ICNC is pleased to announce that we have expanded our microlending efforts, and can now make loans of up to $25,000 to qualified small businesses in Chicago. The need for capital is great in our business community, and we are proud to offer this option to companies looking to grow. Loans of this size are ideal for:
- Equipment purchases
- Financing large orders
- Hiring additional staff
- Building your business's credit
Application is a breeze: to get started, just fill out this online form and we will contact you shortly. For related questions, please contact program manager Denise Ching at ICNC.
Free Small Business Website Hosting and Assistance from Google
Internet giant Google has partnered with Intuit, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, and World Business Chicago to Get Your Businesses Online. 58% of Illinois small businesses have no website, even though 97% of consumers now shop for local products and services online. This resource allows business owners to create, edit, and publish a new website in about an hour, and will provide hosting and domain name free for one year. If you've been looking to build a web presence for your company, visit Illinois Get Online to get started.
|Mission: Small Business
$250,000 Business Grants Available
Chase and Living Social will distribute up to twelve grants of $250,000 each to winning small businesses as part of their Mission: Small Business program. Small business owners must describe why their business is unique, outline a proposed plan for utilizing the Grant to grow their business, and describe how the business is involved with its community. Applications are open until June 30th, so get yours in soon!
See program rules here.
DCEO Relaunches Advantage Illinois Participation Loan Program
Advantage Illinois is a shot in the arm for small business. By working in conjunction with the state's lending community and venture capitalists, the goal is to help entrepreneurs and small businesses start-up or expand, creating new jobs at a faster rate. DCEO seeks to encourage new bank lending to small businesses by purchasing portions of bank term loans and applying below market interest rates to DCEO's portion. There are now four new product lines to support businesses with projects that create or retain jobs and/or modernize their business to improve competitiveness:
1. Standard Participation Loan Program (PLP)
2. Minority/Women/Disabled/Veteran-Owned Businesses (MWDV PLP)
3. Revolving Line of Credit (RLOC PLP)
4. SBA Supported Activity
After a cursory review of the business plan, DCEO facilitates a meeting with the prospective borrower's bank. If the bank is unwilling to support project on its own, DCEO approximates the amount of Advantage Illinois participation. If new terms are acceptable to the bank, bank issues a loan commitment to the business contingent on DCEO and Advantage Illinois support.
To learn more and apply, contact a participating bank here.
Free Eight-Week Small Business Boot Camp for Entrepreneurs
Citi Community Development, in collaboration with The Monroe Foundation, Kennedy-King College, and Dawson Technical Institute, is offering a free small business development program open to low- to moderate-income residents of Bronzeville, Englewood, Englewood West, South Shore, Washington Park, and Woodlawn.
This is an 8-week certificate entrepreneurship training program (Wednesday evenings from June 6th to July 12th) that will teach participants the fundamentals of successfully planning, starting, and financing a small business venture in Illinois and assist entrepreneurs with obtaining financing.
Workshop topics include the basics of starting a business, structuring a business plan, budgeting and cash flow, and applying for a loan. To receive registration information, email your name, address, zip code, telephone number, and email address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
|State Procurement Contracts Reserved for Small Businesses|
The Small Business Set-Aside Program awarded $57 million in procurement contracts to small Illinois firms last year. State purchases in 64 service and product classifications have been set aside for small businesses, and the State provides steady demand for those vendors with a record of quality service. Eligibility and application information is available here.
To learn more about government contracting opportunities, register for this free webinar through the Women's Business Development Center. The contracts are out there: learn how to take advantage of them in this small-group session led by WBDC business counselors.
Tuesday, June 5th
BACP and IRS Partner for Free Small Business Tax Counseling
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will be at the BACP Small Business Solution Station from 9:30am to 3:00pm on June 29th and July 27th. The IRS will have bilingual (Spanish/English) staff on hand doing free one-on-one consultations for small business owners on all tax-related matters.
Stop by the Small Business Solution Station every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to get free business counseling, legal assistance, and financial and loan assistance from our trusted non-profit partner agencies.
