Small Business Grants In Illinois 

Last Updated on January 17, 2024 by Lori Pace

Are you a small business owner in Illinois looking for financial assistance to help grow your business? Look no further! Illinois offers a variety of grants specifically designed to support small businesses across the state.

This article will explore some of the top small business grants available in Illinois, along with eligibility requirements and helpful tips for applying. Whether you need funding for startup costs, expansion plans, or recovery from the impact of COVID-19, these grants can provide the boost you need to succeed.

The Neighborhood Opportunity Fund is one grant program that aims to support small businesses in eligible Chicago neighborhoods. With this grant, you can receive funding for your business expansion, storefront renovations, or relocation expenses.

Another option is the City of Urbana Business Grants, which offer financial assistance to businesses located in Urbana, Illinois. These grants can be used for various purposes, including marketing, equipment purchases, and technology upgrades.

Additionally, the Back to Business (B2B) Grant Program provides funding to small businesses in Illinois that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These grants can help cover expenses such as payroll, rent, and utilities.

By taking advantage of these grant opportunities, you can access the financial support needed to take your small business to the next level. 

Neighborhood Opportunity Fund

The Neighborhood Opportunity Fund provides financial support to businesses located specifically in Chicago, South Sides, and Southwest commercial areas. This grant opportunity offers financial assistance to help entrepreneurs construct new buildings or rehabilitate existing properties within the business corridors of Illinois. 

The program focuses on supporting small businesses in commercial and industrial properties, encouraging business development and economic growth in these areas. The Neighborhood Opportunity Fund offers two funding options for small and large projects. A grant award of up to $250,000 can be given to eligible businesses. 

City of Urbana Redevelopment Incentive Program

The City of Urbana offers various incentives program for small businesses. One of which is the Redevelopment Incentive Program. Its main goal is to encourage entrepreneurs to invest capital in vacant properties or underutilized buildings within Illinois’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts. 

The program grants eligible business owners $10,000 up to $25,000 to fund various building construction and improvement projects. Not only does this incentive give entrepreneurs a chance to take their businesses to the next level, but it also helps to promote job creation and economic growth in the community.

Moreover, the program aims to revitalize business corridors and districts of Urbana, creating an environment where entrepreneurs can flourish. With the support of the grant, you can explore expansion possibilities, attract more customers, and strengthen your market presence. 

Back to Business (B2B) Grant Program

Get ready to boost your business with the Back to Business (B2B) Grant Program, providing recovery grants for businesses in industries hit hardest by the pandemic. This program offers a lifeline for businesses looking to revive and expand their operations.

The B2B Grant Program offers direct financial assistance to eligible businesses, providing you with the resources needed to recover and thrive. Whether you need funds to cover operating costs, invest in new equipment, or hire additional staff, this grant program can provide the necessary capital to support your business objectives. Eligible businesses can receive grant money ranging from $5,000 up to $150,000.

The B2B Grant Program specifically targets industries that have been heavily impacted by the pandemic, such as restaurants, hotels, and creative arts businesses. By focusing on these sectors, the program acknowledges their unique challenges and provides tailored support to help them recover and succeed. This industry-specific approach ensures that the grants effectively uplift businesses in the hardest-hit areas. 

SBIR & STTR Grant Programs

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to boost your business with the SBIR & STTR Grant Programs. These programs are designed to provide financial support for innovative projects and research that can propel your business forward. The grant programs are particularly beneficial for small businesses looking to develop and implement innovative business ideas with high commercial potential.

Through these programs, you can receive funding to cover project costs and overhead costs, allowing you to focus on the growth and expansion of your business. The application process is straightforward, with an online application that includes an application review and status update. 

Feed the Seed Business Startup Grants

The Feed the Seed Business Startup Grants offer a golden opportunity for entrepreneurs to cultivate their creative and innovative business ideas and nourish their startup dreams.

With a focus on providing technical assistance and financing opportunities, these grants are available for both commercial and industrial businesses and nonprofit organizations within Kane, DuPage, Kendall, and Will counties.

Applicants must have an annual business revenue of $40,000 or less to qualify. At the same time, eligible recipients must maintain their headquarters within the said counties for at least two years. 

With the support of government agencies and the availability of these grants, entrepreneurs can seize the chance to turn their innovative ideas into thriving businesses. 

Restaurant Employee Relief Fund

Craving a taste of support during tough times? Indulge in the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, providing a helping hand to those in the restaurant industry.

This fund aims to support restaurant business owners and their employees to access funding for various expenses brought about by Covid-related illnesses, injuries, or the death of loved ones. The financial aid ranges from $250 to $1,500. This amount will cover the unpaid time off and employee benefits that the restaurant businesses could not otherwise provide. 

Grant Watch

Grant Watch is an online resource platform that provides valuable information on various funding opportunities for small businesses in Illinois. With Grant Watch, you can find grants specifically designed to help cover overhead costs and support the ongoing operations of your business.

The platform offers many grant packages tailored to women-owned businesses and small business sources. Additionally, Grant Watch can connect you with the Capital One business accelerator program, which provides access to funding and mentorship for entrepreneurs looking to grow their business revenue.

By utilizing Grant Watch, you can stay informed about the latest funding opportunities and increase your chances of securing your business’s financial support. 

Advantage Illinois

Advantage Illinois is a program under the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) that provides various grants and incentives to help small businesses in Illinois thrive. This program specifically targets underrepresented groups such as black women and female founders, offering them the necessary support to succeed.

By taking advantage of Advantage Illinois, you can gain access to capital, receive legal assistance, leverage federal grants, and tap into a network of allies who are dedicated to supporting your business growth. Don’t miss out on these incredible opportunities to fuel your business and impact your community. 

