Financial Assistance Programs for Businesses

Businesses may be eligible for a number of incentive programs such as Tax Increment Financing (TIF), Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) grants, TIFWorks employee training grants, Enterprise Zone tax incentives, Cook County property tax assistance, Industrial Development Revenue Bonds (IDBs), and small businesses low-interest loans through the City Treasurer’s Office and community lenders. See details below. And for more information, contact PPBIC at 773-866-2900 or click on the City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development.

Tax Increment Financing (TIF)*

Tax Increment Financing is a special funding tool used by the City of Chicago to promote public and private investment across the city. Funds are used to build and repair roads and infrastructure, clean polluted land and put vacant properties back to productive use, usually in conjunction with private development projects. Funds are generated by growth in the Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV) of properties within a designated district over a period of 23 years. Funding levels for specific projects are coordinated with area plans and goals. When an area is declared a TIF district, the amount of property tax the area generates is set as a base EAV amount. As property values increase, all property tax growth above that amount can be used to fund redevelopment projects within the district. The increase, or increment, can be used to pay back bonds issued to pay upfront costs, or can be used on a pay-as-you-go basis for individual projects. At the conclusion of the 23-year period, the increase in revenue over the base amount is distributed annually among the seven taxing bodies in the city that are based on property values. Under state law, areas proposed for TIF designation must possess numerous blighting factors to be eligible:

  • Age
  • Obsolescence
  • Code violations
  • Excessive vacancies
  • Overcrowding of facilities
  • Lack of ventilation, light, sanitary facilities
  • Excessive land coverage
  • Inadequate utilities
  • Deleterious land use or layout
  • Lack of physical maintenance
  • Lack of community planning
  • Dilapidation or deterioration

Objective: To help local companies expand and create employment opportunities for Chicago residents.

Qualifications and Restrictions: TIF assistance for eligible projects usually exceeds $1 million. Participating companies and projects must comply with all federal, state and local program requirements.

For more information: Click on Chicago’s TIF Webpage.

* TIF District Maps:

Streamlined Tax Increment Financing (TIF)*

Streamlined TIF provides expedited access to valuable grants for the improvement of industrial, commercial, retail or residential mixed-use properties in the TIF districts citywide, including the Peterson Pulaski and Elston Armstrong TIF Districts. The program incorporates an easy-to-use application form and efficient approval process to pay up to 25 percent of renovation, expansion, or redevelopment costs. Assistance ranges from $25,000 to $1 million and can be applied toward:

  • Land acquisition
  • Site preparation
  • Environmental remediation
  • Building rehabilitation and repair
  • Tenant improvements
  • Professional fees
  • Construction period interest costs
  • Job training and welfare-to-work programs

Click here for the Program Overview and Application and Interested Parties Registration.

* TIF District Maps:

Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF)*

The SBIF program uses TIF revenues to help owners of commercial and industrial properties and/or tenants within the Peterson Pulaski and Elston Armstrong TIF Districts to repair or remodel their facilities. Eligible businesses can receive a reimbursing grant to cover up to 75% of the cost of remodeling work, with a maximum grant amount of $150,000. The grant does not have to be repaid. Industrial companies must have under 100 employees to qualify.

Applications are processed by SomerCor 504, a federally certified Small Business Administration lender. For more details, click on SomerCor 504 or call Jacob Stern at 312-360-3328 or email

Eligible expenses for a SBIF grant are permanent building improvement costs, including, but not limited to:

  • Mechanical/heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (“HVAC”), electrical, and plumbing (“MEP”)
  • Tuck pointing and masonry repairs; façade repair projects
  • Sign removal
  • Structural components of new signage (business-specific parts of signage are not eligible)
  • Roof repair and replacement
  • Storefront renovations (new storefront frames, windows, and doors; exterior lighting)
  • Improvements to accommodate disabled patrons or workers
  • Interior remodeling that is significant in nature (that is, it is done in connection with a larger project that involves MEP improvements): framing, drywall, flooring, ceilings (expenses related to a standalone cosmetic upgrade project such as new painting and new flooring not done in connection with other significant work are not eligible; “high-end”/custom fixture and/or finish expenses are not eligible)
  • Purchase of adjacent property for purposes of business expansion or parking (must operate an eligible small business and own the directly adjacent property on which the eligible business operates)
  • Rehabilitation of vacant buildings, but grants are not paid until the improved property is occupied by an eligible small business tenant or tenants

The expenses that are not eligible include improvements to residential property, residential components of a mixed-use building, exterior private property improvements (landscaping, parking lot work, perimeter fencing, etc.), work to a building that was originally constructed fewer than three (3) years from the application date, business-specific components of new signage, and property leased to certain businesses such as liquor stores.

* TIF District Maps:

TIFWorks 50/50 Training Program*

The TIFWorks 50/50 grant uses local Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenues to reimburse eligible applicants for the training of their employees who work  within the Peterson Pulaski and Elston Armstrong TIF Districts exclusively. The Peterson Pulaski Business and Industrial Council (PPBIC) is authorized to administer this program. TIFWorks 50/50 is a streamlined version of the City’s traditional TIFWorks program and will provide a 50% rebate up to $25,000 for pre-approved training upon completion of the training and proof of payment. Funds will be available to upgrade the skills of existing employees or to train new hires. 

