Overview of Services

The Cook County Small Small Business Source features a network of over 30 organizations dedicated to supporting small businesses in any stage of development. This model of support prioritizes getting businesses the help they need when they need it. In addition to one-on-one advising services, the program also provides free toolkits, webinars and timely online resources and information for small businesses.

Advising services and resources cover topics:

  • Building a business plan for your startup or growing business
  • Finding the right financing source for your needs
  • Getting your business ready to apply for funding
  • Marketing your business through digital and traditional methods
  • Accessing new customers online
  • …And much more!

Business Advising

The Cook County Small Business Source's Business Advising program provides one-on-one assistance to small business owners to address their unique needs. These sessions are conducted by Business Support Organizations (BSOs). Sign up for business advising here.

Who is eligible for small business advising?

To be eligible, your business must be located in either Suburban Cook County or The City of Chicago.

I'm having technical issues with my business advising application. Who should I contact for support?

If you have any questions and/or are encountering technical difficulties, please review information to troubleshoot your situation at the following link. For more specific technical questions please reach out to Submittable’s Customer Support team at support@submittable.com

Business Opportunities

Soda Cans Concessionaire Grant

WSDA Diversified Ownership Program

The Diverse Owners Program is an “acquisitions accelerator” that targets entrepreneurs in the Southland seeking operational support to buy privately held companies. The program represents a practical, applied guide that illuminates the process of forming an investment vehicle, raising capital, searching for a company, acquiring the company, managing that company, and ultimately selling it for a significant profit. Program Goals: 1. Train a community of acquisition and growth-oriented entrepreneurs 2. Increase the flow of capital to diverse businesses 3. Stimulate the acquisition and growth of businesses in the Southland 4. Fill critical need in the entrepreneurial ecosystem that plays to Southland strengths. Entrepreneurs will receive a stipend over the course of the program.  Applications close November 25, 2022. Cohort begins January 9, 2023. Cohort ends January 31, 2024. For more information on eligibility and the application process, please visit http://diverseownersprogram.com/.

Soda Cans Concessionaire Grant

Berwyn Shops 2023 Cohort

If you are an emerging entrepreneur, artisan, or maker who is interested in taking your business to the next level, the Berwyn Shops is a great place for you to test out the market. Apply for the Berwyn Shops 2023 Cohort! Berwyn Shops: A Homegrown Project encourages local makers, entrepreneurs, and artisans to take that next step from a pop-up or online store to their very own 12’x15’ storefront. Located at 6931 Roosevelt Road, this retail incubator provides its vendors with the resources they need to succeed: a mini storefront, business education, and promotion. This 7-month program is the ideal environment for small businesses to test out the market before committing to a full-blown store operation. Learn more and apply at https://www.berwynshops.com/2023-vendors.

Soda Cans Concessionaire Grant

West Side United Small Business Grant

Grant Amount: $10,000
Total Program Funding: $400,000
Deadline: November 7, 2022

— For-profit entrepreneurs and small businesses
— Located in one of the ten West Side neighborhoods
— Revenue must not exceed $1 million annually

Soda Cans Concessionaire Grant

Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) Grants

Funds can be used by small businesses and certain nonprofits for permanent building improvements in Chicago. The TIF Districts scheduled to open in October 2022 include 79th/Vincennes, Armitage/Pulaski, Bryn Mawr/Broadway, and Western Avenue North.

— Business properties located in a TIF district where SBIF funds are available and the SBIF is open for applications
— Commercial businesses with gross annual sales up to $9 million on average over the previous three years
— Commercial property owners with net worth up to $9 million and liquid assets up to $500,000
— Industrial businesses with up to 200 full-time employees
— Not a residential project

Soda Cans Concessionaire Grant

The Chicago Innovation Women's Mentoring Co-op

Are you a woman who is looking to expand your network? Advance your professional career? Surround yourself with phenomenal like-minded women? Then we invite you to join the Women’s Mentoring Co-Op!

The Chicago Innovation Women's Mentoring Co-op is a mentoring program that connects successful Chicago innovators with women who have a demonstrated interest in innovation and want to grow their businesses and careers in the Chicago region through a mentor's support.

To see our most up-to-date list of Cohort 14 mentors click here.

The deadline to apply is the end of day Friday, November 4. This cohort will run from January – June 2023.

Soda Cans Concessionaire Grant

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.

State of Illinois’ Strengthen and Grow Child Care Grant

In February 2022, the Cook County Small Business Source partnered with the Women’s Business Development Center to host webinars in English and Spanish on the State of Illinois’ Strengthen and Grow Childcare Grants. Watch the recordings of these webinars to hear more about the details, process and requirements for the State of Illinois’ Strengthen and Grow Child Care Grants. For more information, watch the webinars here.

Access to Capital

Please check back for future opportunities.