Business Resources & Grants

to help grow your business!

Grant Opportunities

Grants 

  • [NEW] Driving Small Business Forward is a grant program to support Hispanic entrepreneurs in partnership with Progressive® Commercial Insurance. This fund will provide $25,000 to ten small businesses towards the purchase of a commercial vehicle to accelerate their business. Applications are open May 9 until June 17 at 6 pm ET.
  • IFundWomen Entrepreneur of the Year 2022 - Apply for a chance to receive a $100,000 equity investment in your company, or $5K cash grants plus one year of educational services & resources. Application deadline is June 8, 2022.
  • The Chicago Recovery Grant provides additional opportunities for the City to invest in catalytic local development. Grant funding can be used for pre-development, construction, or renovation costs for permanent capital improvement projects and it's open to community developers, business owners and entrepreneurs, and property owners. Site control is preferred, but not required.
    • Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. The deadline for this year’s final round is August 19, 2022. Applicants who are not prepared to apply this round are encouraged to review all relevant materials and prepare to apply for a potential future round in 2023. Please do not submit duplicative applications for the same project.
    • For advice and potential resources to help with your application, please go to the Community Development Grant Resources page.
  • IRAEF Restaurant Employee Relief Fund - This fund for restaurant employees is accepting applications for $500 grants until August, 2022.
  • Innovations for Healthy Living - Improving Minority Health and Eliminating Health Disparities funding opportunity: Granted by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) as part of the America’s Seed Fund. This opportunity is for eligible SBIR/STTR entities to develop technologies and products that address health disparities while engaging and empowering individuals and communities.
  • Upskilling Initiative - Provides professional development grants to businesses that serve employees aged fifty (50) and older who are currently earning up to $16 an hour. Training funds will be disbursed in $2,000 increments, pending a guaranteed commitment from the employer of a $1.50 or more per hour wage increase respectively after the training is complete.
  • ComED Energy Efficient Program - Foodservice Equipment Rebates (FER) is offering instant discounts up to $4,500 for qualifying energy-efficient foodservice equipment purchases. If you have a commercial kitchen in your facility, FER can upgrade your equipment for less and help reduce your energy bills!
  • Hello Alice Small Business Growth Fund - offers small business owners the opportunity to receive a $5,000 grant to help them make their next big move. To be eligible, a business must have less than $1M in annual revenue, a commitment to diversity and community, and a clear plan to use the grant funds.
  • Amber Grant for Women - WomensNet founded the Amber Grant Foundation in 1998. Every month the foundation awards at least a $10,000 grant and a year-end grant of $25,000. The application is simple and grant recipients are announced the first week of every month. ($15 application fee)
  • The Small Business Assistance Program by ComEd provides eligible small business customers, with a one-time grant of up to $1,000 towards a past due balance, once every 12 months.
    • To apply for the Small Business Assistance Program, please call 1-877-4-COMED-1 (1-877-426-6331).

Scholarships, Education and Services

  • Comcast RISE provides complimentary marketing, creative, media, and technology services to qualifying small businesses owned by people from underrepresented groups. Deadline is June 17, 2022.
  • [NEW courses] Verizon Small Business Digital Ready is here to give small businesses like yours the personalized tools to succeed in today's digital world. Learning modules, expert coaching, peer networking and more— FREE!
  • Ascent is a free learning platform from the U.S. Small Business Administration for women-owned businesses. They recently added two new courses: Partnerships Journey and Entrepreneurial Leadership Journey. For more information click HERE.

Loans

  • [SBA LOAN] Allies for Community Business' loans at 3% interest rate program has been extended through the new year. They offer loans between $500 and $100,000 to early, emerging, and established businesses.
  • Kiva - Offers micro-loans between $1,000-$15,000, with no interest! Whether you’re in the idea phase, start-up mode, or an established business, you can apply for this crowd-funding loan. Kiva repayment terms are anywhere from 6 months to 3 years, and repayments are made monthly. Kiva does not grant loans based on credit scores or history.
  • Founders First Capital Partners - provides revenue-based funding and business acceleration advisory support to small businesses. It offers revenue based financing, which allows for a smaller payment during slower revenue months, and larger payments in stronger months.

Business Resources

Business Recovery Payment Plan Program - Chicago Department of Finance 

The Department of Finance is offering payment plans to eligible license holders for as little as $25 down with terms up to 60 months. The deadline to enter into a payment plan is June 30, 2022 for most debt types. Eligible licensees should call the Business Contact Center at 312-747-4747 to get started. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, from 8:00am to 5:00pm.
A license holder with multiple debt types may enroll in a payment plan for each.

Learn more at www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/fin/supp_info/BusinessRecoveryPaymentPlan.html

The Albany Park & Irving Park Special Service Area (SSA #60) Resources

The Albany Park & Irving Park Special Service Area (SSA #60) is an incredibly effective, locally-managed, resource to support small business growth and improve our neighborhood business corridors. SSA #60’s volunteer Commission and community members collaborate together to help provide funds to many business district improvements, such as creating public art murals and installations, installation and maintenance of bike parking, garbage receptacles, planters, trees, and benches, beautification of storefronts, litter and snow removal, and marketing and special events to bring local residents and visitors to our area. North River Commission is the sole service provider for SSA #60.

SSA #60 boundaries include:

  • Lawrence Ave, Chicago River to Pulaski Rd
  • Montrose Ave, Chicago River to Central Park Ave
  • Irving Park Rd, California Ave to Central Park Ave
  • Kedzie Ave, Irving Park Rd to Ainslie St
  • Kimball Ave, Lawrence Ave to Leland Ave

The SSA #60 offers the following resources to small businesses:

To apply for these programs or if you have any other questions, please contact Benjamin Corpuz at 312-860-7884 or bcorpuz@northrivercommission.org

2022 SSA60 Map - Yellow-01

Does your organization or business need a bike rack?

Let the Department of Transportation (CDOT) know ! Submit your bike rack request to bikeparking-chicago.hub.arcgis.com. 

The City installs roughly 500 bike racks on city sidewalks each year and they need YOUR FEEDBACK.

CDOT will review your request in the field looking for sites on the public right-of-way that don’t interfere with pedestrian travel and are clear of other street furniture. Their criteria for new rack placement is listed at chicagocompletestreets.org.

If you are interested in high-capacity, on-street bike parking for your organization or business, visit chicagocompletestreets.org to learn more about CDOT’s bike corral program.