Access to Capital: ICNC's Revolving Loan Fund
ICNC understands the challenge facing small-business owners who need capital, but do not qualify for large bank loans. Our Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) was created to address the needs of Near West Side companies in this position. The RLF provides business loans on competitive terms in amounts of up to $12,500. These small loans are perfect for equipment purchases, website upgrades, or financing a large incoming order.
The RLF is actively lending. If your business is seeking short-term capital, we urge you to apply now while money is still available. To learn more and apply for an RLF Loan online, visit ICNC or contact RLF Manager Denise Ching.
Click here to see a map of the RLF's service area.
Small Business Victory: Health Insurance Cooperatives a Reality
The Illinois Department of Insurance has determined that no legislation is needed to allow small businesses, their employees, and entrepreneurs to form self-insured cooperatives as an alternative to large health insurance providers. ICNC had previously backed a set of bills in the Illinois General Assembly to allow for such cooperatives, which will stabilize the cost of health insurance for small firms. ICNC congratulates the Small Business Advocacy Council and all Illinois businesses that will benefit from this decision.
City and County to Streamline Minority- and Women-Owned Business Certification
This week Mayor Rahm Emanuel and County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced a plan to streamline the certification process for Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses. The certification will now be reciprocal, requiring an application to only one of the two governments, but recognized by both. Application for M/WBE certification will now cost a one-time fee of $250, utilize one common application, and will certify the business to both entities for a period of three years. The new program awaits Cook County Board approval, and is expected to spur job growth.
Looking to take advantage of this opportunity? See below for details on our How to Get Certified Event at ICNC on Wednesday, April 18th.
Small Business Energy Savings: Slash Your Energy Costs with Upgrade Incentives
ComEd and Peoples Gas have partnered to offer a suite of incentive programs designed to yield consistent energy savings to your business with minimal investment. The Small Business Energy Savings (SBES) program provides no-cost assessments of your facility's energy usage (whether you own the building or not), including immediate, free installation of energy-saving fixtures like faucet aerators and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). Larger, prescriptive measures like boiler tune-ups and steam trap repairs may be subsidized up to 70%. Other dollars-per-unit upgrade incentives are available, as are subsidies for your own custom retrofit projects.
Whether industrial, office, restaurant, or retail, your business can enjoy a quick return on investment and years of energy savings. To find out more, visit the ComEd SBES and Peoples Gas SBES pages, or the Commercial and Industrial Solutions page at ComEd for available programs and incentives.
Learn more at this event: Energy Efficiency Incentives for Your Business, Wednesday, April 18th, 3-4:30 pm, Chicago City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St., Room 805.
Education to Grow your Business: Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses
Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses at the City Colleges of Chicago is a practical business management education program that helps small business owners develop the skills they need to grow their companies. Participants will receive one-on-one business counseling from dedicated professionals to help them develop a tailored plan for growth. This $500 million national program is designed to help small businesses in the United States create jobs and economic growth by providing entrepreneurs with a practical business education, access to capital, and business support services.
Applications are due at the City Colleges of Chicago on April 23, 2012 at 5pm. After you have submitted your application, you will receive an email confirming its receipt and information regarding the July 2012 class for which you are being considered.
Learn more here!
Current and Former Board Members Honored at Women Making History Awards
In timing with Women's History Month, Chicago City Treasurer Stephanie Neely honored three women entrepreneurs at the Second Annual Women Making History Awards on March 28th. Among the
winners this year were current ICNC Board Member Alexis Leverenz of Kitchen Chicago and former ICNC Board President Christy Webber of Christy Webber Landscapes. Congratulations Alexis and Christy!
ICNC New Member Spotlight: Brook Electric
Mayor Announces $7.2 Billion Infrastructure Plan
"Building a New Chicago," the infrastructure plan announced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel last week, seeks to raise Chicago's profile with improvements to CTA rail lines, expanded parklands, increased investment in Chicago Public Schools, and the creation of a public-private infrastructure bank. Developed in partnership with several large, private investors, the projects outlined are not expected to require tax increases. Read the Mayor's announcement and press release here.
Summer Comes Early: It's Sidewalk Café Season
If the weather hasn't been any clue, Chicago's sidewalk café season is in full effect. Remember, your business needs to have a valid city Sidewalk Café permit to operate one, so sign up now to take advantage of the full nine-month season. See this information packet for more.
