Our Story

The Cook County Small Business Source strives to support, grow and elevate small businesses, the backbone of Cook County’s economy. This program directly connects small business owners with expert guidance and support to take businesses to the next level. Cook County established the award-winning program to ensure that businesses emerge from COVID-19 intact and positioned for growth.

A commitment to equity serves as the North Star for the program which provides access to government grants, loans and resources, and fosters growth for small businesses historically excluded including Black-, Indigenous-, People of Color- (BIPOC), Veteran-, Women-, LQBTQ+ and persons with disabilities-owned businesses.

In 2020, government, foundation and community partners joined together to serve Cook County’s small business community in response to the pandemic. This partnership provided the basis for the establishment of The Small Business Assistance Program, which is now part of The Source.

The Chicago Community Trust and the Fund for Equitable Business Growth, with funding provided by Polk Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, McCormick Foundation and JPMorgan Chase, Cook County and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity were Founding Funders and Partners of the Cook County Small Business Source, providing support for recovery grants to small business owners and entrepreneurs facing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Services Offered




Business Support

The Cook County Small Business Source’s Business Support Organizations (BSOs) provide small business owners with the expert advice and assistance they need to succeed through free one-on-one expert business advising.

A Program of
Cook County

Referral Partners

The Cook County Small Business Source’s Referral Partners serve as program ambassadors connecting small businesses to business advising and support through the Cook County Small Business Source.

  • 18th St Development Corp (Economic Strategies Development Corporation)

  • 36Squared Incubator

  • Arts Alliance Illinois

  • Chamber57

  • Chicago Heights Economic Development Corporation

  • Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce

  • Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation

  • Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce

  • Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce

  • Far South Community Development Corporation

  • Greater Englewood Chamber of Commerce

  • Greenwood Archer Capital

  • Ignite Technology and Innovation

  • IL Action for Children

  • Illinois Business Immigration Coalition

  • Illinois Minority Business Development Agency (IL MBDA) Business Center
  • Indo-American Center

  • Melrose Park Chamber of Commerce

  • Native American Chamber of Commerce

  • Next Level Northwest

  • Northwest Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

  • Polish American Chamber of Commerce

  • Puerto Rican Cultural Center

  • Rogers Park Business Alliance

  • Schaumburg Business Association

  • SomerCor

  • South East Chicago Commission

  • South Shore Chamber of Commerce

  • Southland Black Chamber of Commerce

  • Southwest Collective

  • West Town Chicago Chamber of Commerce

  • West Suburban Chamber of Commerce & Industry

  • Westside United

Interested in becoming a partner? Contact info@cookcountysmallbiz.org

Founding Partners