program to boost manufacturing

made in illinois grants

A new Illinois grant program will help small- and mid-sized manufacturers throughout the state with innovation and strategic advancements in manufacturing. 

The Made in Illinois Grant Program, launched this month by Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center, will provide $1 million in funding for these manufacturers in the state, according to a news release from the DCEO. Eligible companies could see between $5,000 and $50,000 in matching grant funding through the program.

“In Illinois, our manufacturing footprint is growing faster than ever before,” Mr. Pritzker said in the release. “This is possible because of a talented local workforce and the coordination of state and local officials creating policies that result in job creation and growth.” 

“Thanks to organizations like IMEC and the Illinois Made Program, manufacturers are being given more opportunities to expand their business right here at home and play a major role in making Illinois the best place in the nation to live, work, do business and raise a family,” the governor added.

Illinois has a history of being one of the nation’s largest manufacturing states, DCEO Director Kristin Richards said in the release. “We are proud to partner with IMEC on the Made in Illinois initiative,” she said. “This program helps small-to-mid-sized manufacturers meet market demands and enhance production, which supports the manufacturing sector and contributes to Illinois’ economic prosperity.”

The program puts manufacturers “front and center, empowering them for a future marked by innovation, growth and lasting success in the evolving world of manufacturing,” IMEC President David Boulay added. “We commend the state for making a strategic investment in our manufacturers and their future.” 

The program’s creation is a direct result of the Quad Cities Chamber’s work in advocating for matching grant funding for manufacturers in Illinois, according to a post on the chamber’s website. 

“Our close work with DCEO and the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center resulted in a big win for our region’s manufacturers,” the chamber said on its website.  

“From our unique, bi-state perspective, we have witnessed the success of the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Manufacturing 4.0 Matching Grant Program and encouraged our economic development partners in Illinois to design something similar,” the chamber’s Vice President of Business and Economic Growth Chris Caves said in the post. 

“The Made in Illinois Program is a significant opportunity to advance manufacturing in the state of Illinois and support the growth of local, small and medium manufacturers. We look forward to a great response to this announcement and anticipate a positive investment in our region.”

To be eligible for the Made in Illinois Grant Program, according to the DCEO release, companies must:

  • Be an Illinois manufacturer (as designated with a NAICS code starting with 31-33).
  • Have between five and 250 employees.
  • Have operated in Illinois for at least three years.
  • Have had sales revenue in the past 12 months prior to application date.

In addition to the grants, the Made in Illinois Grant Program also provides manufacturers with access to expertise and resources including: 

  • Funds to support production enhancements for sustained growth.
  • Encouragement to integrate cutting-edge technologies.
  • IMEC’s expertise to help manufacturers carry out innovations while keeping costs in check.
  • Investments in automation through grants to elevate product quality. Automation and smart technologies will equip manufacturers with opportunities to up-skill their workforce.
  • Opportunities for manufacturers to gain a leadership position by adopting cutting-edge technologies.
  • Strategic acquisition of advanced machinery.
  • An environment that fosters adaptability through advanced technologies to lower operational risk and pivot to market shifts. 

Applications for the Made in Illinois Grant Program are being accepted through Sunday, March 31. For more information, including eligibility criteria and application procedures, visit the official program page.

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