Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF)

Launched in 1999, the City of Chicago’s Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) promotes economic development by providing small businesses and property owners with reimbursement grants for permanent building improvement costs. Residential projects are not eligible.

The SBIF grant is funded by local Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenue and is made available to business and property owners located in the SBIF-eligible TIF districts citywide. Grant funds may be used to reimburse up to 90% of pre-approved construction costs, with a maximum reimbursement of $75,000 for multi-tenant properties, $150,000 for commercial properties, and $250,000 for industrial properties.

SomerCor is proud to administer the SBIF Grant on behalf of the Chicago Department of Planning and Development.

Already applied? Find more resources on the Current Applicants page.


    Grant Amount

    The maximum grant amount and reimbursement percentage is determined by the property and business type.


    Commercial business and property owners may receive a maximum of $150,000 in reimbursement. The percentage of reimbursement is determined by the business's gross sales and/or the property owner's net worth:

    Gross Sales or Net Worth Percent Reimbursed
    $0 - $3 Million90%
    $3 - $ 6 Million60%
    $6 - $9 Million30%


    Industrial businesses and properties may receive a maximum of $250,000 in reimbursement.

    All industrial projects are eligible for 50% reimbursement of costs.

    Property owners that lease more than 50% of the property to one or more entities in which they do not have an ownership interest are to be evaluated for eligibility under the Net Worth and Liquidity Requirements.


    Eligible Applicants

    The project property must be located within a SBIF-eligible TIF district. Verify if your property is in a TIF with the locator tool.

    Commercial businesses with an average of less than $9 million in annual gross sales.

    Industrial businesses with no more than 200 full-time employees.

    Property owners with a cumulative net worth of less than $9 million and less than $500,000 in liquid assets.

    Must have site control of property in the form of a deed or executed lease agreement with the title-holder.

    Ineligible Applicants

    national chains liquor stores gas stations
    employment agencies hotels and motels places of worship
    currency exchanges adult uses smoke shops/cigar lounges
    loan stores private clubs tobacco dealers
    pawn shops wagering facilities storage warehouses
    fortune telling service K-12 schools storage yards
    branch banks firearms dealers firearm ranges

    These lists are not comprehensive. Please contact SomerCor with any questions about eligibility.

    Eligible Expenses

    All expenses must be approved by the City of Chicago before construction starts and prior to any payments to contractors. Permanent building improvements that enhance the appearance or viability of a property are generally eligible for reimbursement. Eligible improvements may include, but are not limited to:

    roof and façade improvements

    alterations or structures needed for ADA compliance (e.g., railings or ramps)

    HVAC and other mechanical systems

    plumbing and electrical work

    permanent interior renovations, including fixtures

    solar panels

    Ineligible Expenses

    The following items are not eligible for reimbursement. This list is not comprehensive.

    work on the interior of residential units

    new construction (additions/expansions, “ground up”)

    stand-alone minor repairs or cosmetic improvements

    equipment-related expenses (e.g. kitchen appliances, computers, office furniture)

    planters surrounding or affixed to buildings

    outdoor dining or drinking areas

    fencing including pergolas, trellises, arbors, privacy screens, and similar structures

    parking lot construction or repair


    business-specific items

    For full eligibility and requirements, please see the SBIF Program Rules.

    TIF Rollout Calendar

    SBIF applications must be submitted during monthly rollout periods for individual TIF districts. Upcoming dates are listed below. Applications received for a TIF district outside of its open acceptance period will be rejected.

    Current TIF Districts

    July 2024

    OPENS: July 1 at 9 A.M.
    CLOSES: July 30 at 5 P.M.

    Informational Webinar:
    July 3 (Wed) at 1 P.M. Video

    Upcoming TIF Districts

    August 2024

    OPENS: August 1 at 9 A.M.
    CLOSES: August 30 at 5 P.M.

    Informational Webinar:
    August 7 (Wed) at 1 P.M. Register

    September 2024

    OPENS: September 1 at 9 A.M.
    CLOSES: September 30 at 5 P.M.

    Informational Webinar:
    September 4 (Wed) at 1 P.M. Register

    October 2024

    OPENS: October 1 at 9 A.M.
    CLOSES: October 30 at 5 P.M.

    Informational Webinar:
    October 7 (Wed) at 1 P.M. Register

    November 2024

    OPENS: November 1 at 9 A.M.
    CLOSES: November 30 at 5 P.M.

    Informational Webinar:
    November 6 (Wed) at 1 P.M. Register

    December 2024

    OPENS: December 1 at 9 A.M.
    CLOSES: December 30 at 5 P.M.

    Informational Webinar:
    December 5 (Wed) at 1 P.M. Register

    SBIF Application

    To apply for the SBIF program, please download and fill out the application. Once complete, email the application to during your TIF open acceptance period.

    After submitting your application, you will receive a confirmation email within two business days to confirm the application was received and advise of any preliminary concerns. If you do not receive an email confirmation within this time, please reach out to verify your application status.

    Applicants are responsible for making sure submissions are received within the open acceptance period. Applications received after 5 P.M. on the last day of the acceptance period will not be eligible.

    If a lottery is not needed, a SBIF Project Coordinator will reach out to to begin Stage 1 a few weeks after the application period has closed.

    SBIF Program Timeline

    Applicants who do not complete each stage in the required time limit will be disqualified and removed from the program.

    SBIF Calculator

    Estimate your SBIF reimbursement with this calculator. NOTE: This is only an estimation. Several factors can affect eligibility and reimbursement amount.

    Do you own or rent the property?
    Does the property contain multiple tenants?
    Is the property used primarily for Commercial, Industrial or Non-Profit business?
    Your estimated reimbursement is:
    The maximum grant amount your project may receive:

    All costs must be approved by the City of Chicago prior to construction. These numbers are for informational purposes only and not a guarantee of funds. Each application will be reviewed for eligibility and grant amounts may be adjusted as necessary.

    Success Stories

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