Government Financing Programs

City of Chicago: Small Business Improvement Fund

Grants to Revitalize Chicago’s Neighborhood Businesses

The SBIF Program uses Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Revenues to assist owners and tenants of commercial and industrial properties with financing for permanent building improvements. Program participants can receive reimbursement grants covering 25%, 50%, or 75% of approved project costs. Grants are provided after an approved project is complete and all expenses are paid.

Maximum Grant Amount

  • Industrial Property: $150,000 per property
  • Single Tenant Commercial Property: $100,000 per property
  • Multi-Tenant Commercial Property: $50,000 per owner/tenant with a limit of $250,000 per total property

Eligibility Requirements

  • Commercial Tenants: Average annual gross sales less than $5,000,000 during the past 3 years
  • Commercial Owner/Occupied and/or Landlord: Maximum personal net worth (cumulative among owners) of $6 million and maximum total liquidity of $500,000, Commercial Tenant sales requirements also apply
  • Industrial: Maximum of 100 full-time equivalent employees
  • Ineligible Businesses: Bars, massage parlors, national chains/franchises, similar uses
  • Additional eligibility requirements may apply

Eligible Expenses for SBIF Grant

  • Permanent Exterior Improvements: Storefront repairs or replacement, new windows and doors, roofing
  • Building Systems Improvements: HVAC, electrical, plumbing
  • Tuck-Pointing and masonry repairs
  • Structural components of new signage: business specific aspects of new signage are not eligible
  • Interior Remodeling: Framing, drywall, flooring, ceilings (cosmetic upgrades alone are not eligible)
  • Improvements to accommodate disabled patrons or workers
  • Purchase of adjacent property for business expansion or parking (current property/business owners only)

Additional Requirements

  • Exterior Improvements: Approved grants for commercial properties greater than $25,000 must use at least 10% of their approved grant toward permanent exterior improvements
  • Mixed-Use Properties: Residential components of mixed-use properties are not eligible
  • Renovation of vacant property is eligible, but grants are not paid until the space is leased by an eligible tenant

Submitting an Application for SBIF Grant

Applications are taken during application acceptance periods (30-day time frames) per TIF District. Application acceptance period occurs if there is a balance of SBIF funding in a specific TIF District, or, following a new allocation of funding from the City of Chicago.

Please contact the LACC for additional information regarding the SBIF Grant Program.


U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Loan Guarantee Program

Basic 7(a)

  • Amount: $5 Million Maximum. SBA’s limit to any one business is $3.75 Million so a business can have multiple loans guaranteed by SBA but the guaranteed portion combined cannot exceed $3.75 Million
  • Maturity: Based on the use of proceeds and borrower’s ability to repay, maximum maturity: 10 years for working capital (7 years is common), 10 years for fixed assets, 25 years for real estate
  • Use of Proceeds: To acquire land, purchase existing building; convert, expand or renovate buildings; acquire and install fixed assets; acquire inventory; purchase supplies and raw materials; purchase a business, start a business, leasehold improvements, term working capital; and, under certain conditions, to refinance certain outstanding debts

Seasonal CAPlines

  • Amount: $5 Million Maximum
  • Maturity: 10 years
  • Use of Proceeds: To finance seasonal increases of accounts receivable, inventory and labor

Contract CAPlines

  • Amount: $5 Million Maximum
  • Maturity: 10 years
  • Use of Proceeds: To finance the cost of one or more specific contracts, sub-contracts, or purchase orders, including overhead or general and administrative expenses, allocable to the specific contract(s)

Builders CAPlines

  • Amount: $5 Million Maximum
  • Maturity: Maximum of 3 years to disburse and build or renovate
  • Use of Proceeds: To finance direct expenses related to the construction and/or “substantial” renovation costs of specific residential or commercial buildings for resale, including labor, supplies, materials, equipment rental, direct fees, the cost of land is potentially eligible

Working Capital CAPlines

  • Amount: $5 Million Maximum
  • Maturity: 10 years
  • Use of Proceeds: To finance short-term working capital and operating needs, including to finance export sales

SBA Express Lender Structured Loans or Lines of Credit

  • Amount: $350,000 Maximum
  • Maturity: If revolving, 7-years, including term out period
  • Use of Proceeds: To finance working capital

504 Loan Program

  • Amount: SBA portion of financing can generally be up to $5 Million but may be up to $5.5 Million for manufacturing businesses or energy saving public policy goals
  • Maturity: Based on the use of proceeds, 20 years for real estate; 10 years for machinery and equipment
  • Use of Proceeds: To finance acquisition of long-term fixed assets, equipment with a useful life of at least 10 years; to refinance loan-term fixed asset debt under certain conditions; working capital under certain conditions; to reduce energy consumption, and to upgrade renewable energy resources