WHO IS WEST SIDE UNITED?
West Side United (WSU) is a dedicated team partnering with healthcare providers, community organizations, residents, the faith-based community, business, government and others working together to coordinate investments and share outcomes. working to reduce life expectancy gaps of up to 16 years between Chicago’s downtown and 10 West Side neighborhoods by 2030. WSU seeks to improve neighborhood health by addressing inequality in healthcare, education, economic vitality and the physical environment using a cross-sector, place-based strategy.
WHAT IS THE WEST SIDE UNITED SMALL BUSINESS GRANT?
The West Side United Small Business Grant was piloted in 2018 with the goal of increasing economic opportunities in Chicago’s West Side neighborhoods by offering unrestricted grants to entrepreneurs and small businesses. In addition to access to capital this grant program is intended to connect businesses aspiring to scale their businesses by securing vendor contracts with WSU partner organizations.
HOW MUCH IS THE AWARD?
West Side United will be awarding one (1) $10,000 grant to each selected business.
WHO IS FUNDING THE GRANT?
2023 Funding is provided by the following partner organizations:
- American Medical Association(AMA)
- Anonymous Family Foundation
- Lurie Children’s Hospital
- Molson Coors
- Rush University Hospital
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO APPLY?
For-profit entrepreneurs and small businesses*
Business must be located in the following 10 West Side Neighborhoods:
- Belmont Cragin
- East Garfield Park
- Humboldt Park
- Lower West Side (Pilsen)
- Near Westside
- North Lawndale
- South Lawndale (Little Village)
- West Garfield Park
- West Town
*Revenue must not exceed $1 million annually
I’M NOT SURE WHICH NEIGHBORHOOD IS MY BUSINESS LOCATED IN
Some neighborhoods share zip codes and the limits between each other might be difficult to locate. You can easily identify your neighborhood using the Chicago neighborhoods map tool.
WHAT IF I RUN A POP-UP OR HOME BASED BUSINESS?
Every business operating in the City of Chicago requires a City of Chicago business license. The business address associated with the business license must fall within the 10 eligible west side neighborhoods.
HOW DO I APPLY?
Applications will be accepted from November 17, 2023 through December 15, 2023. Eligible businesses are encouraged to submit their applications via the online application.
CAN I FILL OUT A PHYSICAL APPLICATION?
Yes, physical applications will be available through the following WSU partner organizations.
WHAT INFORMATION SHOULD I HAVE AVAILABLE TO COMPLETE THE APPLICATION?
- Knowledge of the following:
- Previous funding received on behalf of your business(if applicable).
- 2022 Business net Income
- 2022 Business revenue
- Chicago Business Licence number
- Copy of a valid photo I.D.
- Business bank statements from the second quarter of 2022 (April, May, June).
- Signed 2022 federal business tax return, or signed 2022 federal 1040 individual tax return with schedule C included(all Pages).
- A signed W9 tax form with date and signature
(access a fillable form here: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf).
I RECEIVED AN AWARD IN A PRIOR YEAR , CAN I APPLY AGAIN?
Yes, if you have received an award in previous years and complied with the requirements of the award,you are eligible to reapply.
WHEN ARE APPLICATIONS DUE ?
Applications are due on Friday, December 15, 2023 11:59 pm CT.
HOW WILL WSU DECIDE WHICH APPLICATIONS TO FUND?
The following criteria will be used to evaluate submitted applications:
- Business identifies with one or more of the priority categories.
- Proposed use of the grant funds,and alignment with WSU and anchor institutions mission and goals.
- Connection and commitment to the surrounding community.
WHAT ARE THE PRIORITY BUSINESS CATEGORIES?
This year, WSU will give priority to the following business categories:
- IT, software development and computing services
- Custodial/Janitorial services
- Groundskeeping (Landscaping, snow removal, etc)
- Strategic consulting
- Building Security
- Legal services
- Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC&R)
- Mechanical Services
- Electrical Contracting Services
- Retailers (To support local corridors and hospital gift shops)
Although businesses and entrepreneurs within these categories will be given priority, applicants in other industries are encouraged to apply.
SHOULD I SELECT MULTIPLE PRIORITY CATEGORIES?
No, please select the priority category that MOST represents your business. If you’d like to provide additional details about your business you may do so in the writing components of the application.
HOW WERE THE PRIORITY CATEGORIES DETERMINED?
Priority categories were determined based on high impact and high urgency needs within the west side business community as well as WSU anchor partner institutions.
IS THIS A NEED BASED GRANT?
No, all West Side small businesses (with less than 1 million annual revenue) will be considered for a grant with preference given only to those businesses in the priority zip codes and categories. The selection committee will also consider the present and prospective impact of the business on the West Side communities.
WHEN WILL AWARDS BE ANNOUNCED?
Award announcements will be made in February.
WHEN WILL FUNDS BE DISPERSED?
Funds will be dispersed by early Spring 2024.
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION ?
More information can be found at www.WestSideUnited.org.
Additionally, information sessions will be hosted on the following dates:
Monday, November 27, 2023
5:30pm – 6:00pm
Virtual Via Zoom (English)
Wednesday,November 29, 2023
5:30pm – 6:00pm
Virtual En Zoom (Espanol)
Thursday, November 30, 2023
5:30pm – 7:00pm
135 N Kedzie Ave
Chicago, Il 60612
*Note all virtual sessions will be recorded and available online for viewing following the live webinar.
WHAT IF I NEED HELP FILLING OUT MY APPLICATION?
The following partner organizations have volunteers ready to provide assistance to businesses requiring assistance completing the application and ongoing technical support.