Soul Delivered – locally owned, community delivery services

Caterers – You do the cooking, leave the delivery to Soul Delivered 

Soul Delivered, a community delivery service to South Side neighborhoods 51st to 95th,  Western Ave to the Lake. Providing businesses an affordable delivery option.  Locally owned, social enterprise teaching businesses financial analysis to increase revenue and profits. Helping to develop their staffs for a higher productivity operation and output.  Guiding the business’s digital presence with website development, online ordering, social media marketing, and patron database development

Short video:   

Soul Delivered General Flyer


Website for more information 

Democratic National Convention August 19th - 22nd


The Democratic National Convention is coming to Chicago August 19-22, 2024, and we are pleased to partner with the Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) and our other Convention partners to showcase our city and state’s wonderful, diverse vendors & partners. By utilizing the best local businesses across a range of service sectors, the Host Committee seeks to ensure that Illinoisans are able to experience the benefits of this Convention.

Please complete the following Vendor Interest Form if you are interested in contracting with the Host Committee, DNCC, or with other activities surrounding the week of the Convention. Complete the survey at  Your information will be posted in the Vendor Directory once the Vendor team has reviewed your submission.

If you are an Event Venue/Restaurant Operator interested in hosting 2024 DNC and affiliated events, please also complete the Venue Portal Form when prompted at the end of this process.

For information on a specific request for proposal (RFP) related to the Convention, please visit our RFP Information Page.


If you have questions regarding the Vendor Interest Form, please contact


Hospitality Webinar  Nov 23rd, 2023    View Recording (YouTube)  

Transportation  Webinar  Feb 5th    View Recording (YouTube)    

Democratic National Convention  Website 


Early Stage Food Incubator - FoodLab

Greater Chatham Initiative’s is please to offer our foodservice establishing entrepreneurs the Early Start Food Incubator program. This Innovation FoodLab 12-months program will provide in-depth interpersonal insightful, educational program sessions designed for high growth/high impact chefs, restauranteurs, culinary artists, food truck vendors, bakeries, and caterers who are looking to take their businesses to the next level. The purpose of the Early Food Incubator is much needed, for it provides public facing commercial kitchen and learning lab on Chicago’s south side. 

Incubator Application HERE

Healthy Cooking Demonstration    Save the Date:   June 18th   1:30 – 5pm  Healthy Hub Auburn Gresham  839 West 79th Street Chicago, IL 60620
The Innovation FoodLab program will serve participants will the following:
  • Receive one-on-one high-touch individualized coaching
  • Group culinary innovation demonstration
  • An opportunity to develop/evolve your specialty plates or Consumer Packaged Goods utilizing professional kitchen equipment in a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen
  • Utilize the commercial kitchen as a foodservice participant can work on your own or collaborate with a teaching chef to uproot your kitchen management technique
  • Work with restauranteurs to make your food servings more nutritionally dense with fewer caloric intake but with the same taste efficiency, cultural legacy, while utilizing healthier preparation methods. 
At the end of the Innovation FoodLab 12-months program, GCI and the program will have experimented with diverse type of plates and African-diaspora cuisine to share its techniques and equipment Chicagoland chefs during four (4) stadium style teaching sessions. 
Additional, the Innovation FoodLab program will work with restaurant specialists with the purpose to establish the following:
  • Plates or consumer packaged goods priced analysis based on ingredient costs and the market
  • Plates or consumer packaged goods improved descriptions 
  • Consumer packaged good entrepreneurs nutritional and marketing consulting and support services to assist with expanding your product placement with its competitive market
  • Optimize participant’s existence kitchen layout
  • Best practice in USDA healthy eating standards and guidelines
  • Stadium four-plate makeover demonstration sessions

FoodLab Incubator More Info HERE

Incubator Application HERE



If every plate is profitable, then the food business will be profitable.


FoodLab Chicago 5.0 has  completed.  Congrats to the graduates!  Application Page Link  


Sorry if you missed our Menu Engineering & Story Telling event We should present it again in the late fall.    Free.    Limited, free one-on-one consulting available.

Details HERE 

Open to all food service providers – restaurants, caterers, foodtrucks.   Also available a limited number of free one-on-one menu consultations.


What is Menu Engineering?

Menu engineering is part science, part art. By utilizing data, research, and industry knowledge, restaurateurs and operators can make impactful decisions on their menus to produce specific, measurable results in profitability and guest satisfaction.

Simply put, Menu Engineering is how we build powerful and profitable menus!


What will you learn?

  • Menu Trends
  • Menu Engineering Principles & Our Circular Development Cycle
  • The Growth-Share Matrix
  • Item Pricing & Positioning
  • Menu Update Planning
  • Menu Strategies & tactics to drive sales and profits

Why is Menu Engineering important?

  • Ongoing menu engineering has the potential to increase restaurant profits by 10-15%
    (source: Menu Cover Depot)● Highlights your more profitable menu items
  • Eliminating poor-performing items from the menu, helping your food costs
  • Improves customer satisfaction

Selected FoodLab Chicago Alumni using menu engineering techniques have increased their revenues from 3% to 38%

FoodLab Chicago website

                                                                                                                                               Foodlab 5.0 Flyer           

FoodLab Chicago 5.0 is an insightful, educational program designed for food based businesses who are looking to take their businesses to the next level. 

Since its launch, FoodLab Chicago has assisted 62 Black-owned South Side Chicago businesses. Selected participants have acquired over $6.6 million in grants and loans and increased their profits with menu engineering from 3% to 38%.

FoodLab Chicago seeks to support Black and Brown food service entrepreneurs who have been operating for at least 18 months and are located in Chicago.

Attend weekly in-person sessions each Monday from 9:00 am to 12:00pm.

Topics include Menu Engineering, Plate Costing, Food Service Accounting Management, Marketing, and more…



Maximize Your Restaurants Profits prior programs


This is a program of the Greater Chatham Initiative

More information:  Rhea Steele        773-644-1451


Once again thank you to our sponsors



Open AI’s ChatGPT & Dall-E for small business marketing

BACP Business Support Tools        

Leveraging Open AI’s ChatGPT & Dall-E  for small business marketing,  April 19th

Want to know what AI (Artificial Intelligence) is about and the tools that can help your business.  Watch the below excellent webinar.

Presented by:  Dyani Marvel, VP of Marketing  Strategy and Operations  Wondr Nation


Digital Presence in action
We talk aboutknowing your numbersto make data-driven decisions.
We talk aboutdeveloping your team”  so you can workONyour versus alwaysINyour business.
Third, you hear us speak about the need fordigital presence”  here is one example:

Way To Save This Struggling Restaurant, And It’s Proof That There Really Is A “Good Side” Of Social Media  “I think I’ve seen around a thousand customers daily, which is crazy to think about considering we used to have about 5 to 10 customers a day.”

Read in BuzzFeed:

Sources for economic support


The 2023 Source Grant - Cook County

       Cook County $20,000 grants    deadline August 25th

The Cook County Small Business Source proudly introduces The 2023 Source Grant, which will provide $40 Million in grants to small businesses to help stabilize operations, foster recovery and resiliency, and advance equity in a post-pandemic economy.   $20,000 grants.  All applications will be reviewed, it is not first come first served.


