2022 Chicago Tribune FoodLab article:   FoodLab Chicago Tribune Jan 18, 2022

Program Shortcuts:

Sources for economic support


SBA – Economic Injury Disaster Loan Assistance (EIDL)

           EIDL application period ended December 31st.   

Just announced All COVID-19 EIDL loans will have the first payment due extended from 24-months to 30-months from the date of the Note.  

SBA Strongly Recommends Borrowers:

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to call the Disaster Customer Service team at 833-853-5638 or email


If you are eligible to increase your EIDL funds the  deadline to apply on May 6th.

For those that received an original SBA COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)     You may be eligible for an increase in your loan amount. If the portal “Increase” button doesn’t work, borrowers have to send an e mail to with all the documents needs to ask for an increase

There is a new version of the IRS form 4506-T for COVID EIDL  HERE  


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



Clover POS One day sale May 9th

Clover POS    Pop-up free DUO POS equipment ($1,850 savings) opportunity with new sign-up

One day only:   Monday, May 9th   Restaurant Depot 1030 West Division Street, Chicago

Do you process greater than $100,000 annually in credit card purchases?  Flex or mini machine, >$250,000 Duo.   Typical monthly fees for software and maintenance are $39.95 per month.  Clover also offers a free hosted online menu so your customers can order online and it goes directly into your POS station. 

One day only pop-up,  don’t miss this opportunity to get $1,850 of equipment at no charge!

Contact Frank Kelly before either of these days and he can get you set up.     

 May 9th Clover one day event more info

Frank Kelly        (773) 399-9465

Clover pre-application


Check-in with John Handler  for more details.


Discover Center 87th/Cottage Grove Employee Meal Program

Due to supply chain issues, Discover Center is some two months behind in their buildout.

Discover Customer Care Center at 8560 S Cottage Grove provides their employees free meals.  Currently, they have 150 employees split into two shifts, day time and evening.  In April they will finish construction and expand to 500 employees, with plans to grow to 1,000.     Discover is in search of local catering partners to offer meal service.  Their focus is supporting local restaurants along with providing their employees a nutritious offering.  Discover has a group of restaurants servicing the current 150 employees, but with the new expansion, they need a much larger group of restaurants to service the meal program.  There are also opportunities for catering events and activities at the Center.   Discover is moving fast (schedule below) so do not delay getting on this opportunity.

Food Catering Requirements

Feb 15th Q&A webinar PowerPoint

Mindful Nutrient Criteria

Discover Center Feb Mar and April Plan


To be considered complete the NDA and questionnaire and return to Victoria.  Deadline noon  Friday, Feb 25th.

Discover Mutual NDA

Food Catering Questionaire 2.15.22 

If you need assistance filling out the forms, please contact Victoria Elkind at or 224-804-4444.  If you need a hard copy mailed or dropped off, they can do so.  Additional support from Vensha White Johnson or at 224-619-8560

If you need more details:  John

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.

More info and application HERE

AvalonPark/ South Shore,  Just (re)opened    Application deadline May 31st   79th Street East of the skyway.      

67th – Wentworth  Lottery results   67th Wentworth 1-12-2022 Lottery Results

87th – Cottage Grove Lottery results   87th-cottage-grove lottery results

May 2nd, 26 new grant finalists:    26 new CRP Finalists 050222

The city of Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD) is now accepting applications for grant 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. 


  • 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.


Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. The first-round application deadline was Jan. 31, 2022, followed by a second-round application deadline of March 10, 2022.  Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. The deadline for this year’s final round is August 19, 2022.  Please do not submit duplicative applications for the same project.

DPD CRP Grants website

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:     Grants for less than $250,000 (Small) HERE

Have to submit your grant request online (above links),  for your reference here is a PDF of the questions being asked.

                    Sample <$250K application

Project Description pages 5 &6

                  sample_ application Project Description pgs 5 &6

Project Budget and Finance pages 11,12, & 13

                   Costs and Financing pgs 11,12,13


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)

                             universal-application_jan-2022_distributed_0002 sample must now be submitted online

                             Sample of questions asked in online version of Universal Financial Application

                     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


Chicago Recovery Plan Community Development Grant Information Session

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

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



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

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

Chris Dorsey 


Commercial  Team

Self-Help CU website 



Verizon / LISC Small Business Digital Ready

Verizon / LISC Small Business Digital Ready Online curriculum

and $10,000 grant opportunity

Now available 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.

Register for a free online curriculum.   Complete two courses or one coaching event and then be eligible to apply for a Verizon Small Business Digital Ready $10,000 grant.   In order to unlock the application for this exclusive pool of funding, members must have completed two courses or live coaching events between January 1, 2022 and June 30, 2022, and apply by June 30, 2022

GCI information sessions click here for link

More program details HERE

Program sign-up 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

Founders First CDC


Founders First CDC              email:

March presentation of “How to be fundable”

View the replay of the webinar:  HERE

How to be Fundable PPT slides

The presentation also introduces Founders First’s interesting revenue-based growth financing alternative.   If you qualify, you receive a load that is paid off 5% of your revenue each month.  Slow months less, big months more.  Until the loan is paid off.   


Founders First Accelerator Programs: 

Founders First Challenge – Chicago  starts virtual sessions April 12th 

Challenge is for entrepreneurs with established businesses, earning between $50K and $250K in annual revenue, who want to achieve growth. 60-day Mini-Accelerator Program consists of four (4) workshops where you will learn how to work ON your business, not just IN your business! Program completes with Pitch and Graduation Event with opportunity to compete for up to $5000 cash and service prizes. Includes 18-months of post program support coaching and support.  There are some tuition costs but there are scholarships.
More Info: HERE

Founders First FastPath.  Greater than $1 million in sales. 

Chicago virtual starting May 2nd

The 4-week FastPath Executive Program in Financing & Managing Growth is designed for companies generating $1 million to $5 million in annual revenues. The program is best suited for successful Founder/CEOs, needing up to $1 million in growth capital as well as professional development, including leadership skills, confidence, and vision to overcome challenges and realize opportunities in accelerating revenue growth.
More Info:  HERE

More information about Founders First CDC and their programs   



Neighborhood Opportunity Fund (NOF)


Neighborhood Opportunity Fund (NOF)

Latest Finalist   012022-sept-nof-finalist

We are expecting NOF to be open again at the end of the summer.  

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

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

NOF website


St of IL Back to Business

Back to Business (B2B)

State of Illinois Back to Business (B2B) $250 million in grants 

Deadline to apply has passed and the application portal is now closed

See the latest list of grantees by zip code  (Awards in progress section select “list of grantees” ):     HERE


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

We are accepting applications for our 33rd Cohort starting September 2022, and ending December 2022. The application deadline for this session is June 2, 2022.

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


Women's Business Development Center (WBDC)


Women’s Business Development Center Programs

WBDC Website

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 deadlin e April 1st

Information HERE

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