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Businesses located in our service areas of Ashburn, Auburn Gresham, Chatham, parts of Englewood, Greater Grand Crossing, and Washington Heights will find helpful information whether you are a wantrepreneur, entrepreneur, or seasoned business owner. You are your biggest asset when it comes to building your business and creating your brand. And we're here to help.

Our goal is 1) to listen, inform, and promote healthy, licensed, commercial, small, and home-based businesses, 2)  to revitalize our business districts, and 3) to provide a better quality of service and higher quality of life for our business owners and customers. Please check out our listing of services - just for you:

Connect to the City of Chicago's AWESOME Small Businesss Center website click the picture below or the following link City of Chicago:

If you are interested in retail space for your business Site Selector is the "go to" resource. You can even find information about SSAs, TIFs, SBIFs, Enterprise Zones and much, much more. GADC provides access to these properties through a partnership between the City of Chicago and World Business Chicago (WBC). These listings and more may be viewed with WBC's Site Selector mapping tool which includes the ability to add additional map layers. It's worth a look!

Other City services you may want to contact are linked below. Chicago is FULL of resources for small business owners. No matter your need - there is someone out there who can help. Don't forget to sign up for our classes and networking sessions at Business University! Or join our community Fireside Chats and Trainings with Parent University! If you haven't already, please complete our comprehensive business survey designed to help us really understand what your business needs to succeed. If you have any questions, email or please call Norma Sanders at 773 483 3696.

Links to other resources:

IRS Small Business Tax Site

City of Chicago Services
Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) Website
City 311 Services website
006th District Police Department, Commander Fred Waller
Apply for Business License ONLINE

Business License Renewal ONLINE
Public Way / Sidewalk Cafe Permits
Liquor Licenses
Free Monthly Business Education Workshops

City of Chicago’s Free Business Counseling at BACP Solution Station

SCORE (Service Corps Of Retired Executives) Chicago

SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to entrepreneur education and the formation, growth, and success of small businesses nationwide. The Chicago Chapter of SCORE provides counseling, management consulting, and low cost workshops and other resources (like templates for a business plan) to entrepreneurs and small businesses through locations in the Chicago area.

JVS Chicago – Illinois SBDC Duman Microenterprise Center
Improving life through employment and productivity recognizing that personal development is a lifetime endeavor. The SBDC at the Duman Microenterprise Center provides one-on-one counseling at no charge for start-ups and existing small businesses in the Chicago metropolitan area. The Center offers entrepreneurial training, business assistance, mentoring and access to capital. The Center has been helping small business owners since 2001.

Local First Chicago
The mission of Local First Chicago is to build thriving, local communities by

  • Educating citizens, community groups and policy makers to build and support sustainable communities.
  • Connecting and promoting locally owned independent businesses;
  • Training businesses and other parties in socially, environmentally and economically sustainable practices

Local First Chicago periodically organizes workshops and training programs.

Women’s Business Development Center
The Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) is a nationally and internationally recognized not-for-profit organization established in 1986 to work with women to launch new businesses and strengthen existing businesses in the Chicago area. WBDC services are available in Spanish and English, and include business assessments, loan packaging, public and private sector procurement assistance, classes/workshops, and individualized counseling on all aspects of business development, management, and strategy.

DePaul University Coleman Entrepreneurship Center
As part of DePaul University’s Entrepreneurship Program, the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center is an outreach center offering consulting services, educational programs, and resources for students and entrepreneurs throughout Chicagoland and in the various stages of The Entrepreneurial Quest®.

  • Angel investment preparation and fundraising assistance
  • Business modeling and planning
  • Maximizing sales with practical marketing strategies
  • Exit and owner transition planning

The Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center
The Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) and affiliated support organizations help manufacturers with productivity, technology modernization, and enhanced business practices. They are targeted to small and mid-sized Illinois manufacturers and they help identify a company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats; compile a report where a company stands on more than 50 performance indicators; and help address various manufacturing needs such as manufacturing modernization, quality assurance, best manufacturing practices, product development, and market development.

Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center
The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC) is a nonprofit affiliate of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce that seeks to make a perceptible and lasting economic impact on the Chicago region by helping entrepreneurs and high-growth businesses build viable, sustainable, and profitable enterprises. The CEC works with entrepreneurs to create and sustain opportunities for business success, job growth, and profitability.  The CEC:

  • Works with entrepreneurs located throughout the six counties of Northeastern Illinois.
  • Works primarily with businesses in the early-growth stage.
  • Offers entrepreneurs advisory services and face-to-face introductions to help with their financing and sales needs.
  • Provides guidance through our extensive network of experienced entrepreneurs and business leaders.
  • Hosts events at which entrepreneurs can learn strategies necessary to succeed in a competitive marketplace.

Foresight Sustainable Business Alliance
The CSBA supports members in integrating sustainable business principles to generate a more profitable, environmentally respectful, and socially responsible Chicago economy. This mission is achieved through:

  • Networking to create business opportunities
  • Education to enable informed decision-making
  • Promotion of a more sustainable business environment with the government, media, and public
  • Fostering a community of information, referrals, and peer-based learning
Small Business Loans and Grants


City of Chicago’s Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF)
The City of Chicago provides grants of up to $150,000, funded through TIFs, to businesses making improvements to fixed assets.  The program is administered by SomerCor.


ACCION Chicago
ACCION Chicago is a small business lender, dedicated to providing financing and business education to small businesses. They offer loans of up to $15,000 for start-up businesses and $25,000 for established businesses. They also offer Credit Builder loans between $200 and $2,500.

Business Licenses

City of Chicago

Business Affairs and Consumer Protection
For general overview and guide to obtaining business licenses.

State of Illinois

Registration, Licenses, & Permits
Information and resources on registering, incorporating, and obtaining licenses and permits.

Demographic Data

State Demographics

Why Illinois?
Learn about the state’s first class workforce, unparalleled infrastructure, abundant energy resources, diverse landscape, key industries, and business incentive programs

Data & Statistics
Find facts, figures, data, and statistics on topics such as the census, population, economy, infrastructure, or workforce.

U.S. Census Data

U.S. Census Bureau
The U.S. Census Bureau provides a wealth of data and can be searched in a multitude of ways (by zip code, community, city, MSA, county, state, census tracts, etc.)

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