2023 Awardees:  2023-source-grant-awardee-list_a.o_02.02.24_final

Businesses located in Cook County with fewer than 20 full-time employees that were in business prior to 2020 are eligible to apply.

County website:  HERE


We Rise Together Storefront Activation Grants

 We Rise Together

Storefront Activation Grants

The We Rise Together grant will provide operating grants of up to $12,500 to eligible businesses that wish to expand into a physical storefront.




  • Retail space must be located in one of the following community areas: Auburn Gresham, Austin, Back of the Yards, Englewood, Gage Park, North Lawndale, South Lawndale, South Shore, Washington Park, West Lawn
  • Business must have generated at least two years of sales
  • 2022  Tax Return 


More information and application:

Hello Alice Small Business Grants

Progressive Casualty Insurance $50,000 commercial vehicle grants 

Deadline   June 14, 2024 at 6:00PM ET.


Progressive is dedicating  $1 million to award 20 deserving businesses with $50,000 grants each to purchase a needed commercial vehicle. 

And that’s not all – recipients will also get access to an exclusive 12-week virtual Boost Camp coaching program, designed to equip business owners with the tools & resources to help them achieve their growth objectives.

  • Be a for-profit business located and registered in one of the fifty United States or the District of Columbia; excluding US Territories;
  • Have 10 or fewer employees and less than $5M in annual gross revenue;
  • Have demonstrated need for a qualifying commercial vehicle and have a clear plan for growth as as result of this vehicle purchase;
  • Businesses may not be an independent contractor whose primary business is for a rideshare service such as Uber or Lyft, or third-party food delivery such as UberEats, DoorDash, PostMates, Grubhub, Instacart, etc.
  1. go to; (2) create an account or log in if you already have an account; and, (3) complete and submit application (“Entry”). The full list of Entry questions can be found in the application form at




  • Entries will be reviewed by Sponsor, Progressive Casualty Insurance Company and/or their designated agencies (“Panel”) based on the following criteria:
    • Demonstrated need for funds to purchase a commercial vehicle (40%)
    • Clear plan for growth as a result of a vehicle purchase (40%)
    • Demonstrated commitment to customers and community (20%)




Hello Alice Grants HERE



KIVA Micro-loan program

Kiva is a 501(c)3 U.S. nonprofit fueled by passionate people. Founded in 2005, and based in San Francisco, with offices in Bangkok, Nairobi, Portland and staff around the globe.     

4.4 million borrowers, 77 countries, 2.1 million lenders, funded $1.8 billion in loans, 96.4% repayment rate

Loans from $1,000 – $15,000        0% interest, no fees,paid back over 36 months

Administered by our friends at the Women’s Business Development Center     matching lending from LISC  Chicago  


KIVA  borrowing     more details







  1. Apply to KIVA through the WBDC
  2. $1,000 – $15,000 as determined by KIVA
  3. Invite friends and family to join in your campaign with a $25 loan (will be repaid)
  4. Then your project is opened to KIVA’s 1.6 million participants, and you have 30 days for them to sign up with their $25+ participation.  LISC will match $ for $ each KIVA participant/lender

0% interest, 0% fees,  paid back to all lenders/participants over 36 months.

For more information, reach out to:

John Handler      


LISC Kevin Hart and The Coramino Fund $10,000 Grants




Kevin Hart and Gran Coramino tequila (The Coramino Fund)  to provide $10,000 grants to 50 Black and Latin-owned businesses around the country priority to firms in distressed areasDeadline for application 10:00pm CST Tuesday,  December 5th

Application is pretty quick and easy.  Two discussion questions (below), no documentation is required at this time.

The program provides $10,000 grants to Black and Latinx entrepreneurs. The grants are designed to foster business growth, with flexible uses including but not limited to:

  • Hiring new staff or promoting existing staff to bring a new product or service to market;
  • Purchasing equipment to add a new product or service to the business offerings;
  • Upgrading physical space to better serve customers; and
  • Launching a marketing and promotional campaign to attract more customers


If selected as a finalist back-up proof will be requested.

LISC Website  HERE



LISC Uber Black Restaurant Fund


LISC and Uber team up for the Black Restaurant Fund   $50,000 – $250,000 growth capital loans to help fuel 35 businesses over the next three years

The Growth Capital Program seeks to provide access to flexible, growth-oriented capital to entrepreneurs. These investment dollars are not intended to be used as working capital and are not a replacement for debt financing. Instead, these investments are intended to fully fund a well thought out business expansion/growth plan. Investee businesses will repay LISC if/when their expansion plan succeeds. Please see a full description of the investment terms and structure here.

This initiative is an unsecured financing program focusing on Black-owned restaurants or food service businesses. The funds enable business owners to cover costs related to business growth and expansion plans or necessary technology, infrastructure, insurance, or certification expenditures that will help stabilize the business and create opportunity for additional revenue streams.  $50,000 – $250,000

Growth capital is a patient, low cost, revenue-based financing product designed to allow business owners the time they need to invest in and stabilize their business before repayment begins. Unlike a traditional loan product, growth capital does not have fixed repayment terms. Instead, business owners begin repaying a percentage of their revenue each quarter, once their business plan proves successful.

Who is eligible for the program?

This program is open to restaurants and food services businesses nationally. Additionally, focus will be given to businesses with:

  1. Annual revenues above $250,000 and below $3,000,000
  2. Black-owned businesses
  3. 2 years or more in business
  4. Restaurants registered on Uber Eats
  5. Sole proprietors and nonprofit organizations are not eligible for the program

How is this financing structured?

LISC will fully fund a growth or expansion plan, up to $250,000. The business will have a minimum of one year before repayment begins. After one year, the investment will start to repay one quarter after the business hits pre-agreed revenue targets. The business will pay a share of its revenue, as long as revenues are greater than revenues at time LISC provides funding plus the LISC investment amount. The revenue share split will be based on a three-year par recovery of the investment. However, the business will make payments to LISC through the earlier to occur of (x) full repayment to LISC of its revenue share or (y) five years from LISC’s investment. After the end of the investment term, the business will not be required to make further payments to LISC. The revenue share will be capped at a multiple of 1.5X LISC’s original investment.  $100,000 investment pay back $150,000 over three years, up to five years.


Documents required:

Businesses seeking growth capital will need to be prepared to submit at minimum:

  1. Business/growth plan that outlines plans for expansion and job creation
  2. Business and Owner Tax Returns
  3. Interim Business and Owner Financial Statements (P&L and Balance Sheet)
  4. Business Debt Schedule
  5. Articles of Incorporation (Corporation) or Organization (LLC)
  6. Certificate of Good Standing


Apply HERE   

Application questions to be answered:

+ Please specify the primary purpose of these investment dollars. Include a detailed description or your current business plan and a description of how you would use this investment to expand your business/operations

+ How much money would you like to request from this program in order to execute your business expansion plan? (requests must be for amounts between $50,000 and $250,000)

+ Please explain exactly what you would spend the above requested dollars on.

+ Please describe the competitive landscape where you are operating. This will include a description of other businesses that you currently compete with as well as businesses you may be newly competing with given your expansion plan. This should also include an explanation of why you believe you will be successful, given this landscape.

+ How many jobs do you believe you will add as a result of this business expansion plan?

+ General comments or any other information about you and/or your business that you would like to share with us.


