The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is committed to providing small businesses and entrepreneurs across the state with equitable access to opportunities and resources through individualized technical assistance by Regional Economic Development (RED) managers and the Office of Minority Economic Empowerment. Additional DCEO resources are available for small businesses, including:
Advantage Illinois – FAME: Fund for the Advancement of Minority Enterprises
Advantage Illinois is a participating loan program which provides funding for loans where borrowers have difficulty accessing traditional funding sources. DCEO takes subordinate position thereby reducing the lender’s risk. The rate for DCEO’s portion of loan is 2% less than lender. An offshoot of Advantage Illinois is Fund for Advancement of Minority Enterprises (FAME) Program. FAME program is for loans made to minority-, woman-, disabled-, and veteran-owned businesses.
Incentives and Tax Assistance
Illinois offers a competitive range of incentives for locating and expanding your business, including tax credits and exemptions that encourage business growth and job creation. Additional grant programs and access to loans can assist your business with working capital, machinery and equipment, land acquisition, building construction and public infrastructure improvements. And for those looking to invest in Illinois companies, early stage investment incentives are also available.
Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs)
Illinois Small Business Development Centers, 42 centers across the state, provide one-on-one business consultation; assistance with business, management and marketing plans; financial assessment and guidance; in-depth business training and more. The Illinois SBDC also provides specialized services in technology, innovation and entrepreneurial development. Click here to find a SBDC in your area.
Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC)
Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Centers are a portal for small businesses looking to enter the world of government contracting. The centers provide one-on-one counseling, technical information, marketing assistance and training to existing businesses interested in selling their goods and services to local, state, and/or federal government agencies. Click here to find a PTAC in your area.
Illinois SBDC international Trade Center (ITC)
Illinois SBDC International Trade Centers specialize in providing information, advising and training to existing and new to export companies interested in pursuing international trade opportunities. Click here to find an ITC in your area.
Illinois State Trade and Export Promotion (ISTEP)
ISTEP program provides small businesses with both financial and technical assistance to increase their exports, including: Trade Missions (GTM), Individual Foreign Market Sales Missions (IFMSM), and Product Compliance (PC), Website Localization (WL) and Export Education Program (EEP).
Small Business Environmental Assistance Program (SBEAP)
The Small Business Environmental Assistance Program is a non-regulatory program which provides free, confidential assistance to Illinois Small Businesses to help them succeed. Services include a toll-free helpline (800) 252-3998 for free and confidential regulatory questions, help in understanding how state and federal environmental regulations apply to your business, fact sheets summarizing various environmental rules, environmental recordkeeping tools, and resources for navigating environmental regulations.
Business Enterprise Program (BEP)
The Business Enterprise Program (BEP) assists businesses owned by minorities, women and people with disabilities gain access to the State of Illinois procurement process. BEP certification with the State of Illinois can also open the door to opportunities with other public and private entities which are looking for diverse suppliers. The FastTrack certification process allows reciprocity with City of Chicago and Cook County to provide a pathway to BEP certification in 7 days or less.
The Office of Employment and Training supports innovative workforce programs and career, training and employment services that connect employers to a highly skilled workforce. Providing assistance and resources for job seekers is central to Illinois’ commitment to ensuring that businesses thrive.
First Stop Business Information Center
The First Stop Business Information Center provides comprehensive information and technical support to businesses with questions and concerns about mitigations, government regulations and business assistance programs. Business specialists can be reached at 1-800-252-2923 or email@example.com. Para información en español por favor llamar al 1-800-252-2923 o envíe su mensaje por medio del correo electrónico a firstname.lastname@example.org.