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New Online Tools for Chicago Small Business Startups and Entrepreneurs

Deborah Bayliss | 1/22/2014, 3:24 p.m.
Chicago Small Business owners and entrepreneurs now have two new online tools designed to help launch and grow business and ...
Chicago Small Business owners and entrepreneurs now have two new online tools designed to help launch and grow a business.

Chicago Small Business owners and entrepreneurs now have two new online tools designed to help launch and grow business and both are available in English and Spanish. A Small Business Center (SBC) website will serve as a one stop shop for entrepreneurs and a new and improved Site Selector tool will help small businesses search for commercial sites available for lease or sale. 

Both resources were developed in cooperation with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Innovation Delivery Team, following consultations with businesses and the Mayor’s Small Business Advisory Council.  

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and I am committed to making City Hall a partner to these job creators,” said Emanuel “These new online tools will help Chicago’s small business owners access the resources they need to not only open their doors in Chicago, but succeed.”

The new SBC website, includes the following features:

· Financial assistance tool – Helps direct businesses to the appropriate resources based on their needs.  It also contains information about workshops and an updated directory of financing opportunities including microloans, traditional loans, grants, and tax credits

· Interactive map with services across the city – The map helps small business owners find supportive services in their neighborhood, including Neighborhood Business Development Centers, Alderman Offices, and Illinois Small Business Development Centers. 

· Business Licensing Factsheets for individual license categories – For the first time, business owners will find fact sheets explaining the business license types, the cost of each license, and which inspections will be necessary for common license types.

 Developed by World Business Chicago, the city’s economic development arm responsible for business attraction, expansion, and retention, the launch marks Site Selector’s emergence as a full-featured product supporting the site location needs of both small and large businesses and is a free service for small business owners looking for commercial and industrial space in Chicago.

Neighborhood Business Development Centers (NBDC) will work with local property owners to identify properties in their communities that are for lease but may not be listed with a broker and post availability on Site Selector.

“Site Selector is great for potential business owners looking for properties. Not only does it help locate available properties, it includes a lot of information like properties zoning which is critical to making a good choice,” said Dan Stratis Vice President & Managing Broker, @properties Commercial.

 Chicago is one of five cities to receive an Innovation Delivery Team grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies.