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Business Resources

Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Office of Business Development

DCEO's Office of Business Development administers a wide array of programs and services designed to help Illinois businesses thrive in today's economy. We offer expansion incentives, technology support services, access to capital, global marketing expertise, and job training and education for workers. Our trained staff is committed to forging partnerships with the private sector to build upon Illinois' reputation as a world-class center for business and industry. This includes a strong emphasis on programs designed to provide small businesses -- particularly minority and female entrepreneurs -- with the resources they need to succeed and grow their business opportunities. Key to the department’s efforts is an innovative regional approach to economic and workforce development. In utilizing this approach, the department recognizes that the best economic development ideas often come via a two-way street. With state economic development representatives reaching out every day in each of the ten regions in the state, businesses have better access to state services.

Illinois Entrepreneurship Network

Experts, networks, tools, and other opportunities transform your business into an appealing investment for lenders. That's where success begins. The IEN partners with well-respected business development organizations and educational institutions that work with clients who have the vision and potential to become high-growth enterprises. Whether your company employs two people or 102, IEN can help you Connect Outside The Box - it's a new way of thinking that extends beyond your knowledge and experience to activate the possibilities!

U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) dedicates its energy and resources to providing support to small businesses and small-business owners across the nation. SBA helps businesses across the country through what we call the “3 C’s” of our service: Capital: We work with about 5,000 banks to provide SBA loans to deserving small businesses; Contracts: We work to ensure that 23% of federal contracts dollars go to small businesses; and Counseling: 14,000 SBA-affiliated counselors are ready when you need small business guidance.

Tax Credits

Will County Tax Abatement Program

Will County and many communities offer abatement of ad valorem real estate taxes as an incentive to new or retained businesses. Each community develops its specific abatement to the project request on a case-by-case basis. Will County’s tax abatement program is done on an application/weighted process. As a result of the application evaluation, a project can receive a 50% abatement on improvements for 3, 4, or 5 consecutive tax levy years. Abatement can only apply to improvements done to the property, based on the equalized assessed valuation of the property. The Will County Tax Abatement Incentive is administered by the Will County Center for Economic Development

Illinois Small Business Job Creation Tax Credit

The State of Illinois recently passed a new incentive for small businesses, the Illinois Small Business Job Creation Tax Credit. The law creates a $2,500 tax credit (that can be carried forward) on withholding tax for employers who hire new, full-time Illinois employees during the 12-month period beginning July 1, 2010. Only employers with 50 or fewer total employees qualify. The total credit allowance under the legislation is $50 million. In other words, the program will provide credit for the first 20,000 qualified jobs. An online system will allow employers to register their new hires and, in effect, reserve their place in line. Employers can begin claiming the credit after the job has been maintained for a year. The online system will be available beginning July 1, 2010.

Economic Development for a Growing Economy Tax Credit Program (EDGE)

The EDGE program is designed to offer a special tax incentive to encourage companies to locate or expand operations in Illinois when there is active consideration of a competing location in another State. The program can provide tax credits to qualifying companies, equal to the amount of state income taxes withheld from the salaries of employees in the newly created jobs. The non-refundable credits can be used against corporate income taxes to be paid over a period not to exceed 10 years. To qualify, a company must provide documentation that attests to the fact of competition among a competing state and agree to make an investment of at least $5 million in capital improvements and create a minimum of 25 new full-time jobs in Illinois. For a company with 100 or fewer employees, the company must agree to make a capital investment of $million and create at least 5 new full-time jobs in Illinois.

High Impact Business (HIB)

The HIB program is designed to encourage large-scale economic development activities, by providing tax incentives (similar to those offered within an enterprise zone) to companies that propose to make a substantial capital investment in operations and will create or retain above average number of jobs. Businesses may qualify for: investment tax credits, a state sales tax exemption on building materials, an exemption from state sales tax on utilities, and a state sales tax exemption on purchases of personal property used or consumed in the manufacturing process or the operation of a pollution control facility. The project must involve a minimum of $12 million investment causing the creation of 500 full-time jobs or an investment of $30 million causing the retention of 1500 full-time jobs. The investment must take place at a designated location in Illinois outside of an Enterprise Zone. The program has been expanded to include a qualified new electric generating facility, production operations at a new coal mine, a new or upgraded transmission facility that supports the creation of 150 Illinois coal-mining jobs, or a newly constructed gasification facility as a "Coal/Energy High Impact Businesses." In 2009, the program was further expanded to include wind energy facilities. The designation as a Wind Energy/High Impact Business is contingent on the business constructing a new electric generation facility or expanding an existing wind power facility.  “New wind power facility” means a newly constructed electric generation facility, or a newly constructed expansion of an existing electric generation facility, placed in service on or after July 1, 2009, that generates electricity using wind energy devices.  “New wind energy device” means any device, with a nameplate capacity of at least 0.5 megawatts, that is used in the process of converting kinetic energy from the wind to generate electricity.

