Business Development programs are structured to help West Side businesses from start-up through growth phases. Our goal is to build a healthy business climate and create jobs for West Side residents. We believe that it is essential that the economy of the West Side move from one of high levels of government support and low levels of sustainability into the mainstream regional economy, interconnected with the economy of the larger region and producing a net export economy for the West Side.
West Side Forward provides unique expertise in supporting business development in underserved communities for 40 years, lending expertise and leadership insights to other NBDC’s in the network., developing white papers and presenting on best practices that other program providers can emulate.
Neighborhood Business Development Center
Funded through the City of Chicago’s Business Affairs & Consumer Protection Department West Side Forward Forward's NBDC provides customized support for business within the local community.
Qualified companies receive:
• Technical Assistance• Coaching/Mentoring• Connecting To Financial Resources• Connections To Corporate Supply Chains• Business-To-Business Networking Opportunities• Workforce training and engagement assistance
Access to capital is a major growth challenge for many businesses, especially those on Chicago’s West Side.
WSF provides a variety of resources to assist in accessing funds for:
COVID-19 Related Funding
Learn about emergency resources for small businesses, workers, students and families during coronavirus pandemic.
SBA Approved Lenders - As of April 23, 2020
New Business Incubation
WSF provides direct support for up to five new businesses each 12-month period. These businesses receive office/operating space at well below market-value rates, support from WSF business counselors within our Small Business Development Center, and access to NBI-only seminars and activities. The goal of the program is to provide the greatest likelihood of success for the launch and sustainability of these businesses.
Our experienced and expert staff is supporting the renaissance of manufacturing on Chicago’s West Side – one manufacturer at a time. With over 170 manufacturing businesses generating over $1.5 billion in annual revenues, Bethel’s SBDC is assuring that it is not business as usual for West Side manufacturers.
Small Business Development Center
Offering confidential counseling, workshops and technical assistance to businesses throughout the Chicagoland area.
Upcoming SBDC Workshops here.
Get access to expert business support
Illinois Small Business Development Center at West Side provides training, confidential counseling and technical assistance to new and existing small businesses throughout the Chicagoland area.
Neighborhood Business Development Center provides customized small business resources and training to entrepreneurs located on the West Side of Chicago with particular focus on entrepreneurs of color and women.
We're partnering with Small Business Majority to offer Venturize, a free platform with the education and resources you need to make the best financing decision for your small business.
A local professional resource network that will serve Chicago small businesses and start-ups by creating an eco-system that the provides tools to make dreams into thriving businesses.
Emergency Resources for Small Businesses
Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans o The State of Illinois has received its statewide Economic Injury Declaration which means small businesses in all 102 Illinois counties may be eligible for low-interest, economic injury disaster loans up to $2M per business.
Click Link to SBA Disaster Loan
Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP)
Chicago Community Loan Fund
PPP Program Overview and Eligibility Requirements
Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF)
Chicago Microbusiness Recovery Grant
City of Chicago has established a Microbusiness Recovery Grant Program to provide $5,000 grants for up to 1,000 small businesses located in low- and moderate-income areas of the city that have been severely impacted by COVID-19. Applications to this program will be accepted until 5:00pm on Monday, May 4. BACP is holding a series of webinars to provide information and answer questions about the City of Chicago Microbusiness Recovery Grant Program click here to register for a webinar.
Learn more about the grant program here. Click here to apply now.
Illinois Small Businesses Emergency Loan Fund
Low-interest loans of up to $50,000 to support payments of fixed debt, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that cannot be paid due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. o Program is joint venture of DCEO, IDFPR, Accion, and the Illinois banking community. A $30M loan loss reserve will enable $60M in loans. o Illinois businesses with fewer than 50 employees and less than $3M in 2019 revenue are eligible to apply.
Apply to Accion here
Illinois Treasurer’s Office Small Business COVID-19 Relief Program
The state treasurer’s office has made $250 million available in bridge loans to small businesses through participating Illinois banks and credit unions. The financial institutions will determine who is eligible for the loans.
Click here for more information
City of Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund
$100M fund supporting low-cost five-year loans for qualifying small businesses. o Provides loans of up to $50,000, depending on revenues before the COVID-19 outbreak. o Funds can be used for working capital. o Chicago small businesses with fewer than 50 employees and gross revenues less than $3 million in 2019 are eligible.
Click here for applications and more information
Hospitality Emergency Grant Program
Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will be providing grants of up to $25,000 for bars and restaurants under $1 million in annual revenue to offset immediate costs related to worker retraining, technology needs and working capital. Hotels that generated less than $8 million in revenue in 2019 are eligible for grants of up to $50,000. Applications are closed. Grant recipients, determined by lottery, were notified in early April.
Illinois Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program
$20 million program for small businesses in suburban and rural counties across Illinois, providing grants of up to $25,000 to small businesses in communities served by DCEO's Office of Community Development. These grants will offer businesses of up to 50 employees the opportunity to partner with their local governments to obtain grants of up to $25,000 in working capital. The grants will be offered on a rolling basis.
Click here for application materials and guidebook
Economic Development Agency Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program
The CARES Act increased EAA grant funding nationwide by $1.5B in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The EAA program supports comprehensive regional planning as well as economic development projects (construction and non-construction) that address ongoing economic distress or a sudden and severe dislocation, including disasters or emergencies. State and local governments, higher education institutions, and non-profits working with local governments are eligible to apply. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis .
United States Chamber of Commerce
The Save Small Business Fund will award $5,000 grants to small businesses that employ between 3 and 20 people, are located in an economically vulnerable community and have been harmed financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for more information.
A Guide to Starting Your BusinessChanging the Name of Your Illinois BusinessWhere should I incorporate my small business or form my LLC?
Trademark or Not to Trademark
Independent Contractor/Employee Relationships
Illinois Department of Revenue Business Registration Forms
I-9 Overview for Employers
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