Business Eligibility: 

  • Applicants must be located in a 50/50 Tax Increment Finance (TIF) district.
  • The 50/50 program targets manufacturing or industrial businesses. Other types of businesses will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Service, retail and construction companies are not eligible for 50/50.
  • Employees to be trained must be in full-time, permanent positions. Employee pay must be at minimum wage or above.
  • Applicants must have no existing TIFWorks grants outstanding.

50/50 Grant: 

  • Matching Grant (Businesses must pay for at least 50% of the training costs)
  • Small Grants
  • Short Training Application
  • Quick Review Process

Types of Training: 

  • Incumbent Training (Maximum grant $10,000 per company)
  • Training for the New Hire of Chicago Residents (Maximum grant $15,000 per company and $5,000 per new hire)
  • 3 Months of On-the-Job Training Allowed for New Hire of Chicago Residents

Contact Janita Tucker at 773-866-2900 or for more information.

TIFWorks 50/50 Frequently Asked Questions 8-2019

TIFWorks 50/50 Application for Incumbent Training 4-2019

TIFWorks 50/50 Application for External & On-the-Job Training for New Hires (Chicago Residents) 4-2019

* TIF District Maps: 

TIFWorks Training Program*

TIFWorks stimulates business success by funding workforce-training costs for companies located in tax increment financing (TIF) districts. With TIFWorks support, businesses can become better equipped to improve performance and productivity, expand product lines and gain new customers. Since 2008 TIFWorks has provided $21 million in TIF funds to 511 business for the training of 10,000 incumbent employees and the hiring of 1,100 new employees. If your company is located in an eligible TIF district in Chicago, you can receive funding for workforce-training programs.

Your business benefits with training programs that can help you:

  • Develop and expand product lines
  • Adapt to new technologies and equipment
  • Comply with occupational or industry regulations
  • Expand into new markets
  • Promote growth and increase profit

Your business may be eligible if:

  • It is located in, expanding into, or relocating to an eligible TIF district.
  • Training will make you more competitive
  • Training fulfills a specific workforce need
  • You are willing to se measurable goals and can report on impact and performance improvements after training

Eligible applicants include:

  • Employer or a group of employer with common needs
  • Business or industry association
  • Labor organization
  • Educational institution
  • Non-profit organization that will train and place Chicagoans in businesses located in eligible TIF districts

Types of training can include:

  • Negotiation and sales
  • Technology skills
  • Leadership and management
  • Safety
  • Communications and language skills
  • Basic job performance skills
  • Training to support new products, machinery or technology

For more info see Chicago’s TIFWorks Webpage

* TIF District Maps:

Illinois Enterprise Zone Program (EZ #4)**

The Illinois Enterprise Zone Program is designed to stimulate economic growth and neighborhood revitalization through state and local tax incentives, regulatory relief and improved governmental services.  Businesses located or expanding in Enterprise Zone #4 which includes a portion of the Peterson Pulaski Industrial Park may be eligible for the following state and local tax incentives: State Incentives and Exemptions

  • Exemption on retailers’ occupation tax paid on building materials
  • An investment tax credit of 0.5% of qualified property
  • Expanded state sales tax exemptions on purchases of personal property used or consumed in the manufacturing process or in the operation of a pollution control facility
  • An exemption on the state utility tax for electricity and natural gas
  • An exemption on the Illinois Commerce Commission’s administrative charge and telecommunication excise tax

Click here for more information

Cook County Class 6(b) Property Tax Incentive
The Class 6b tax incentive for industrial projects offers a 12-year reduction in real estate assessments from the standard Cook County rate of 25 percent.  Qualifying properties are assessed at 10% for the first 10 years, 15% for the 11th year and 20% for the 12th year.  For more information click on the Cook County Tax Incentives Brochure and the Class 6b Eligibility Bulletin and Applications.
Industrial Development Revenue Bonds (IDBs)
The City of Chicago issues tax-exempt IDBs and lends their proceeds to manufacturing companies to finance qualified projects that involve the acquisition of fixed assets such as land, buildings and equipment.  IDB proceeds may also be used for either new construction or renovation.  Tax-exempt bond financing offers long-term financing at rates lower than conventional financing.
Chicago Small Business Center (SBC)
The Small Business Center is the business licensing division of the City of Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection and the City’s “one-stop-shop” for business licensing, public way use permitting, and connecting entrepreneurs to business resources.  
Small Business Loan Program
Loans are available through a partnership between the City of Chicago Treasurer’s Office and community-based lenders.  The program targets small and high-growth companies that can use the funds for short-term loans and lines of credit.  For more information, click on City Treasurer’s Small Business Loan Program.

* A portion of 4 of the 5 industrial corridors served by PPBIC has a Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District.  Click to see maps and information:

Peterson-Pulaski TIF
Elston-Armstrong TIF
Knox / Portage Park TIF
Northwest Highway / Jefferson Park TIF

** Visit Enterprise Zone Map and then click several times to enlarge map to see Enterprise Zone #4.