For more information on the Black Restaurant Fund

LISC monitors inquiries sent to


Grow with Google Digital Coaches

Now Available: Virtual Workshops for Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs


Main Street America and Grow with Google have teamed up to help business owners gain new skills through local Digital Coaches. Through the Grow with Google Digital Coaches program, 10 coaches in small towns across America are offering live trainings and hands-on coaching on tops like how to connect with customers, sell more products online, and improve business productivity – all for free.

Starting in September and continuing through November, Grow with Google Digital Coaches will host a series of both live and on-demand virtual workshops for small business owners. These workshops are free and open to all small business owners and entrepreneurs across the network, beyond the 10 states hosting in-person trainings.

Learn more about each workshop and find registration details   HERE

Verizon / LISC Small Business Digital Ready

Verizon / LISC Small Business Digital Ready Online Curriculum

and $10,000 grant opportunity      Deadline June 28th, 2024

This comes around again

Online curriculum is designed to give small businesses tools to succeed in today’s digital world.  Learning modules can help your business thrive with topics such as SEO, working remotely, and finance management.  Learning modules, expert coaching, peer networking, and more.  Pretty good content,  worth your time investment,

Register for a free online curriculum.  Complete any combination of two courses, coaching events, and virtual community events  to unlock the application for a $10,000 grant in partnership with LISC. Grant applications must be submitted by  June 28th, 2024  to be considered. Not all applicants will receive funding.

Application is quick.   Two discussion questions

  1. General comments or any other information about you and/or your business that you would like to share with us, including how this would help you grow your business.   (1,000 characters)
  2. Please describe any ways you have connected with your local community through your business  (1,000 characters)


More program details HERE

Program sign-up HERE

Need help registering?
Email or call +1(800)-916-4351

SBA – Economic Injury Disaster Loan Assistance (EIDL)

           EIDL application period ended December 31st 2021 .   


Did you receive a PPP or COVID EIDL loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for under $100,000? SBA will begin referring defaulted PPP and COVID EIDL borrowers with loans under $100,000 to the U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service for collection beginning March 4, 2024.

Impacted borrowers must take action before March 3, 2024.

What does this mean? 

Small business borrowers who are referred to Treasury and IRS for collection may face significant consequences, including: 

  • Negative impact on credit scores;
  • Withholding of future state and federal tax refunds and any potential federal government funding (such as social security); and,  
  • Referral of your loan to private debt collectors to pursue repayment, who may use tactics like wage garnishment.?? 




  • Many COVID EIDL loans are eligible for hardship assistance, payment plans, or other accommodations. For more information regarding COVID EIDL loans or available relief options visit Manage your EIDL at
  • If you have a COVID EIDL loan and need to establish a repayment plan or make a payment, you can access your loan through the MySBA Portal. For loans over $200,000, borrowers will need to contact the COVID EIDL Servicing Cetner directly at to discuss hardship assistance. 


Important: you must apply for PPP loan forgiveness or bring your COVID EIDL loan into good standing before March 3, 2024.  After this date, defaulted borrowers may accrue additional non-forgivable fees, fines and face other collections actions.



PPP:  If you need additional assistance with your PPP direct forgiveness application, contact SBA at 877-552-2692 (Monday-Friday 8am-8pm EST). 

COVID EIDL:  If you need assistance with your COVID EIDL loan, contact SBA at 833-853-5638 (Monday -Saturday 8am-8pm EST), or email with your loan or application number and the reason for your request in the subject line.


Important SCAM alert

PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) ended May 31st, 2021.    We have heard of scammers telling people PPP is opening again and to sign up.  They ask for all your personal and business information, bank accounts,  etc.  Beware!

New Reforms for SBA’s Community Advantage Loan Program

On March 30, 2022, Vice President Kamala Harris and Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced impactful reforms to the agency’s Community Advantage loan program, a key SBA tool for Community Development Financial Institutions, Community Development Companies, microlenders and other critical mission-based lending partners, that prioritizes equitable access to capital for low-income borrowers and those from underserved communities.  7 (a) program

Learn more



The Illinois Restaurant Association Employee Relief Fund(IRAEF)

              IRAEF Restaurant Employee Relief Fund: Open Again

The Illinois Restaurant Association Employee Relief Fund(IRAEF) will offer emergency assistance grants to Illinois food and beverage workers facing an life-altering, unanticipated hardship within the past 90 days such as: accident, illness, injury, death of an immediate family member or natural disaster. All grant requests will be reviewed. The grants cover costs of living expenses for life-altering events and range from $250-$1500.

Proof of hardship :

  • Rent or mortgage bill or statement
  • Bills; electric, gas, water/sewer, homeowners association or property tax statements
  • Documentation of illness or injury
  • Receipts for medical supplies or transportation for medical care
  • Verification documentation for funeral expenses, natural disaster, or housing emergency
  • Doctor verification or death certificate
  • Fill out the application in its entirety
  • Be prepared with your documents to upload that align with the reason why you are applying for this IRAEF Restaurant Employee Relief Fund grant:
    • Document One: Proof of Illinois residency (Valid Illinois License or State ID)
    • Document Two: Pay Stub from the current foodservice establishment where you are employed for a minimum of 90 days
    • Document Three: Proof of hardship
    • Document Four: Additional documentation if applicable (not required)
  • All applications that meet our established criteria will be evaluated
  • Depending on funding, eligible applicants will be given a grant and notified via email and when to expect the grant check via mail
  • Once received, the check is yours to spend in the impact area highlighted within your application. You are not taxed on this grant, nor will you owe it back.

IRAEF is dedicated to managing all the requests for financial support, and it is our goal to help as many in the restaurant community as possible. All qualified grant requests will be reviewed. Restaurant Employee Relief grants are awarded to eligible individuals based on available funds and limited to one per individual.

It is our goal to support as many in our restaurant community as possible. All qualified grant requests will be reviewed. Restaurant Employee Relief grants are awarded to eligible individuals based on available funds and limited to one per individual.

The applications for the IRAEF Restaurant Employee Relief Fund are currently open and the grants are awarded on a rolling basis. Apply Here

TIF corridors of interest, Lottery results

SBIF Program – Somercor website

The City of Chicago’s Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) promotes economic development by providing small businesses with reimbursable grants for permanent building improvement costs. SBIF grants use local Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenue to reimburse you for the pre-approved repair or rehab of your business facilities or adjacent land acquisition.

SBIF grants are available for commercial and industrial businesses and property owners.  No residential. SBIF  provides grants up to $150,000 to commercial businesses for 90% of the costs of permanent building improvements such as storefront renovations, building systems, interior remodeling, roof replacement.

January 2022 SBIF Program Rules 2022 SBIF Program Rules

More info and application HERE

Sign up on the Somercor website to get notices of SBIF District openings.

Community Development Grants, previously Chicago Recovery Plan Grants

CDG  Large ( not Small) grants application period closes August 9th


For additional resources you can visit the Community Development Grant Resources or read the Chicago Recovery Grant FAQs.

View the webinar for grants more than $250,000.

Download the Large Grant Application Overview.






