Small Business Resource Guide

Ready to take your small business to the next level? Check out these resources below to learn about funding, helpful organizations, and vital tools.

Small Business Funding

Illinois Department of Commerce – Offers energy services, access to capital and grant opportunities. 

Illinois State Small Business Credit Initiative Loan Programs – Offers different loan programs for small businesses 

Illinois Small Business Capital & Economic Opportunity – offers small business assistance, incentives and tax credits and contractor resources. 

Illinois DCEO Grants – Offers funding and a video and resource library. 

US Small Business Administration – Education, Networking, Loans 

Organizations for Entrepreneurs

City of Chicago Small Business Center– The Chicago Small Business Center (SBC) is the business licensing and permitting division of the City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) and the City’s “one-stop-shop” for business licensing, public way use permitting and other resources to start and grow your business. 

Business Affairs and Consumer Protection – BACP licenses businesses and public vehicles, regulates business activity, protects consumers from fraud, enforces Chicago’s labor laws, partners with business service organizations and provides education and resources for businesses. 

BACP Entrepreneur Certificate Program – The Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) Entrepreneur Certificate Program is a free program for anyone interested in starting or growing a business in Chicago to gain knowledge across various essential business topics. 

BACP Business Webinars – The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) offers free business education webinars every Wednesday afternoon and Friday morning. Topics include business licensing, operations, financial resources, marketing, and more. Programs are free and open to the public and taught by industry professionals, not-for-profit agencies, and government agencies. 

Cook County Small Business Source – The Cook County Small Business Source strives to support, grow and elevate small businesses by providing no-cost business advising, resources and access to events. 

Neighborhood Business Development Centers Program – The NBDC Program consists of over seventy (70) BACP delegate agencies that provide no-cost hyper-local business development assistance to entrepreneurs and business owners throughout the city 

Chicago Business Centers Program – The Chicago Business Centers (CBC) Program is a City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) initiative to fill the current gap in local business resources and minimize barriers for entrepreneurs and business owners of disadvantaged communities to properly launch, sustain, and/or expand their small businesses. CBCs provide detailed business licensing and public way use permitting application support, diverse funding opportunities, and specialized professional services. 

Allies for Community Business – Education, 1:1 Coaching, Lending, Grants, Neighborhood Entrepreneurship Lab 

Women Business Development Center – Education, Coaching, Lending, Grants, and Contract assistance 

Sunshine Enterprises – Coaching, Education, Training, and Access to Capital 

Westside Forward – Coaching, Education, and Monthly Training 

Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) – General website link to Chicago and Illinois Business Resources 

National Association for the Self Employed – Access to ongoing support for small business and networking opportunities 

Crains Chicago Business – They offer a resource guide and opportunities for networking.  

Tools for Small Businesses

Linked in Action Plan for Small Businesses – In addition to numerous networking and technical resources, linked in offers resources targeted for entrepreneurs.  

Constant Contact – an online marketing platform tailored to small businesses. It offers various free tools and other resources for small businesses. Topics include email, social media, SMS texting, online stores, and websites. 

IRS Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center – Get answers to your small business tax questions at the IRS Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center. It provides free resources for taxpayers who file Form 1040 or 1040-SR and small companies with assets under $10 million. 

United States Census Bureau – Business owners use census information for business planning, from beginning a company to expanding an existing one. The U.S. Census Bureau dedicates a section to small businesses. You’ll find statistics and customizable data tools.   

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