Financing Tools

Illinois Capital Access Program (CAP)

The Illinois Capital Access Program (CAP) is designed to encourage financial institutions to make loans to small and new businesses that do not qualify under conventional lending policies. CAP is a form of loan portfolio insurance, which provides additional reserve coverage to the lender on loan defaults. By participating in CAP, lenders have available to them a proven financing mechanism to meet the needs of financial institutions and Illinois small businesses.

Participation Loan Program (PLP)

The PLP program is designed to work through banks and other conventional lending institutions, to provide subordinated financial assistance to Illinois small businesses that employ Illinois workers. A business with 500 or fewer employees may apply for a PLP loan of not less than $10,000 or more than $750,000. Loans shall not exceed 25% of the total project and may not be used for debt refinancing or contingency funding. 

Illinois Finance Authority (IFA)

The Illinois Finance Authority (IFA) is a self-financed, state authority principally engaged in issuing taxable and tax-exempt bonds, making loans, and investing capital for businesses, non-profit corporations, agriculture, and local government units statewide. IFA finances about $3 billion each year, helping generate economic growth and job creation.

Industrial Revenue Bonds

The Illinois Finance Authority issues tax-exempt Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRBs) on behalf of manufacturing companies to finance the acquisition of fixed assets such as land, buildings, and equipment. Bond proceeds also may be used for either new construction or renovation.

Small Business Participation Loan Program

IFA assists Illinois businesses that create or retain jobs by offering a loan participation program in conjunction with their lender. Through this program, the Authority will purchase up to the lesser of $500,000, or a 50% participation in the loan, directly from the borrower’s lender. Details are available from your IFA Funding Manager.

Employ Illinois

The Illinois State Treasurer’s Office invests millions of dollars annually in low-interest loans to business owners so they can start or enhance their businesses. We partner with eligible lenders to offer interest rate reductions to business owners large and small, and we have programs tailored to owners of childcare facilities.

Large Business Development Program (LBDP)

The LBDP program is designed to provide grants to businesses undertaking a major expansion or relocation project that will result in substantial private investment and the creation and/or retention of a large number of Illinois jobs.  Funds available through the program may be used by large businesses for bondable business activities, including financing the purchase of land or buildings, building construction or renovation, and certain types of machinery and equipment.  Grant eligibility and amounts are determined by the amount of investment and job creation or retention involved.

U.S. Small Business Administration Loan Programs

SBA offers a variety of loan programs for very specific purposes, such as 7(a), CDC/504, and Microloan. Take some time to study the programs included in this link, to see if you qualify to participate.

Workforce Development

Workforce Investment Board of Will County

The Board envisions Will County with a vibrant economy bolstered by a workforce ready for today's and tomorrow's careers. The Workforce Investment Board of Will County plays a key role in the economic development of our County. The Board brings together a myriad of employment, training, and educational services, transforming them into a comprehensive and easily accessed system that supports the development of a world-class workforce. The Board builds the workforce system to develop quality employees for employers and to develop quality opportunities for employees. This system makes it easy for businesses to make connections with a qualified pool of applicants and to access other workforce development services.  This system is also intended to make it easy for people to learn about and access a broad range of employment, education, and related services.

Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Grant Opportunities for Qualifying Organizations

The DCEO Office of Workforce Development is committed to encouraging statewide economic development by cultivating a well-trained workforce. To accomplish this goal, the Office identifies youth, adults, and dislocated workers who are eligible for assistance under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), assesses their employability skills, and provides training as appropriate for identified sectors of growing employment demand. Ideally, this will lead to the placement of these individuals in self-sufficient employment. The Office also provides follow-up services leading to employment retention in high-wage and high-skilled jobs. These services are provided statewide while maintaining a focus on the economic needs of each region.