Last Fridays This Summer:
June 29th, July 27th
BACP Small Business Solution Station - City Hall
121 N. LaSalle Street, Rm 800
Five City Agencies Adopt Procurement Gift Bans
Following requests from city government and an Ethics Reform Task Force report, the Chicago Park District, City Colleges, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Transit Authority, and Chicago Housing Authority have passed new rules forbidding the acceptance of gifts of any value by procurement officials from would-be vendors. According to the Task Force's report, city and agency rules regarding procurement gifts had heretofore been unclear and inconsistent.
Pastoral to Open Lakeview Bistro
ICNC tenant Pastoral, purveyors of fine cheese, bread, and wine, will open Bar Pastoral this fall next to its Lakeview location. The menu will feature Pastoral's artisanal selections, plus cocktails, creative dishes, and immersion in rustic ambiance. ICNC congratulates Pastoral on the expansion!
Photo: Chicago Tribune
Cooper Technica in the News
Check out this Chicago Tribune article on vintage auto restorer and ICNC member Cooper Technica! Follow principal David Cooper as he tracks down an ultra-rare 1937 Delage D8-120 across three countries.
ICNC Member Spotlight: Supreme Novelty Fabrics
Since 1931, Supreme Novelty Fabrics has offered high-quality textiles, trims, buttons, and lace, and is Chicago's only source for custom fabric printing. With their new digital printing service, SNF can bring your design or business logo to life on fabric, or build a custom pattern with you from the ground up. For more information about pricing and file requirements, e-mail email@example.com.
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.
Free Digital Marketing Webinars from Social Mapp Media
The digital marketing landscape is changing. Social media has become a battleground for consumer attention, and mobile media is set to outpace desktop browsing within a few years. To ensure that your business stays competitive, new ICNC Member Social Mapp Media is offering a monthly, free webinar series on effective digital marketing.
This month: Facebook Timeline for Your Business: What You Need to Know. This session will detail the changes Facebook has made to business pages, provide action items for making the most of the new layout, and share strategies and best practices. Register for this free webinar here!
Sunday, June 3rd
Fashion and Fabric Industry Roundtable
Do you work with fashion or fabrics? If so, this event is "tailored" for you! Meet other area industry people and learn about available free assistance and incentives. This is a free event, so register today!
Wednesday, June 6th
320 N. Damen Ave.
How to Buy Electricity Without Losing Your Shirt
The marketplace for electricity is expanding: this informational event will help you navigate this new landscape. Join Sandee Whited of Energy Purchasing Services, Inc. on Thursday, June 14th for a discussion on competitive power pricing, the pros and cons of working with an electricity supplier, how to protect your business from bad supplier contracts, and more.
Energy Purchasing Services (EPS) is a professional energy consulting firm, not compensated by any supplier, offering expert services to companies located in northern Illinois. EPS utilizes over 25 years of industry experience to help public, commercial and industrial entities develop strategies for purchasing and managing their energy requirements.
Join us at ICNC for this free event!
Thursday, June 14th
Mark Your Calendars: ICNC's Next Lead Breakfast is July 12th
Meet your neighbors and build leads at this popular and free
ICNC event! Join dozens of local business owners in making connections and increasing awareness of your product. Register here!Thursday, July 12th
8:00am-9:30amDoors open at 7:30
| Sign-up for FREE Computer Classes
Upcoming classes include:
Creating a Website via WIX Pt. 2
MS Word 1 & 2
MS Excel 1 & 2
MS Access 1 & 2
Start your own blog in Wordpress
Tuesday, June 5: 1pm-4pm
Thursday, June 7: 12pm-4pm
Tuesday, June 12: 12pm-4pm
Thursday, June 14:12pm-4pm
Tuesday, June 19: 11am-4pm
Thursday, June 21:12pm-4pm
Tuesday, June 26: 12pm-4pm
Thursday, June 28:1pm-4pm
Social Media for Small Business
Social Media has evolved online advertising, brand building and customer relationship management, democratized online publishing, and given small businesses the same opportunities for reaching consumers as their larger competitors. During the course of this hour-long webinar, Troy Kelley, Managing Director of R/GA will discuss some best practices for small businesses in defining the role of social media in a communications strategy.
Tuesday, June 19th
Why social media is important for connecting with customers;
How to incorporate social media in a communications strategy;
What social media channels are the best fit for your business.
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