  • Applicants from all areas of Chicago are eligible to apply. Priority projects are located in historically disinvested areas and/or build upon existing efforts and community safety initiatives.
  • Priority is given to catalytic projects with a strong local impact that are able to leverage local talents, capacities and institutions to strengthen and contribute to the community.
  • Priority is given to projects that demonstrate momentum and are expected to break ground within six months of grant acceptance.

Deadline: August 9, 2024

Apply here:

January 30th, 2024   

City of Chicago :: $25 Million in Business Development Grants Announced by Mayor Johnson

List of 2023 Winter Finalists


2022 was a good year for City grants, with $122.5 million to 166 finalists!

     May 2nd, 26  grant finalists ($33.5 million)   from Jan 31st round:   Spring CRP 26 Finalists

    July 18th, 79 grant finalists ($49 million)     from March 10th round:  Summer CRP 79 Finalist

    November 30, 61 grant finalists ($40 million)    from August 19th round:   Fall CRP 61 Finalists

 Nov 30 Mayor’s Press Release:   2022.11.30-mayors-press-release-grant-neighborhood-businesses

GCI Area Finalist  GCI Area Grant Finalist


2024 applications this round of Large Grants (>$250,000) closed February 16th.

We are expecting the application window for Small Grants (<$250,000) to open soon 

Again this is a grant (not a loan) funding to support local commercial, mixed-use, and light manufacturing development.  City staff will prioritize projects in areas of Chicago where there is a history of disinvestment or limited private investment.  Project selections are based on business readiness, viability, location, design, neighborhood needs, community impact, and other factors.   The City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD)

The 2023 small grant application has evolved  sample PDF of qusetions       2023 Small Grant Application Questions


Greater Chatham Initiative Info Sessions Nov 21, Dec 5, Dec 10th:   11_14_22-chicago-recovery-plan-flyer

November 21st Replay HERE

PowerPoint:  GCI CRP/NOF Presentation 112122

Earlier GCI information sessions in July         

GCI Presentation PowerPoint:  

GCI Presentation CRP Grants July 23, 2022

GCI Presentation CRP Grants July 11, 2022


Tuesday, Jul 5th  REPLAY HERE

Featuring Nedra Fears funding for Artist on the 9s project

Monday, Jul 11th   REPLAY HERE

Featuring Lori Seay , of Soul Vegetarian City  Spring Finalist, Stony Island Commarisary project

Saturday, Jul 23rd    REPLAY HERE

Featuring Constance Simms-Kincaid   Summer CRP Finalist,  5 Loaves Eatery expansion project

Please email with questions regarding the Universal Financial Incentives Application. 


More info:    John Handler    (773) 644.1451



  • Grant funding can be used for pre-development, construction, or renovation costs for permanent capital improvement projects.
  • CRP will pay for the acquisition of the property costs, but only up to an amount equal to the construction costs.  For example, if the property’s purchase price is $100,000. If renovations are $25,000, CRP would provide another $25,000 toward the property’s purchase.
  • Open to community developers, business owners and entrepreneurs, and property owners. Site control is preferred, but not required.
  • Residential-only development is not eligible, but mixed-use projects are eligible. Further funding opportunities for residential projects are expected to be announced in Q1 2022.
  • Priority will be given to catalytic projects with a strong local impact, that are able to leverage local talents, capacities, and institutions to strengthen and contribute to the community.
  • Applicants from all areas of Chicago are eligible to apply. Priority will be given for projects in historically disinvested areas as well as projects that build upon existing efforts, such as Mayor Lightfoot’s INVEST South/West initiative and community safety initiatives.
  • Priority will be given to projects that demonstrate momentum and are expected to break ground in 2022.
  • The City expects awards to be capped at $5 million, though larger, catalytic projects may be considered.


DPD Community Development Grants (CDG)

DPD Community Development Grants website

CDG or NOF?    If you are in a NOF corridor select NOF  NOF Corrridor HERE  otherwise check CDG.  More on te difference below.


Prepare to Apply

Applications will be segmented based on the size of the grant. Grant requests should represent no more than 75 percent of the anticipated total project cost.   For example, at 75% reimbursement, a $250,000 would support a $333,333 project cost.

SMALL GRANTS:     Grant application for less than $250,000 (Small) HERE

Have to submit your grant request online (above links), 

LARGE GRANTS:    Grants larger than $250,000  up to $5 million

NEW:  The large grant application must now be submitted online   

Large Grant Online Application HERE

  • Site Control
  • Photos
  • Describe proposed project
  • Project purpose
  • Financial need
  • Developer Input form required and upload
  • Sources of funds
  • Design & construction documentation
  • City of Chicago  construction compliance

Universal Financial Request Application (has to be submitted online below are samples of the online application for your review)


                  2022-August Word Doc of Large GRant Application Must be completed online

2022-August Large Application Word Doc of essay questions and important uploads

                     Developer input form – not macro enabled (down load ZIP file for active input form)

FID Developer Input form not macro enabled


Zip file download of old universal application and Developer Input Form    HERE


Helpful Grant Resources and Explanations    HERE

Project Readiness / Financial Feasibility / Construction Planning / Catalytic Impact / Business Planning


Strong applications have:

Very competitive, one in ten chance of being selected

1) Site control

Own the property, letter of intent to purchase, lease of at least 3 years

2) Project

Clear description, drawings, pictures

Detailed project budget with contractor bids

Financing for your 25%

Project and construction timeline


3) Business Plan

How you are going to make money?

How big is the market?


Your’s and the team’s resumes, that you have done this before

4) Community

Is your project catalytic?

Activating a disinvested area

How many new jobs, training opportunities?

Bring new customers into the area?

Aligned with the community plans and development?


5) Design and Visual appeal

Equity & Inclusion: Achieving fair treatment, targeted support, and prosperity for all citizens

Innovation: Implementing creative approaches to design and problem solving

Sense of Place: Celebrating and strengthening the culture of our communities

Sustainability: Committing to environmental, cultural, and financial longevity

Communication: Fostering design appreciation and responding to community needs

Chicago Recovery Plan Community Development Grant Information Session

An informational webinar was held Wednesday, Jan. 6 2022. Watch a recording of the webinar here,

City’s January 6th, 2022  Powerpoint Presentation:   download the presentation 

frequently asked questions.

For advice and potential resources to help with your application, please go to the Community Development Grant Resources page.

For any additional questions, please email



Comparison NOF to CRP

Neighborhood Opportunity Fund Grants (NOF)

Small  <$250,000   Large <$2.5 million

Reimbursements 50% project, 25% wealth bonus, 25% hire local  (potentially 100%)

Acquisition 50% Small,  30% Large

Specific corridors – In Invest South/West, priority zones

Commercial properties only


Chicago Recovery Plan Community Development Grants (CRP)

Small  <$250,000   Large <$5 million

Reimbursements 75% project

Acquisition 75% Small,  75% Large

Specific corridors – Chicago city limits

Commercial with some residential, light manufacturing

Vanilla box buildout without an identified tenant

Neighborhood Opportunity Fund (NOF)

Neighborhood Opportunity Fund (NOF)


NOF Large Grants (not Small <$250,000)  closed  February 16th, 2024  (same as Community Development Grants).  Expecting Small Grant application window to open soon.

NOF Finalist List

Completed projects

Neighborhood Opportunity Fund are grants (not loans) that help strengthen commercial corridors in Chicago’s South, Southwest and West Sides.  The NOF finances commercial and cultural projects in neighborhoods that lack private investment, using revenue generated from downtown development.

