ACCION provides fair and flexible loans, connections to business experts, and access to resources and opportunities specifically tailored to each business owner’s unique needs and goals.

Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI)

CNI’s Micro Finance Group is committed to bringing affordable microfinance solutions to small business owners who do not have access to traditional sources of financing. Microloans from the Micro Finance Group, currently ranging from $500 – $50,000, feature flexible underwriting criteria to allow borrows to start up and expand their business.

City of Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection

The Chicago region boasts a wealth of public and private entities providing resources, intelligence, guidance, and direct assistance to businesses and entrepreneurs. These organizations are available to help simplify the process of starting a new business or growing established ones.

The Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection’s mission is to empower businesses to grow and succeed by providing information and services to help businesses act responsibly and create economic vitality and vibrant communities for the people of Chicago. Visit the Small Business Center for information on starting a business in Chicago. The City has created helpful guides for specific industries, such as Chicago’s Guide to Restaurants and Retail Food Establishments. Additionally, the City offers a number of free business workshops at City Hall (121 N LaSalle, Room 805).

City Treasurer — City of Chicago

The treasurer’s website offers information on various types of business loans and links to institutions that offer loans.

Community Law Project

Community Law Project provides legal advice to low and moderate income business owners to help them grow and strengthen their small business.

Edgewater Development Corporation

The Edgewater Development Corporation maintains a list of available properties in Edgewater and Andersonville. 

JVS Chicago – Illinois SBDC Duman Microenterprise Center

Improving life through employment and productivity recognizing that personal development is a lifetime endeavor. The SBDC at the Duman Microenterprise Center provides one-on-one counseling at no charge for start-ups and existing small businesses in the Chicago metropolitan area. The Center offers entrepreneurial training, business assistance, mentoring and access to capital. The Center has been helping small business owners since 2001.

Public Way Use Permit Application

Chicago’s streets, sidewalks, alleys and parkways are parts of the “public way.” In order for a business or property owner to occupy, use or otherwise encroach on, over or under the public way, a Public Way Use Permit or other specialized Permit is required under Chapter 10-28 of the Municipal Code of Chicago (“Code”). Common examples of items that encroach upon the public way, for which a Public Way Use Permit or other specialized Permit is required are: Canopies/Awnings, Signs, Light Fixtures, Balconies, Banners, Planters, Decorative Pavers, Bollards, Windscreens, Kiosks, Sidewalk Cafés, Vaults,  and Conduit (encased wiring).

SCORE (Service Corps Of Retired Executives) Chicago

SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to entrepreneur education and the formation, growth, and success of small businesses nationwide. The Chicago Chapter of SCORE provides counseling, management consulting, and low cost workshops and other resources (like templates for a business plan) to entrepreneurs and small businesses through locations in the Chicago area.

Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration helps Americans start, build, and grow businesses.

SomerCor 504

Dedicated to helping small businesses finance their growth, SomerCor 504, Inc. is a non-profit development company certified by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to originate SBA 504 loans in Illinois. Founded in 1992, SomerCor holds a portfolio in excess of $481 million, comprised of more than 925 loans, and is one of the largest SBA lenders in the Chicago area, consistently ranking in the top 15 Certified Development Companies (CDC’s) nationwide.

Women’s Business Development Center

The Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) is a nationally and internationally recognized not-for-profit organization established in 1986 to work with women to launch new businesses and strengthen existing businesses in the Chicago area. WBDC services are available in Spanish and English, and include business assessments, loan packaging, public and private sector procurement assistance, classes/workshops, and individualized counseling on all aspects of business development, management, and strategy.

Venue Licensing Permit

This toolkit will walk you through what you need for a Public Place of Amusement License and a Performing Arts Venue License.

Three Steps to Obtain a Business License in the City of Chicago

 This document walks you through the three steps to obtain a business license in the City of Chicago including with what agencies you will be required to register your business.