Resources for Small Businesses
There are over 4,000 businesses in the 7th district. Local small business owners face many challenges, especially in the poor economy. The following are resources offered by the state to provide support for small business owners.

Small Business Development Centers:
SBDCs provide one-on-one business counseling and management assistance to small businesses. SBDCs help clients access marketing information, identify and apply for business financing and connect clients with the right business education and training opportunities. Services include One-on-one counseling; assistance with management, business plans and marketing; financial services; training

There are several SBDCs near us:

Illinois Entrepreneurship Centers
(A new initiative aimed at stimulating job growth in Illinois): 13 regional offices specialize in assisting companies with high growth potential. ECs accelerate entrepreneurial ventures by helping businesses connect with resources and funding, patents and products, money and markets. Centers also provide customized marketing strategies that drive product growth. Targeted to companies with high growth potential. Services include Access to capital; product licensing; access to technology; access to networks

ECs near us:

Illinois Technology (ITEC) Enterprise Centers
Targeted to Technology-based startup companies. Service include, Financing programs; training in technical and managerial skills; assistance with new product development and marketing

ITECs in Chicago:

Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC)
Targeted to existing businesses that are interested in selling their products and/or services to local, state, or federal government agencies. Services include one-on-one counseling, technical information, marketing assistance and training

PTACs near us:

Illinois International Trade Centers
Targeted to existing, new to-export companies interested in pursuing international trade opportunities Services include, evaluation of company’s readiness to export; access to foreign market information; documentation assistance; automated trade leads; and linkages with trade representatives. NAFTA Opportunity Centers (NOCs) provide specialized assistance to those firms seeking to take advantage of the trade opportunities in Mexico and Canada made possible by the North American Free Trade Agreement.

ITCs near us

The Manufacturing Extension Partnership of Illinois (MEPI)
Centers and affiliated support organizations help manufacturers with productivity, technology modernization, and enhanced business practices. Targeted to small and mid-sized Illinois manufacturers. Services include, identifying a company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats; report where a company stands on more than 50 performance indicators; manage projects to address various manufacturing needs including, but not limited to manufacturing modernization, quality assurance, best manufacturing practices, product development, and market development.

The Chicago Manufacturing Center (CMC) Serves the Metropolitan Chicago area

Small Business Environmental Assistance Program (SBEAP)
Targeted to businesses required to comply with state and federal air pollution regulations. Services include, a confidential helpline: 800-252-3998; Workshops; on-site visits; Clean Air Clips; consultant directory, and Environmental Resources

U.S. Export Assistance Centers
USEACs offer a full range of federal export programs and services from a number of federal agencies under one roof. Many locations have new-to-export programs called E-TAP.

  • 200 W. Adams Street, Suite 2450 / Zip Chicago, IL 60606, T: (312) 353-8065, F: (312) 353-8098, E: (

Women’s Business Centers
SBA’s network of more than 60 Women’s Business Centers (WBC) provide a wide range of services to women entrepreneurs at all levels of business development.

SBA Classroom
The Small Business Classroom is an on-line resource for training and informing entrepreneurs and other students of enterprise. The classroom is designed to educate and provide interactive business guidance on a variety of topics to many types of students. Besides “traditional” small business clients, the on-line classroom will benefit high school and college students, individuals with time and travel limitations, people with disabilities, international business resources and others.

More than 10,500 volunteers provide training and one-on-one counseling at no charge
In Chicago:

  • U.S. Small Business Administration 500 W. Madison St., Suite 1250 / Chicago, IL 60661, T: (312) 353-7724, F: (312) 886-5688
  • Chicago State University Business & Health Services 95th & Dr. Martin Luther King Dr./ Chicago, IL 60628, T: (773) 995-3938

Illinois Capital Access Program (CAP)
The Illinois Capital Access Program (CAP) is designed to encourage financial institutions to make loans to small and new businesses that do not qualify under conventional lending policies. CAP is a form of loan portfolio insurance, which provides additional reserve coverage to the lender on loan defaults. By participating in CAP, lenders have available to them a proven financing mechanism to meet the needs of financial institutions and Illinois small businesses.

Patriot Express Loan Initiative
The new Patriot Express loan is offered by SBA’s network of participating lenders nationwide and features our fastest turnaround time for loan approvals. Loans are available up to $500,000 and qualify for SBA’s maximum guaranty of up to 85 percent for loans of $150,000 or less and up to 75 percent for loans over $150,000 up to $500,000. For loans above $350,000, lenders are required to take all available collateral.

Enterprise Zone Program
The Illinois Enterprise Zone Program is designed to stimulate economic growth and neighborhood revitalization in economically depressed areas of the state. This is accomplished through state and local tax incentives, regulatory relief, and improved governmental services.