Small Business Resources

There are many programs and services available to small businesses in Chicago. This list is by no means exhaustive, and SomerCor does not endorse any outside agencies. We provide this list as a courtesy.  If you are seeking resources or financial support for your small business, please contact the respective organization or program directly.

The following programs and organizations may offer incentives, rebates, or support for renewable energy or energy efficient projects:

The following organizations can offer resources to early stage and existing small businesses:

  • The City of Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) offers assistance at the Chicago Small Business Center in City Hall. Aspiring and current entrepreneurs can obtain valuable business planning, legal, and financial advice at the Small Business Center free of charge. BACP is the government agency that regulates and licenses most businesses in Chicago, so consulting their Small Business Center regarding zoning and other legal restrictions and licensing processes is an essential part of starting any new business venture in Chicago. BACP also appointed eight Regional Business Centers throughout the city. Starting in January of 2021, these locations will operate as regional hubs providing business licensing assistance and other resources for small businesses, especially those in traditionally underserved areas.
  • Chicago Neighborhood Business Development Centers (“NBDCs”) are local chambers of commerce and business organizations that have a strong neighborhood network and coordinate efforts with local aldermen, the City of Chicago, and other community partners. NBDC delegate agencies can help businesses with start-up efforts, access to business financial resources, and business-to-business networking, among other services.
  • Chicago Local Industrial Retention Initiative (LIRIs) provide assistance to industrial businesses primarily in the City’s Industrial Corridors with the purpose of retaining those businesses in the City and supporting the Industrial Corridors. LIRI agencies assess businesses, identify resources, provide project support and act as counselors and ombudsmen to resolve a variety business issues.
  • INVEST South/West Corridor Managers work alongside City agencies and local partners to increase neighborhood-level economic activity within the historic commercial corridors prioritized by INVEST South/West. Each team will lead local business attraction and retention strategies; identify needs and opportunities for public and private investment through monthly corridor roundtables; inform property owners about City economic development programs; market underutilized and vacant land; and help City agencies implement infrastructure and cultural enhancements.

  • Illinois Small Business Development Centers assists pre-venture, start-ups, and established businesses with management, marketing, and financial counseling. They also provide assistance with business and marketing plan preparation, securing capital, improving business skills, accessing international trade opportunities, and other business management needs.
  • The Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago (ICNC) provides support with business planning, financial management, debt and equity financing, industrial retention, business expansion and relocation, and worker placement and training. ICNC also assists companies in accessing grants and incentive programs.

We are always happy to connect small businesses with relevant resources. If you would like to suggest a resource that is not listed here, please contact us at