Projects like:

  • Storefront buildout
  • Facade repair, window door replacement
  • Plumbing, electrical, and HVAC work
  • New Construction
  • Property acquistion
  • Roofing repair

See if your project is in a NOF Corrridor HERE

Neighborhood Fund (NOF) Guidelines and information  HERE

August 2021 City NOF Info Session REPLAY

2021 Aug Info Session PowerPoint

NOF summary flyer Aug 2020


Complete details on the NOF Website INFO

NOF contact at the City HERE

Project eligibility:

NOF does not award grants for the construction or rehabilitation of residential uses, manufacturing uses, industrial uses, social services (including daycare and elder care), or places of worship that do not identify commercial as the primary use of a project. Non-profit organizations are eligible for the NOF grant, but they must be engaged in a retail or commercial activity or providing a cultural asset that is open to the public.



Grant Types  – How much funding can you get?

NOF offers two types of grants: Small Projects (assistance of $250,000 or less), and Large Projects (assistance of $250,001 – $2.5M). The NOF assistance available to your project depends on the project location and the amount of financial assistance being requested.

Small Projects (grants up to $250,000)

NOF Small Projects must be located in an Eligible Commercial Corridor, which are public streets that are generally zoned for retail or commercial uses. Projects are required in these locations so that they can be concentrated to create a larger, collective impact. Projects may also be located within a Priority Investment Corridor, which is similar to an Eligible Commercial Corridor, but has a greater amount of retail or commercial activity. Although not required, projects located within Primary Investment Corridors, will receive extra weight during the application review process.

Please refer to the Project Eligibility map below to determine if your project is eligible for the grant.

Large Projects (grants exceeding $250,000, up to $2.5M)

NOF Large Projects do not have to be located in an Eligible Commercial Corridor, but must be located within the Qualified Investment Area (QIA).  Large Projects must receive City Council approval and a Redevelopment Agreement that governs the terms of the grant.  Large Projects are subject to the City’s construction compliance requirements, which include MBE/WBE, Local Hiring and Prevailing Wage (as established by the Illinois Department of Labor). We encourage applicants to contact us with questions about NOF Large Projects in advance of submitting an application.

Projects located within an Eligible Commercial Corridor are eligible for both the Small and Large Project grants; however, projects that are located outside of an Eligible Commercial Corridor and requesting more than $250,000 are only eligible for Large Project grants.


Applications are prioritized based on the following four key factors:

  1. Catalytic impact. Applicants should submit projects that provide services or goods currently lacking in an area, and specify how their projects will build stronger communities or commercial corridors.
  2. Project readiness. Applicants should have site control of the project property, or be engaged in the process of obtaining site control. Selected properties should not have significant issues, such as mechanic liens, court orders or past due property taxes.
  3. Project financial feasibility. Applicants should clearly identify the uses of grant funds and the sources of, or the strategy to obtain, their portion of funding.
  4. Construction implementation. Applicants should demonstrate a clear and ready path to implementation.

The City’s Department of Planning and Development reviews all applications and submits them to an Advisory Committee, which is comprised of community leaders who represent a cross-section of neighborhoods. The committee reviews DPD’s recommendations for final selection and provides approval or feedback.



Complete details on the NOF Website INFO

NOF contact at the City HERE

Neighborhood Opportunity Fund (NOF) Large Grants ($ >250,000) are now open. Rolling application, no deadline.  NOF Large Grant Online Application HERE 

NOF website


Allies for Community Business - Good Food Fund Grants












June 5th.  We should be seeing emails for awardees in the next two weeks.  Funds directly following.   Looks like next round to open  August/September time frame.  If you were not selected in this round, try again.


GCI  Grant informational webinar replay of Monday, March 25th presentation  

PowerPoint Presentation:      2024-good-food-fund-gci-informational-webinar-032524

Zoom Replay :   LINK HERE


 Allies for Community Business informational grant webinar replay of  Tuesday, April 2nd

PowerPoint Presentation :     Allies 040524 Webinat PPT

Zoom Replay :   LINK HERE


PDF of Application for your review and take notes.  Once you begin the grant application, you can not save it, so have your questions noted and requested documents ready to upload. 


Expression of Interest deadline April 12th,  Full application April 26th   Not first come, first serve, so you have some time to put together a strong application.


Good Food Fund Grants   

The Good Food Fund will provide support for Chicago food entrepreneurs in communities with inequitable access to food.  The Good Food Fund was designed after intensive community engagement with the Food Equity Council and seeks to help expand, enhance, and restore the food industry using an equity and community-based approach. 

  • Low interest (3%) loans and lines of credit (opened earlier in March)
  • Free business coaching
  • Now Grants  $10,000- $100,000

If you are a City of Chicago food and beverage business, have filed 2022 Federal taxes, and have a current business license, #3  The Good Food Fund grant application is now open.  Complete the pre-application “Expression of interest”  before 11:59pm April 12th.  Just a few days to turn around eligibility; if you pass eligibility, you’ll receive an invitation to complete an application and upload documents.  $2.5 million in this round. A second $2.5 million round will be in late summer.   Selection is by priority (below) not first come first serve.  The application review will be in May, and funding will be in the early summer. 

This will be very competitive, think about how you will utilize the grant, more than just paying bills.  How it will benefit your business and the community.  

Again it is not first come, first serve, so you have some time to put together a strong application.

Allies Grants website:     Grants • Allies for Community Business (


Review the questions you will be asked on the expression of interest form and the full application:   Good-Food-Fund-Application-Questions-English.pdf (

Important Note:  Be prepared to answer all the application questions and to upload required documents before beginning.  You will not be able to save partial applications and return to it later.


FIRST STEP HERE=>    Expression of interest application link:   Good Food Fund – 2024 Expression of Interest (


Questions on this grant application  (872) 710-0035

FAQ:  Allies FAQs



Expression of Interest  (deadline April 12th)    If you meet basic eligibility,  in a couple of days, you’ll receive an invite to complete a full application (deadline April 26th)

              – Business info

– Request amount  ($10,000 – $100,000 may not exceed 40% of gross receipts in 2022.

                  ie $250,000 sales revenue  x 40% =  $100,000

              – Upload copy of your current  City of Chicago business license

START HERE=>   Expression of interest application link:   Good Food Fund – 2024 Expression of Interest (


Eligible type:  Businesses throughout the food and beverage supply chain are eligible. If you grow, supply, make, manufacture, sell, retail, or otherwise contribute to food and beverages.