Protect Your Intellectual Property: Introducing Advitam IP
Longtime ICNC member Richard Gurak, along with business partner Michele Katz, has launched a new legal firm, Advitam IP. Richard has conducted many seminars for ICNC members and assisted them to protect copyrights, trademarks, and patents. Advitam's focus is on helping clients protect intellectual property in the U.S. and globally. Good luck with the venture!
ICNC Member-to-Member Discounts!
Have you checked out ICNC's Member Discounts page? Enjoy savings on everything from flowers to fasteners, all from fellow ICNC Member businesses. New this month:
See Spot Run has been providing quality care to urban canines for twelve years. ICNC members may now take 20% off all training, overnight boarding, and daycare services.
McKlein USA manufactures high-quality leather and nylon handbags, luggage, briefcases, laptop cases, and more. See here for details on a 30% member discount.
Sales Lead Lists in Latin American Markets from ICNC's International Trade Center
Looking for buyers in Latin America? The International Trade Center at ICNC can put together a sales lead list of the top buyers of products like yours so your sales department can get to work finding new customers! U.S.-Latin America merchandise trade has grown almost 85% in the last 15 years (faster than Asia and the E.U.), and a number of emerging markets have made the region a top priority for exporters. Thanks to new electronic resources in our toolkit, the ITC can now identify the top importing companies of products like yours in Chile, Colombia, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. Trade information is also available for Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, Argentina and more. And as always, trade research and other export assistance is free. To find out how ICNC can help your business increase its exports, contact ITC Director Steve DeBretto.
ICNC-Won't You Join Us?
What did ICNC do for its members last year?:
- Facilitated more than $1M in grants and loans.
- Provided direct access to political leaders from Alderman Burnett to Congressman Danny Davis & Senator Dick Durbin.
- Advocated for business friendly issues on behalf of members by serving on both city and state advisory bodies.
- Assisted companies with city regulatory issues.
- Upgraded job skills with FREE training in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, QuickBooks, etc.
- Provided business development assistance to new and expanding companies.
- Increased sales through international trade assistance, marketing seminars and a business reference database.
- Assisted more than 100 small business tenants in the world's largest incubator.
- Presented a host of free seminars from SEO to HR Law.
- Hosted a number of networking events.
- Promoted member companies on NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, WCPT & WLFM.
- Shared conference room and computer room space at no-cost to members.
- Gave out A LOT of FREE FOOD AND BEER!
Not a member yet? Well what are you waiting for? You can join online here, or for more information, contact Andrew at ICNC.
| Sign-up for FREE Computer Classes
Upcoming classes include:
Back to Basics
PowerPoint 1 & 2
Word 1 & 2
Access 1 & 2
Digital Marketing 101
Excel Level 1
Excel Level 2
Tuesday-April 3: 12pm-4pm
Thursday-April 5: 11am-3pm
Tuesday-April 10: 11am-4pm
Thursday-April 12: 11am-4pm
Tuesday-April 17: 11am-4pm
Thursday-April 19: 12pm-4pm
Tuesday-April 24: 1pm-4pm
Thursday-April 26: 1pm-4pm
How to Get Certified as a MBE/WBE/DBE and Doing Business with the Government
Have you considered certifying your business as a Minority, Women or Disadvantaged Business Enterprise? Do you want to do business with the Government but are unsure about how to get started? Join us for a workshop on How to Get Certified and Doing Business with the Government presented by Adrian Soto from the Procurement Technical Assistance Center at the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Wednesday, April 18th
Mark Your Calendars: Chicago Small Business Expo Oct. 5th
The Chicago City Treasurer's Small Business Expo has been scheduled for October 5th, 2012 at the UIC Forum. This yearly event features dozens of local business, nonprofit, and government exhibitors, six workshop sessions, and plenty of networking opportunities. Find out more at the Expo website or sign up for updates from the Office of the City Treasurer.
Check ICNC's website for low-cost incubator space with free business assistance and resources, located at the Fulton Carroll Center. The site displays info on available spaces including prices and descriptions.
Current spaces available include a 1,021 sf. unit with a great usable floor plan, Corner unit so lots of light and tall ceilings, and access to freight elevators and common bathrooms. Monthly rent is approximately $812. Call ICNC for an appointment to see this or other spaces.
Other space available:
- 4,217 sf. Great usable floor plan. First floor, light industrial Overhead door and exterior loading dock access. Restroom plumbing nearby, concrete floors throughout.Monthly rent is approximately $2,398.
- 10, 678 sf. Great usable floor plan. Overhead door and exterior loading dock access, personal freight. Restroom plumbing in space, concrete floors. 14' ceilings. Monthly rent is approximately $4,449