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 by phone 773-860-3929 or email at jtucker@ppbic.org, 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 commercial businesses can receive a reimbursing grant to cover up to 90% of the cost of remodeling work, with a maximum grant amount of $150,000. Eligible industrial businesses can receive a reimbursing grant to cover up to 50% cost, with a maximum amount of $250,000.  The grant does not have to be repaid. Industrial companies must have under 200 or fewer full-time equivalent employees.

Applications are processed by SomerCor 504, a federally certified Small Business Administration lender. For more details, click on SomerCor 504 or call Silvia Orozco at 312-360-3334 or email sorozco@somercor.com.

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
  • Tuckpointing and masonry repairs; façade repair/improvement projects
  • Storefront renovations (new storefront frames, windows, and doors; exterior accent lighting affixed to the building)
  • Roof repair and replacement
  • Interior remodeling and renovation that is significant in nature. (that is, it is done in connection with a larger project that involves HVAC, electrical, or plumbing improvements): framing, drywall, interior doors, restroom renovations, 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)
  • Improvements to accommodate disabled patrons or workers
  • Rehabilitation of vacant buildings. Please note that SBIF grants will not paid until the improved property is occupied by an eligible small business tenant or tenants
  • Purchase of adjacent property for purposes of business expansion or parking. The applicant must operate an eligible small business and own the directly adjacent property on which the eligible business operates
  • Structural components of new signage (business-specific parts of signage are not eligible); sign removal
  • Certain landscaping improvements to the public way (exterior private property landscaping is not eligible)

Ineligible expenses are costs associated with the following work, including, but not strictly limited to:

  • Any work started or construction costs that are incurred (even if work has not started) before approval of a conditional commitment letter by the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development; projects completed outside of the formal grant process (“retroactive” projects)
  • Any work related to non-mixed-use residential property (single-family home, two-flat, three-flat, etc.)
  • Work undertaken to address conditions relating to chronic building code non-compliance pursuant to a court order or injunction
  • Improvements to residential components of a mixed-use building (interiors, building systems, porches, stairways, windows, etc.)
  • New construction (“ground-up” construction of a new building, vertical additions to existing buildings, expansion of an existing building’s envelope/footprint)
  • Work to a building that was originally constructed fewer than three (3) years before the application date
  • Exterior private property improvements (landscaping, parking lot work, perimeter fencing, gazebos, patios, etc.)
  • Business-specific components of new signage
  • Equipment or furniture
  • Work to buildings occupied by or leased to certain business types or organizations (taverns, night clubs, liquor stores, currency exchanges, pawn shops, national chain businesses, religious worship space, and others).
  • Standalone cosmetic upgrade projects such as new painting and new flooring not done in connection with other significant work; minor/routine maintenance items

* 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.