The following business categories are not eligible:

o National Chains (Locally-owned franchises are acceptable)

o Liquor stores

o Cannabis related businesses

o This is a Food Equity Grant so bars, taverns, and night clubs are excluded



Eligibility criteria that you must meet:   

  • Food or beverage business
  • Business address must be in Chicago.
  • Hold a current food and beverage business license
  • Filed a federal tax return in 2022
  • Has established a business bank account


Priorities for Funding

  • Located on Chicago’s West or South Sides
  • Owner has lived in the community where the business is located for at least five years
  • Has operated in the community for at least five years
  • Offers a median hourly wage that is a living wage  ($18.75)
  • Is independently owned and operated
  • Employs less than 25 full time workers
  • Is a worker-owned cooperative


Usage of Funds: 

How do you plan to use the grant funds?    Enter the dollar amount you plan to spend in each category

  • Labor

Hiring additional employees, adding hours for existing employees, paying higher wages to existing employees, offering additional benefits, or improving working conditions

Pay a higher wage and look to providing benefits

Talent development,  paid training hours and course work

 Invest in teaching culinary skills, high school programs, etc                

Invest in better recruiting and building a talent pipeline

 Goal to increase retention, reduce turnover


  • New construction, expansion, or capital improvements

Creating, improving, or expanding your physical business location

              Improve aesthetics of front façade of building, safety glass versus bars on windows        

              Invest in better equipment to increase production and lower energy consumption

              Reorganize cooking line for efficiency and safety 

Invest in improve dining area


  • Supplies

Items that will be consumed or used to produce your products

More bulk purchases to reduce costs

Better and larger refrigeration equipment to store larger quantities and product longevity


  • Transportation / Distribution

Renting or paying the downpayment on a delivery vehicle, paying for transportation of your product, or other distribution costs


  • Working Capital

                        Any expenses not included in another category.   

                        Provide working capital to fund payroll and vendors. Marketing getting away from high-interest credit cards and vendor financing


List any individual items from the budget categories (except labor) above that you expect will cost more than $4,999 Include the item name and the estimated cost.


Application particulars:

Average hourly wage you pay your workers

Your  race, ethnicity, gender, veteran, have a disability


Application documentation:

Owner’s valid photo id

2022 federal tax return

All pages of your most recent bank account from 2024

If applying to fund new construction, expansion, or capital improvement copy of deed or lease.




Allies for Community Business - Loans, Credit lines, and Coaching






Good Food Fund Loan   

The Good Food Fund Loan is a low-interest term loan or line of credit between $500 and $100,000 available to eligible food and beverage entrepreneurs in Chicago! Made possible through Mayor Brandon Johnson and the City of Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection’s Good Food Fund, entrepreneurs will pay 3% in interest and 2% in closing fees over a term between one and three years depending on the loan size.   

To be eligible for the loan, the business must be in the food and beverage industry and must operate in Chicago. 

Want to connect with us before applying? Click here to schedule a session with a Community Lender or contact us at 312-929-1952 or

Apply HERE

Loan FAQs  HERE   Loans • Allies for Community Business (  (go down the page)

Chicago Good Food Fund


Good Food Fund Coaching

Chicago food and beverage entrepreneurs! Could you use free one-on-one business coaching to help tackle your current business challenges and opportunities? Our Business Coaching team is here to help! Made possible by Mayor Brandon Johnson and the City of Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, A4CB is now offering enhanced coaching for Chicago’s food and beverage entrepreneurs.
 Schedule a Session

Accion Loan Fund

 Progress Loans – American Express Supported Program

Accion Opportunity Fund is a financial support system for small businesses that advances racial, gender, and economic justice for all.

$5,000 to $100,000   Rates as low as 5.99%


Spanish and English support 8am-8pm     866-458-3555


Seaway / Self-Help FCU


Self-Help Federal Credit Union  Small Business Loan Programs

Chicago Food Enterprise Loans  (C-FEL) for Food Entrepreneurs of Color 

Target Food Business Segments 

1. Food Service Providers – i.e., caterers and food trucks 

2. Commercial Kitchens 

3. Grocery Stores – including Ethnic Grocery Stores, Health Food Stores, corner grocers

4. Restaurants – including Full Service and Limited Service, Juice Bars 

5. Food Innovation – including technology products for healthy food retail.


Loans for working capital, inventory, equipment, and leasehold improvements.

  • Loan amounts from $15K – $250K
  • No or Low equity and collateral requirements
  • Interest rates starting at 5.5% fixed
  • Most loans include 12-month interest-only period, and terms up to 11 years

Loans for real estate acquisition and renovation

  • Loan amounts from $100K to $1M+
  • Up to 90-100% loan to value (LTV)
  • competitive interest rates

How to qualify

  • Be an existing business or nonprofit with at least two years of tax returns
  • Be located in Chicago Metropolitan Area
  • Serve the Black or Latino community
  • Be a food system entrepreneur operating in a low- or moderate-income community
  • Be currently open and operating
  • Have no outstanding judgments or tax liens
  • Have no bankruptcies in the last three years

Funding subject to availability

C-FEL Flyer   C-FEL Flyer

Chicago Food Enterprise Loans  (C-FEL) for Food Entrepreneurs of Color 

Target Food Business Segments 

1. Food Service Providers – i.e., caterers and food trucks 

2. Commercial Kitchens 

3. Grocery Stores – including Ethnic Grocery Stores, Health Food Stores, corner grocers

4. Restaurants – including Full Service and Limited Service, Juice Bars 

5. Food Innovation – including technology products for healthy food retail.


Loans for working capital, inventory, equipment, and leasehold improvements.

  • Loan amounts from $15K – $250K
  • No or Low equity and collateral requirements
  • Interest rates starting at 5.5% fixed
  • Most loans include 12-month interest-only period, and terms up to 11 years

Loans for real estate acquisition and renovation

  • Loan amounts from $100K to $1M+
  • Up to 90-100% loan to value (LTV)
  • competitive interest rates

How to qualify

  • Be an existing business or nonprofit with at least two years of tax returns
  • Be located in Chicago Metropolitan Area
  • Serve the Black or Latino community
  • Be a food system entrepreneur operating in a low- or moderate-income community
  • Be currently open and operating
  • Have no outstanding judgments or tax liens
  • Have no bankruptcies in the last three years

Funding subject to availability

C-FEL Flyer   C-FEL Flyer

Chicago Food Enterprise Loans  (C-FEL) for Food Entrepreneurs of Color 

Target Food Business Segments 

1. Food Service Providers – i.e., caterers and food trucks 

2. Commercial Kitchens 

3. Grocery Stores – including Ethnic Grocery Stores, Health Food Stores, corner grocers

4. Restaurants – including Full Service and Limited Service, Juice Bars 

5. Food Innovation – including technology products for healthy food retail.


Loans for working capital, inventory, equipment, and leasehold improvements.

  • Loan amounts from $15K – $250K
  • No or Low equity and collateral requirements
  • Interest rates starting at 5.5% fixed
  • Most loans include 12-month interest-only period, and terms up to 11 years

Loans for real estate acquisition and renovation

  • Loan amounts from $100K to $1M+
  • Up to 90-100% loan to value (LTV)
  • competitive interest rates

How to qualify

  • Be an existing business or nonprofit with at least two years of tax returns
  • Be located in Chicago Metropolitan Area
  • Serve the Black or Latino community
  • Be a food system entrepreneur operating in a low- or moderate-income community
  • Be currently open and operating
  • Have no outstanding judgments or tax liens
  • Have no bankruptcies in the last three years

Funding subject to availability

C-FEL Flyer   C-FEL Flyer

Pivot Loan Program

For non-food related businesses please consider the Pivot Loan program.

