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Chicago: Top local business resources to help you succeed and grow

January 30, 2020

In this 5-minute read:

  • 11 helpful resources for small businesses in Chicago

Your business deserves every chance at success that it can get. Look around your community and take advantage of the local business resources right next door. You don’t have to be in this alone. 

Attract new customers and keep them loyal with reputation management software. Get your free demo!

Several Chicago organizations have missions to help their local economy thrive, and your small business is a part of that economy. Through these various resources, you can find new ways to help grow your business and thrive in your community. 

We’ll split these resources up into five categories:

  • Comprehensive business resources
  • Business classes and mentors
  • Financial assistance
  • Chambers of commerce
  • Employment and hiring resources

Comprehensive business resources in Chicago, IL

Start by checking out the comprehensive business resources in Chicago. These organizations can help your business with everything from startup and funding to finding new innovative ways to grow your company. 

Chicago Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

The SBDC offers invaluable resources for businesses in your area. They hold workshops and provide free one-on-one mentorship with experienced business professionals in your industry. 

Other services you can receive from the SBDC include:

  • Financial planning and analysis
  • Additional training and business education
  • Assistance developing a marketing strategy
  • Specialized services in innovative technology and development

Contact the Chicago SBDC:

Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
3636 S. Iron Street
Chicago, IL 60609

Phone: (312) 933-6556
Email: a.fogaty@greatersouthwest.org
Contact: Andrew Fogaty

Click for more Chicago area SBDCs.

City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection (BACP)

This department has a small business center dedicated to helping small businesses in the Chicago area. They hold business-related workshops every Wednesday and Friday and provide all of the resources you need to get your small business started. 

Find information about obtaining the proper licensing and permits, taxes, upcoming business expos, get free business advice, and more. 

Contact BACP:

The Small Business Center
City Hall, 121 North LaSalle Street, Room 800
Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: (312) 744-6249
Email: smallbusinesscenter@cityofchicago.org
Website: Chicago.gov

Business classes and mentors in the Chicago area

Sometimes all you need is additional training to help give your business that extra edge. There are several organizations in the Chicago area that you can reach out to for business mentoring and training courses. Here are some of our recommendations. 

Chicago SCORE

SCORE provides one-on-one business consultations along with free and low-cost workshops. Chicago SCORE has over 50 mentors across 8 different locations in Cook County. Find a mentor who has the business background you are looking for and set up an appointment. 

Reach out:

Chicago SCORE
500 W. Madison Street Suite 1150
Chicago, Il, 60661

Phone: (312) 353-7724
Email: info@scorechicago.org
Website: chicago.score.org

American Management Association (AMA)

AMA in Chicago is a hub for entrepreneurial education. But they don’t just educate beginners. They offer training and workshops from C-level executives to entry-level employees. They want to offer development opportunities for professionals at every step of their career. 

Some of the top subjects that AMA focuses on:

  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Management
  • Project management
  • Sales
  • Strategic planning

Chicago’s AMA branch is located at Summit Chicago. Reach out to them to learn more about upcoming seminars and workshops for your entire team:

Summit Chicago
205 N Michigan Ave, 10th floor
Chicago, IL 60601

Phone: (312) 938-2000
Website: amanet.org

Financial assistance for Chicago businesses

Looking for some startup or growth funds? These resources in the Chicago area can help you secure the funds you need to keep your business moving. 

Harvard Business School Angels of Chicago

Havard alumni have banded together to form a group of angel investors to help improve the Chicago ecosystem with new startups from all industries. The preferences for funding include:

  • Early and seed-stage companies
  • A strong management team
  • Fast-growing or large market
  • Innovative offering that is scalable

To apply for funding, visit hbangelschicago.com or email info@hbsangelschicago.com to learn more. 

Illinois Investment Network

The Illinois Investment Network is all about connecting potential investors with small businesses and new startups. You can browse through investor profiles to see if there’s someone who might be a good fit for you or even post your own business to put out some feelers for someone who may want to invest in you. 

Check it out at illinoisinvestmentnetwork.com.

Chicago area chambers of commerce

Chambers of commerce seek to further the economic development of their communities through helping small businesses like yours get a good start and continue to grow. From funding and networking events to marketing resources and mentorships, a local chamber of commerce can help your business succeed. 

Learn more: Chamber of commerce basics: what they do and why you should join

Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce

The Wrigley Building
410 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 900
Chicago, IL 60611

Phone: (312) 494-6700
Email: info@chicagolandchamber.org
Website: https://www.chicagolandchamber.org/

Illinois Chamber

300 S. Wacker Drive, Suite 1600
Chicago, IL 60606

Phone: (312) 983-7100
Email: webmaster@ilchamber.org
Website: https://www.ilchamber.org/

Edgewater Chamber of Commerce

1210 W. Rosedale
Chicago, IL 60660 

Phone: (773) 561-6000
Email: info@edgewater.org
Website: https://www.edgewater.org/

Employment and hiring resources in the Chicago area

As your business is growing, you’ll likely need to hire employees to help with the workload and keep your business running smoothly. These resources can give you tips for hiring and help you find the perfect candidate for the job. 

Illinois workNet

Illinois workNet is an organization dedicated to helping people train for and find the best jobs for them. They also offer several resources for employers during the hiring process, from job posting abilities to information about how to hire the right person. 

Visit illinoisworknet.com to learn more. 

Chicago Public Library

The Chicago Public library lists some great resources on their website for business owners. One such resource is a category on their blog for small businesses looking to post jobs and hire. The library posts their favorite books on the topic, relevant nearby workshops for enhancing your candidate search, and other tips and tricks for hiring. 

Check out this resource at chipublib.org.

Chicago public library for local small business resources

Grow your business with reputation management software

As you are planning ways to grow your business and seeking for external resources to help you out, be sure to keep an internal marketing plan as well. Part of the plan should be keeping up with your online reputation. 

How will others view your business? What are your customers saying about you?

Help control the narrative with reputation management software. Womply’s solution allows you to manage all your online reviews on all of the big review sites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and more, all from one dashboard with one login. 

A good online reputation will help increase online conversion and in-store traffic.

Learn more by filling out the form below for a free demo

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