Small Business Resources

Information for small business owners in affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week Chicago moved into Phase III of the “Protecting Chicago” framework and began reopening on Wednesday, June 3. This included opening parks, libraries, and some non-essential businesses. The Phase III opening will still require strict physical distancing, limited occupancy, and the use of face masks and cloth face coverings.

Businesses and organizations with questions relating to their reopening should reach out to 311. In addition, the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection will continue to host a series of webinars to better prepare businesses as they open. More information and webinar registration can be found here.

As many businesses recover from break-ins and vandalism that occurred the week of June 1, some residents struggle to access food and essentials. The city is working to assist those adversely affected.

Families needing emergency food can call (773) 553-5437. Additionally, seniors and families without children should call 311 for emergency food needs.

Affected businesses that may need boarding up due to damage or to prevent damage can email for requests. Volunteers are also needed to assist small businesses board and clean up. Those interested in this opportunity can sign up here.

Lightfoot’s $100 Million Fund for Chicago Businesses

  • Mayor Lightfoot announces $100M loan fund for small business.
  • The application will open March 31, but you can fill out an interest form with the following link:
  • Starting March 31, small businesses in Chicago can apply for low-interest loans of up to $50,000 with repayment terms of up to five years. The amount of the loan you’ll qualify for depends on your revenues before business was affected by the coronavirus.
  • Who’s eligible: You must demonstrate a 25% drop in revenue, have less than $3 million in revenue and fewer than 50 employees, and have no current tax liens or legal judgments.
  • How to apply: Apply online and include your most recent tax return, bank statements going back to October 2019 and photo ID.

Accion – Monthly Payment Reduction Request

  • For all existing Accion Serving Illinois & Indiana clients, we offer you a 90% reduction in your monthly loan payment for the next three months. We will extend the term of your loan for three months after the original maturity date to help you to catch up after the crisis has passed.

Accion – Loan Application

  • For existing Accion clients and for any entrepreneur who needs access to capital right now, we are launching an expedited Accion line of credit application for up to $25,000. Any entrepreneur who has a clean credit report in 2019 is eligible for this expedited process. Rather than conduct a full underwrite of your business, we will set the maximum loan amount based on your monthly revenues in January and February. If you didn’t make on-time payments in 2019 or you need more capital than your recent revenues suggest, we are still here to help: an Accion Community Lender will work with you to evaluate your application in more detail.

Jewish Free Loan

  • Jewish Free Loan is here to help with a no-fee and interest-free loan of up to $10,000 to cover the following:
    • Small business losses
    • Lost wages because you can’t go in to work
    • Child care costs when schools are closed
    • Funds lost due to cancelled travel plans
  • Do not have to be Jewish to receive loan.

  • City of Chicago page with resources for business owners and employees.

  • US Small Business Administration is providing loans to small businesses.

Facebook – Business Grants

  • Small business grants for impacted businesses.

Bridgespan – Managing Through Tough Times

  • Nonprofits face and overcome hurdles every day, but unexpected or severe challenges can require new approaches. Below you’ll find resources for nonprofits and funders to help deal with, learn from, and grow beyond tough times.

Crisis Management for Non-Profits During COVID-19

Resources for Nonprofits and Funders

  • We’ve pulled together a collection of online resources that offer valuable guidance on navigating the current times—both responding to the pandemic and preparing for the possibility of an economic downturn.

Accion – Book a Consultation

  • The Accion Coaching Team continues to be available to provide you free assistance.

United Way Nonprofit Fund

  • In partnership with the Chicago Community Trust and the City of Chicago, United Way of Metro Chicago has launched the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund to support those within our community who are most impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • The fund was publicly announced and launched on Monday, and we have already received commitments exceeding $8 million from the corporate and foundation community across the Chicago region. But the reality is the region needs much more to begin to stabilize households.
  • Thanks to you and tens of thousands of others across our community, United Way of Metro Chicago can help meet the needs of our community each year, and we thank you for being our partners in this work.
  • Today, I ask that you help by doing two things:
    • Donate to the fund because every dollar counts.
    • Share this message broadly with your networks, including via social media. Links to the giving website and our social media posts are below.
  • The Chicago region is extraordinarily generous. We know that people will step forward to help those in need.
  • Please contact Betsy Hughes, Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer at to learn more about the fund and join our efforts to rapidly provide relief and resources to our neighbors.

Chicago Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection – Business Education Workshop Calendar

  • The Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection (BACP) offers online workshops for small business owners. Workshops vary each month and are conducted by City Officials, experts, and partner business organizations. All workshops are free, and open to the public.