Pivot Loan Program

Funding subject to availability


For more information and other financial products:

Cynthia Valle 

Seaway building on 87th

Commercial  Team

Self-Help CU website 



Greenwood Archer Capital (GAC)


Greenwood Archer Capital  Small Business Loan Programs

Greenwood Archer CapitalTM

1000 E. 111th St, 10th Floor, Chicago IL 60628


Greenwood Archer Capital is a CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution).  Different from conventional banks and credit unions, CDFIs are part of a US Department of the Treasury program aimed at distressed communities so are able to accept more lenient credit profiles, lower down payments, collateral options, and more favorable interest rates.  In addition, Greenwood Archer is a member of the State of Illinois Advantage/FAME program where the state will join with GAC to provide borrowers very favorable interest rates.  GAC also has SBA products.


General Lending 

 Amount up to $100,000  (State of Illinois participation)

Rate varies per credit profile.  Flexible collateral options


Your Forte, Our Finance    (Matt Forte, Chicago Bears)

Commercial Real Estate Loan

Up to $200,000,  100% financed

Business must be Black-owned and owner-occupied

Empower Capital Access Program

Business capital and back office support for diverse construction entrepreneurs

Flexible capital up to $50,000  Revolving credit debit is available.

Healthy Living, Healthy Financing 

For  local food growing, purchasing, transporting and the ecosystem that supports this.

Up to $100,000  start-up and expansion financing.  Technical assistance is available.


Pathway to Enterprise for returning Citizens (PERC)

Entrepreneurial training and loan program for previously incarcerated individuals.

Streamlined capital up to $10,000.  Additional requirements for loans over $10,000

GAC Product Flyer 


Apply for a loan  HERE




GAC Website: HERE 



State of Illinois DCEO


State of Illinois Department of Commerce

& Economic Opportunity

DCEO Website


Advancing the Development of Minority Entrepreneurship (ADME)

ADME is a community investment program developed to strengthen Illinois’ start-up and small business community ecosystem by tapping into the potential of minority business owners and entrepreneurs. ADME supports the Department’s commitment to growing minority and women-owned businesses and increasing diversity in businesses and within the Illinois economy. Through the ADME program, we offer resources to high-potential minority entrepreneurs and provide start to finish support to help them grow their businesses. Interested business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs can receive focused business education and potential access to capital to get their business off the


Advantage Illinois – FAME Program
Advantage Illinois’ new FAME Program (“Fund for the Advancement of Minority Enterprises”) is a dramatic upgrading of our former Minority/Women/Disabled/Veteran Participation Loan Program. Though still structured as a Participation Loan Program, this new Fund underlines the State’s promise to focus on fostering new and expanding small business entrepreneurship among minority and women-owned businesses. The FAME Program, funded by “Recycled SSBCI Funds”, will provide 50% of the entrepreneur’s overall Project Cost of the specific Loan that DCEO is participating in, up to a maximum of $400,000 of AL Funds, with a fixed interest rate on the Advantage Illinois portion set at 2%.

DCEO Program Flyer FAME

Illinois Office of Minority Economic Empowerment
555 W. Monroe, 12th Floor  Chicago, IL 60661
Website: Email:

Chicago contact: Sacella Smith

Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERC)


Employee Retention Credit

Businesses Have Until 2024 to Claim the Employee Retention Credit Retroactively

CARES ACT – 2020  /  Consolidated Appropriations Act – 2021  /  American Rescue Plan Act – 2021

ERC is a payroll tax refund born out of the same COVID relief bill as PPP, which incentivized businesses who kept employees on payroll during the pandemic. Originally, companies were limited in their ability to claim either the PPP or ERC, but not both. In early 2021, the rules changed and your business can claim ERC even if you received PPP funds.


Our current thoughts:

  1. This could be a considerable amount of money, so you should spend some time on this.
  2. You have until 2024 to file an amended tax return
  3. Confer with your current accountant on their knowledge and experience with the ERC
  4. Check with your payroll processor.  Most payroll processors offer ERC assistance.  They are the ones with the payroll data you need for your ERC application.

There has been a barrage of advertisements from various parties that offer to assist with completing the forms.  Watch closely most are asking for 15% – 25% of the take.    See below there was an IRS bulletin issued last week warning of scams.

With the 2020 ERC publication, the IRS said if you received PPP reimbursement then you were not eligible for ERC.  With the 2021 publication, the IRS clarified its position that essentially you can not “double dip”  if you received PPP reimbursement for an employee’s wages, and could not also receive ERC for those same wages.  If half of the employee’s wage was reimbursed by PPP, then you could apply for ERC for the other half.  Again can’t double-dip.

The scam is a service works up that you have $100,000 in ERC wages they apply for you.  You’ll receive from the IRS your $100,000.  You turn around and write a check to the service for $25,000(25%).   Then later the IRS audits you to find the service did not consider you had received PPP reimbursement for that same $100,000.   The IRS wants their $100,000 back.  It is now a year down the road and the service is no where to be found to retrieve the $25,000 cut you had paid them.

Good reason to stick with your accountant and/or payroll service, not likely they are going to disappear on you.  If you receive ERC you’ll need to resubmit an amended 2020 & 2021 tax return.  Actually, a pretty big deal because if your P&L changes your profitability could change which affects your taxes due along with K-1s to your partners.  It is a big deal amending tax returns, which then costs accountant fees.   So the accounting community is hoping the IRS revises how the ERC is booked.  Instead of reducing your wage expense in 2021, therefore changing your profitability, why not record the ERC disbursement as additional income in the year that it is received.  And so not having to amend prior tax returns.

Again the deadline is in 2024, so don’t feel pressured.  Getting money sooner is always a good thing.

Oct 19th IRS Bulletin:   Employers warned to beware of third parties promoting improper Employee Retention Credit clams.  HERE


Illinois Restaurant Association ERC Webinar  10:00am  Thursday Oct 27th

Register HERE


Some of the Details, warning the weeds get thick

Credit amount

The total ERTC benefit per employee can be up to $26,000 ($5,000 in 2020 and $7,000 per quarter in 2021).

  • For 2020, an eligible employer is entitled to a refundable credit equal to 50% of qualified wages paid from March 13, 2020, through December 31, 2020, plus qualified health plan expenses (up to $10,000 in qualified wages per employee, resulting in a maximum credit of $5,000).
  • For 2021, an eligible employer is entitled to a refundable credit equal to 70% of qualified wages paid from January 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021 (up to $10,000 in qualified wages per employee per quarter, resulting in a maximum credit of $7,000 per quarter).
  • Recovery Startup Businesses could be eligible to take a credit of up to $50,000 for the third and fourth quarters of 2021 since they were eligible through the end of 2021.

What is the Employee Retention Credit?

The ERC is a refundable credit that businesses can claim on qualified wages, including certain health insurance costs, paid to employees.

Businesses can no longer pay wages to claim the Employee Retention Tax Credit, but they have until 2024 to do a look back on their payroll during the pandemic and retroactively claim the credit by filing an amended tax return.

Although the Employee Retention  Credit (ERC) program has officially sunset, this does not impact the ability of a business to claim ERC retroactively. In fact, businesses have up to three years from the end of the program to conduct a lookback to determine if wages paid after March 12, 2020 through the end of the program are eligible.

For most businesses, the credit could be claimed on wages until Sept. 30, 2021, with certain businesses having until Dec. 31, 2021 to pay qualified wages.