IL Entrepreneurship Network Training Assistance

Upgrading your skills and developing yourself professionally is an important part of growing your business as technology continues to advance, regulations continue to be refined, and new challenges and opportunities emerge. IEN experts work with you and your business to develop the skill sets necessary to succeed in a dynamic business environment.

Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Office of Workforce Develop met

The Office of Workforce Development is committed to encouraging statewide economic development by cultivating a well-trained workforce. To accomplish this goal, the Office identifies youth, adults, and dislocated workers who are eligible for assistance under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), assesses their employability skills, and provides training as appropriate for identified sectors of growing employment demand. Ideally, this will lead to the placement of these individuals in self-sufficient employment. The Office also provides follow-up services leading to employment retention in high-wage and high-skilled jobs. These services are provided statewide while maintaining a focus on the economic needs of each region.


Technology Development Account

The Illinois State Treasurer's Office encourages innovation, job growth, and business expansion through the Technology Development Account (TDA). With $75 million invested in Illinois venture capital firms, the State has helped to bolster the high-tech, venture, and start-up sectors in Illinois. Indeed, the TDA has helped create and grow 26 Illinois companies, providing good-paying jobs in Illinois' technology community. The TDA is a "fund of funds," allowing the Treasurer to invest in Illinois venture capital firms that invest in technology businesses that are seeking to locate, expand or remain in Illinois. Financing may be used for expenses such as seed capital, research, and development, the introduction of a product or process into the marketplace, or similar needs requiring risk capital. The Treasurer considers a venture capital firm for investment only after it has been thoroughly reviewed and recommended by a competitively selected external adviser and a volunteer professional, non-partisan external advisory board.

Technology Development Bridge

The Technology Development Bridge is an Illinois venture capital fund that provides seed-stage equity financing to small technology companies, among others. The program, funded by the Illinois Finance Authority and implemented as a partnership with private venture investors, is aimed at helping start-up firms access the capital they need to grow and create jobs.

Employer Training Investment Pogrom (ETIP)

The Employer Training Investment Program (ETIP) supports Illinois workers’ efforts to upgrade their skills to remain current in new technologies and business practices, enabling companies to remain competitive, expand into new markets and introduce more efficient technologies into their operations. ETIP grants may reimburse Illinois companies for up to 50 percent of the cost of training their employees. Grants may be awarded to individual businesses, intermediary organizations operating multi-company training projects, and original equipment manufacturers sponsoring multi-company training projects for employees of their Illinois supplier companies.

Manufacturing Modernization Loan Program

The Manufacturing Modernization Loan Program is designed to provide manufacturers with access to adequate and affordable financing for upgrading and modernizing their manufacturing equipment and operations. To remain competitive in the global economy manufacturers must continually update their equipment. Investing in new technologies allows manufacturers to increase production capacity and efficiency. The goal of this program is to make adequate and affordable capital available to Illinois manufacturers for retooling, equipment upgrades, and facility expansion. DCEO will participate with local lending institutions in loan amounts of a minimum of $10,000 and a maximum of $750,000, or 25% of the total project, whichever is less. The interest rate is set at the time of approval.

Energy Efficiency

ComEd Smart Ideas for Business

With rising costs and growing competition, owning and operating a business is more challenging than ever before. When it comes to energy costs, ComEd’s Smart Ideas for Your Business® can help you reduce your use. Working with you, ComEd can show you how to create a more energy-efficient business with an improved bottom line. Resources through ComEd include Energy Analyzer, Fact Sheets, Case Studies, Programs and Incentives, and other online tools.

Nicor Energy Efficiency Program

The Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program is designed to offer ideas and tools to help Illinois residents and businesses in Nicor's territory save energy and money.  The Program provides Nicor Gas customers with energy education, resources, and financial rebates to make business energy use more efficient and affordable. 

Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Office of Energy and Recycling

The Office of Energy and Recycling seeks to demonstrate the economic development benefits, including job creation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and recycling through a variety of programs and services. Further, Bureau programs will demonstrate that economic development, sustainable energyrecycling practices, and environmental protection go hand in hand.

Links to Local Organizations