Grow Your Business

Find out how you can grow and improve your small business.

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Accessing New Markets and Customers

Expanding to new markets and customers can drive growth for your business.

Certification Assistance

Receive assistance with navigating the Certification application process along with education and opportunity resources to maximize the use of your Certification.

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Certify Your Business

Minority-, woman-, veteran-, service disabled veteran-, and persons with disabilities- owned business enterprises (MBE/WBE/VBE/SDVBE/PDBEs) have greater access to public contracting opportunities, and may be eligible for specialized support and more.

  • Cook County and City of Chicago Certification Reciprocity
  • City of Chicago
  • Federal Veteran Contracting Assistance Programs
    • Learn more from the U.S. Small Business Administration about federal programs that help veteran-owned small businesses access federal contract awards and surplus personal property here.

City of Chicago Government Procurement

The Department of Procurement Services (DPS) is the contracting, certification, and compliance authority for the City of Chicago. DPS maintains the highest commitment to diversity, transparency, and innovation while continuously expanding the resources and programs that empower citizens to become involved in the contracting opportunities available at the City.

  • Find current City of Chicago contracting opportunities here.
  • Vendor Registration is required to engage the City’s eProcurement system. Register or Log in here.

Cook County Government Procurement

Cook County Contracting Opportunities

  • Find and view current and upcoming contracting opportunities with Cook County, Cook County Land Bank, Cook County Forest Preserves, Chicago Botanical Garden, Cook County Hospital, and more here.
  • Become a Concessionaire in the Forest Preserves of Cook County! From small family-run businesses to large-scale operations, concessionaires of all sizes can apply for a daily or annual Concession Permit to sell food, beverages, goods and services from concession stands, push carts and food trucks at preserves across Cook County. Learn more here.

Cook County – County Sister Agencies

  • Interested in doing business with Cook County Health and Hospital System? Learn more here.
  • Register with Vizient Inc., the Cook County Health and Hospitals provider, for more supplier opportunities. 
  • Interested in doing business with the Forest Preserve District of Cook County? Learn more here.

Cook County – The Office of The Chief Procurement Officer

The Cook County Office of The Chief Procurement Officer (OCPO) is responsible for procuring the goods, services, and construction necessary for the operation of the County.  The OCPO does this through a procurement program that is open and transparent, promotes maximum competition, diversity and inclusion, efficient and innovative procurement practices, and leverages the County’s overall resources to achieve best value and quality.  Businesses of all sizes, especially small businesses, are encouraged to participate in the County’s procurement program.  Here are links to information about procurement at Cook County:

  • Cook County Contracting Opportunities for an overview about Doing Business with Cook County through the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer (OCPO) click here. To learn more about procurement at Cook County, also visit the OCPO’s homepage here
  • Learn about contract opportunities on Cook County’s procurement portal
  • Find out what goods and services the OCPO expects to purchase in the upcoming year in the Annual Buying Plans
  • To download and view any solicitation that is currently advertised, to see in real-time the list of  firms that have downloaded any solicitation, and to receive automatic email notifications when a solicitation is advertised in your area of interest, you must be registered win the OCPO’s Vendor Database at OCPO Vendor Registration.

Procurement Assistance

Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) provide one-on-one counseling and training to existing businesses interested in selling their goods and services to local, state, and/or federal government agencies.

  • Some of The Source’s Business Support Organizations (BSOs) have Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) including The Women’s Business Development Center and the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Find a local PTAC
  • The Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a Source BSO,  leads three government contracting programs to provide capacity building, one-on-one coaching and cohort learning. Find out more about the Procurement Collaboration Program and how it can help your business compete for contracting opportunities.

Federal Contracting Assistance Programs

The federal government uses special programs to help small businesses win at least at 23 percent of all federal contracting dollars each year. The Small Business Administration provides several programs to help small businesses win federal contracts.

  • The HUBZone program fuels small business growth in historically underutilized business zones with a goal of awarding at least 3% of federal contract dollars to HUBZone-certified companies each year. To learn more visit The Small Business Administration.

Financial Tools and Incentives for Growth

Incentives for Growth

Cook County provides financing and financial incentives to property owners interested in relocating, expanding, or making improvements to their businesses through new commercial or industrial construction projects. 

  • The Illinois Enterprise Zone Act encourages economic growth and investment in enterprise zones. You can find the four Cook County south suburban enterprise zone websites here to discover state and local incentives for relocating or expanding your business within the enterprise zones. 
  • Do you have commercial or industrial development experience and want to help build stronger and more resilient communities in Cook County? Find out how you can receive incentives for the development of special properties.
  • The Cook County Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (CPACE) Program provides low-cost, long-term financing for energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation, and resiliency projects in commercial buildings. Find out how you can obtain up to 100% upfront financing for qualified energy upgrades.

Tax Credits

Your business may be eligible for government tax credits. Find information on the types of tax credits that are available here.

  • Locate state and local tax incentives to help you expand or relocate your business here and here
  • For more information on enterprise zone tax exemptions, credits, and deductions click here
  • Tax incentives from the government allow you to invest back in your business and generate additional economic activity to produce more revenue. The Cook County Assessor has defined the available tax incentives and related requirements
  • The American Rescue Plan extends a number of critical tax benefits, particularly the Employee Retention Credit and Paid Leave Credit, to small businesses. To see if your business qualifies, visit the U.S. Department of the Treasury. 

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Find and Attract New Investors

Accessing capital can be hard. Investors can provide additional financing.

Pricing Models

Explore pricing models and methods to help you adapt pricing for your market.


Learn more about sales planning to increase your businesses revenue.

  • Review sales plans and other tools to get your product or service into your customer’s hands in this Sales e-course provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration. 
  • Understanding sales funnel metrics can help you move people from leads to customers more quickly. Use this sales funnel cheat sheet from Glew to get better insight into your sales funnel and start optimizing your conversions. 

Sprout: A Homegrown Project

Sprout: A Homegrown Project

Sprout is a shared retail space designed to help 30+ entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Located in the bustling Cermak Plaza, this homegrown project provides “Big Box” opportunities with “Shop Local” support. With the support of the Homegrown Project team, shoppers, and community partners, vendors are given the opportunity to expand their product lines, learn from business experts, and share their passion with the surrounding areas. Sprout is the ideal environment for emerging entrepreneurs to grow their businesses! Learn more here.

Additional Resources

There are a number of free resources you can access to help grow your business.

  • ChiBizHub provides small businesses and entrepreneurs in the City of Chicago with the resources they need for starting a business, business plans, licensing, tax information, financing and more.
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce provides expert advice on how to grow your business — from attracting new customers to keeping existing customers happy and having the capital to do it.
  • Access an array of free resources to help scale your business from quick, practical courses to comprehensive certifications at Hubspot Academy. Topics range from social media marketing and sales to competitive advantage strategies and web design. 
  • Verizon Small Business Digital Ready is committed to helping small businesses grow and move forward in the digital economy. This program is completely free, and after joining, small businesses will gain access to self-paced courses, live coaching sessions, and learning materials. Businesses can also qualify to apply for an exclusive pool of $10,000 small business grants. Sign up here.
  • Learn how to Grow your Business with Google and access digital training courses and tools to help your small business adapt, grow, and better serve your community.

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