Employer Eligibility

Your business could be eligible in one of two ways:

  • It was fully or partially suspended due to a governmental order limiting commerce, travel or group meetings related to COVID-19.
  • It experienced a significant decline in gross receipts, as defined by more than 50% in 2020 and more than 20% in 2021.

Qualified wages

The ERC uses wages and/or health plan expenses to calculate the respective benefit.

For 2020:

  • For eligible employers that had an average number of full-time employees in 2019 of 100 or fewer, all wages paid to employees during the eligible period(s) may count toward the ERC.
  • For eligible employers that had an average number of full-time employees in 2019 of greater than 100, wages paid for time not providing services due to a full or partial suspension by governmental order or the business experiencing more than a 50% decline in gross receipts for a calendar quarter when compared to the same quarter in 2019 may count toward the ERC.

For 2021:

  • For eligible employers that had an average number of full-time employees in 2019 of 500 or fewer, all wages paid to employees during the eligible period(s) may count toward the ERC.
  • For eligible employers that had an average number of full-time employees in 2019 of greater than 500, wages paid for time not providing services due to a full or partial suspension by governmental order or the business experiencing more than a 20% decline in gross receipts for a calendar quarter when compared to the same quarter in 2019 may count toward the ERC.


Claim the Credit Even if Your Business has Already Benefited from the Following:

CARES Act – 2020

For employers who qualify, including borrowers who took a loan under the initial PPP, the credit can be claimed against 50 percent of qualified wages paid, up to $10,000 per employee annually for wages paid between March 13 and Dec. 31, 2020.


Consolidated Appropriations Act – 2021

Employers who qualify, including PPP recipients, can claim a credit against 70% of qualified wages paid. Additionally, the amount of wages that qualifies for the credit is now $10,000 per employee per quarter.

American Rescue Plan Act – 2021

The credit remains at 70% of qualified wages up to a $10,000 limit per quarter so a maximum of $7,000 per employee per quarter. So, an employer could claim $7,000 per quarter per employee through the first three quarters of 2021 after the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act changed the end date of the program for most businesses. However, Recovery Startup Businesses were eligible through the end of 2021. They could be eligible to take a credit of up to $50,000 for the third and fourth quarters of 2021.

Additional information about ERC

Paychex payroll company:  HERE

very good explanation and detail


Advancing Black Pathways - Chase Bank Accelerator



Our Advancing Black Pathways (APB) team is excited to announce that the application for the Black Professional Entrepreneurs Resurgence® Accelerator Program sponsored by JPMorgan Chase is open! This is an incredible opportunity for Black service professional business owners in the Chicagoland area to receive comprehensive support, strategic guidance, and valuable resources to accelerate the growth of their businesses.


Program Overview:

The Resurgence®  Program is a dynamic accelerator designed to empower Black-owned businesses with the tools, knowledge, and network needed to achieve sustainable success. Through a series of interactive workshops, expert-led sessions, and tailored mentoring, participants will gain insights into various aspects of business growth, from strategic planning and operational finance to leadership development and marketing strategies.


Key Program Highlights:

– Increase Bankability

– Strengthen business capacity

– Enhance Supplier readiness

– Network and community development

– Strategic planning for sustainable growth

– Operational business development training

– Leadership development and professional growth

– Marketing and branding strategies

– Access to expert-led sessions and subject matter experts


To learn more about the program, please find attached our Resurgence® Accelerator Program One-Pager.


Application Details:

– Applications Closed: October 5, 2023

– Applications can be accessed HERE



Learn More About Advancing Black Pathways Here


Founders First CDC


a leading business accelerator program in the country for diverse-led companies.


Application Deadline February 6th 2024

A total of $100,000 will be awarded to 25 businesses in Chicago.  

Grants are a great way to receive growth capital for your small business. With a simple application, you can receive cash and a full tuition scholarship to one of our stellar accelerators. Hear first hand from grant recipients and partners.

  • Grant money can be used as growth capital to hire or rehire premium wage jobs.
  • Cash infusion can be used to purchase, fix or enhance equipment necessary to help you manage growth challenges and scale for the future.
  • Founder identify as one of the following: Latinx, Black, Asian, Women, LGBTQIA+, Military Veteran, or located in a Low to Moderate Income area.
  • TO QUALIFY: Must be located in the state of Illinois and have a current staff of 2-20 employees. Will have the ability to add 1-2+ net new premium wage jobs in the next 12 months. Your company must be a service-based business and at least one revenue stream serving other businesses. Must be a for-profit company with annual revenues between $100K and $3 million.


The application deadline is February 6, 2024.  Please email us at with any questions about the Job Creators Quest Grant.

Please visit the Grant FAQ page for more information.


Grant Resource Guide

American Express Main Street Grants


American Express Backing Small Businesses 2024 Initial Grant   $10,000   

Deadline April 7th


$10,000 grants some $30,000.   In partnership with American Express, the Backing Small Businesses grant program supports economically vulnerable and under-resourced small businesses with community reach and/​or cultural significance. This year, eligible small business owners can apply for $10,000 grants for projects that grow or improve their businesses by building community, supporting their economic viability, or bolstering meaningful change.


Info and application  HERE    


Goldman Sachs Programs


Goldman Sachs Programs

Goldman Sachs 10,000 small business program

Through the program, you will gain practical skills across topics such as financial statements negotiation, marketing, and employee management, and gain the tools to develop a customized business plan for growth—for free.

10KSB provides 3 Cohorts per year.

  • Winter– Early January through Mid April
  • Spring/Summer– Mid May through Mid August
  • Fall– Mid September through Early December


Get on their mailing list   HERE

One Million Black Women: Black in Business

In partnership with Black women-led organizations and other partners, our new investment initiative, One Million Black Women will commit $10 billion in direct investment capital and $100 million in philanthropic support to address the dual disproportionate gender and racial biases that Black women have faced for generations, which have only been exacerbated by the pandemic.

More information HERE


Sole proprietorship program cohort  Application deadline April 21st

Through the One Million Black Women: Black in Business, participants will learn how to better understand their finances, hire their first employee, price their products or services, and much more – at no cost to the business owner.

Sole proprietorship program

No other full-time employees

Minimum revenue of $25,000 in the past 12 months, revenue-generating business

Black, woman-owned

In operation for at least one year

To learn more about the program, register here for an informational webinar.

Applications are now open. Apply by April 21st to be considered for the Fall 2023 Cohort of OMBW: Black in Business.

Application HERE

Inquires :

More information HERE


Chicago Coalition of Lawyers (

Chicago Lawyers’Committee for Civil Rights

CLCCRUL   Website


Get small business help  Flyer GCI Small Businesses





Women's Business Development Center (WBDC)


Women’s Business Development Center Programs

WBDC Website

Cohort Programs

The Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) is proud to present Top Shelf: High Volume Retail Growth Insights. This 8-week program is designed to help established businesses grow into the mass retail market.

Next Cohort application deadline    Information HERE


Direct Lending Program

Capital can be challenging if your business is too new (less than two years), or your loan amount is too small (less than $50,000). The WBDC provides loans to small business owners who cannot get a loan from a bank. Loans are available to small businesses in Northeast Illinois with less than $1,000,000 in annual revenue.

Monthly informational webinars:  Register HERE     Email for more information

Emma Westfall,  Access to Capital director


Start typing and press Enter to search