The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) licenses, educates, regulates, and empowers Chicago businesses to grow and succeed. BACP hosts information sessions on a bi-weekly and monthly basis to address topics pertinent to business. BACP also enforces rules and regulations concerning many business practices.
The Small Business Center (SBC) is the commercial licensing division of the City’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) and the City’s “one-stop-shop” for business licensing, public way use permitting, and connecting entrepreneurs to resources.
The chief advocate for small business in Chicago, the SBAC is a non-partisan, member-driven organization that promotes the success of small business through political advocacy, support services and education.
Local First Chicago advocates on behalf of local business throughout the City. You can list your local business in LFC's Business Directory for free and request a window decal to show your local pride.
The Law Project provides educational seminars, legal clinics, and independent education on legal topics. In select cases, the Law Project can help connect small businesses to pro bono legal services.
The SBA offers access to capital and counseling to businesses seeking government contracts - a great resource for veteran business owners. View a full roster of services here.
The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) promotes the comprehensive growth and well-being of the City and its neighborhoods. Beyond its planning functions, the Department oversees the City’s zoning policies and promotes both business and real estate development. Formerly known as the Department of Housing and Economic Development.
Choose Chicago® is the official destination marketing organization for the City of Chicago. Its mission is to draw regional, national, and international visitors to the City, the greater community, and its membership.
Hosted by World Business Chicago, Site Selector is a free web-based application that businesses can use to locate unoccupied industrial, office, and retail spaces throughout Chicago. Site Selector includes mappable data layers in addition to basic real estate information.
The Illinois Restaurant Association is dedicated to promoting, protecting, educating and improving the restaurant industry in Illinois. The Association hosts workshops to keep members up-to-date on practices, regulation, and more..
The Active Transportation Alliance is a non-profit organization that works to improve conditions for bicycling, walking and transit and engage people in healthy and active ways to get around.
Plan your bike route with CDOT's latest bicycle map. Helpful for residents and businesses alike! Request a physical map here.
Think your store or home needs a bike rack? Let CDOT know with this handy web tool.
Let CDOT know about chained bicycles that have overstayed their welcome.
Grants and Loans
Small businesses can sample from a variety of loan options offered by Somercor, which also managers the Small Business Improvement Fund. SomerCor is also a member of Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative, providing up to $250,000 to businesses that apply. Proceeds can be spent on working capital, business purchases, equipment and inventory, construction, real estate, and more.
The Chicago Small Business Center is partnering with The PrivateBank to make no-fee, low-interest loans for local entrepreneurs who finish their free Start-Up Certificate Program. The program gives entrepreneurs the fundamentals to start, operate, and grow a small business. Participants complete a nine-workshop curriculum, all within six months of the first workshop. The next session runs from July 2016 through December 2016.
Since 1991, Accion has made more than 3,300 small business loans totaling more than $27 million in Illinois and Northwest Indiana. Accion also offers loans via the Chicago Microlending Institute ranging from $500 to $50,000 to business owners in need.
Seed Chicago is an innovative program that uses Kickstarter's online crowdfunding platform to curate Chicago-based campaigns.
Indie GoGo is the world's largest crowdfunding site. Indiegogo campaigns allow you to choose either fixed (all-or-nothing) or flexible funding to get your next project off the ground.
Keva Zip allows the community to provide small business with 0% interest loans, all by using an applicant's network to measure creditworthiness. Borrowers invite their family and friends to begin fundraising, and after reaching a pre-designated threshold the Kiva Zip community funds the rest.
ioby helps neighbors grow and implement great ideas one block at a time. ioby connects leaders with funding and support to make neighborhoods safer, greener, more livable, and more fun.
Chicago's first zero-emission compost collection service for home and business. Contact Liam to create a compost program today!
Upgrade all the lights in your business for a small fee of $29/month for three years. Save more money than the fee, guaranteed, with free replacement for lights that go out. Save energy, money, and hassle when you go green with Verde.