Amber Grant for Women

The Amber Grant offers a business opening grant specifically for women-led businesses, creating a funding opportunity to kickstart their ventures. It also provides entrepreneur training and mentorship, equipping women with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in business.

This grant is not only inclusive, but it also recognizes the unique challenges faced by self-identified LGBTQ people and offers them opportunities for support and growth.

One of the main advantages of the Amber Grant is that it grants $10,000, which does not require repayment, unlike some other forms of financial assistance. This means that once you receive the grant, you can use the funds to grow your business without worrying about repayment terms.

The Amber Grant for Women is a fantastic opportunity for women entrepreneurs in Illinois to receive the support and funding they need to succeed. So if you’re a woman looking to start or expand your business, don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity. 

Women’s Business Development Center

The Women’s Business Development Center offers a wide range of services, including small business loans of up to $50,000. They also offer programs and workshops to help women entrepreneurs navigate the business’s challenges, from startup costs to accessing capital.

The Women’s Business Development Center also promotes justice and equity by supporting women-led businesses in underserved communities, including rural areas and tribal college small business accelerators.

With their dedication to empowering women and providing access to justice, the Women’s Business Development Center is a valuable resource for women entrepreneurs, including mother-led small businesses and black entrepreneurs, looking to grow their business revenue and succeed in the business world. 

Eligibility Requirements for Small Business Grants in Illinois

To be eligible for small business grants in Illinois, entrepreneurs must meet specific requirements set by the granting organizations. These requirements vary depending on the grant program but typically include criteria such as being a resident of Illinois, having a business plan or strategic plan in place, and demonstrating a need for financial assistance.

For example, the business opening grant offered by the Women’s Business Development Center is specifically for women entrepreneurs who are starting or expanding their businesses. Other grants, such as those offered by rural business incubators, may prioritize businesses located in rural areas or provide additional resources for entrepreneurs in those regions.

It’s also important to have a long-term business strategic plan in place to demonstrate your commitment to growth and sustainability.

Finally, each grant program has its own application deadline and procedure, so it’s crucial to stay informed and submit your application on time.

Remember, these grants don’t require repayment, making them an excellent opportunity for program participants to access funding and support their business goals. 

Helpful Tips When Applying for Small Business Grants in Illinois

When applying for small business grants in Illinois, you’ll want to remember these helpful tips to increase your chances of success.

1) Consider focusing on service-type businesses, as they often have a higher chance of receiving grants than other industries.

2) Be sure to clearly outline your startup costs and any certification costs that may be required for your business. This will demonstrate to the grant provider that you thoroughly understand your financial needs.

3) Highlight any plans or initiatives that align with the goals of the grant provider, such as supporting non-profit organizations or creating job opportunities for additional employees.

It’s also important to be aware of any additional state-specific requirements that may need to be met in order to qualify for the grant.

Following these tips and presenting a well-prepared application greatly increase your chances of accessing Illinois small business grants. 

How to Find the Right Grant for Your Small Business

To discover the perfect grant opportunity for your small business, embark on a journey through a labyrinth of funding possibilities that could unlock the door to your company’s future success.

Start your search by exploring government grants, specifically Illinois small business grants, which can provide financial support for various purposes, such as startup costs or hiring additional employees.

Remember that different grants may have additional state-specific requirements, so thoroughly research each opportunity.

As an active business owner, access the applicant portal to stay updated on current grant opportunities and deadlines.

Additionally, consider grants that cater to specific demographics, such as disabled or migrant individuals, as these programs can provide unique resources and support.

By knowing how to find the right grant for your small business, you can proactively secure the funding you need to thrive. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the maximum amount of funding available through the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund?

The maximum amount of funding available through the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund is determined case-by-case. It is designed to support small businesses in underserved areas, providing financial assistance to help them thrive and contribute to local economic growth.

Are any specific industries or sectors prioritized for the City of Urbana Business Grants?

The City of Urbana prioritizes businesses in sectors that contribute to economic growth, job creation, and community development. The city aims to support local businesses and foster a thriving economy by focusing on these industries.

How quickly can a business expect to receive funding after applying for the Back to Business (B2B) Grant Program?

You can expect to receive funding quickly after applying for the Back to Business (B2B) grant program. The program aims to provide immediate financial assistance to small businesses, ensuring a swift and efficient process for disbursing funds.

Are there any restrictions on how SBIR & STTR Grant Programs funds can be used?

There are restrictions on how SBIR & STTR grant program funds can be used. These funds are intended for research and development activities and cannot be used for general business expenses or personal purposes. 


In conclusion, securing small business grants in Illinois can provide a much-needed boost to entrepreneurs and help them navigate the often challenging landscape of starting and growing a business.

The state offers a variety of grants and programs, such as the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund and the Back to Business Grant Program, which aim to support local businesses and stimulate economic growth.

When applying for small business grants in Illinois, it’s important to carefully review the eligibility requirements and ensure that your business meets the criteria. Additionally, it’s crucial to thoroughly research and find the right grant program that aligns with your business goals and objectives. This can increase your chances of securing funding and set your business on the path to success.

Remember to be detail-oriented and persuasive in your application, clearly articulating how the grant funds will be utilized to drive growth and create a positive impact in the community.

By taking advantage of the available resources and carefully crafting your application, you can maximize your chances of receiving a small business grant in Illinois. So, don’t hesitate to explore the various grant programs and start taking steps toward realizing your entrepreneurial dreams.

Lori Pace
Lori Pace

Lori Pace is a single mother of three daughters ages 7 and under. As a working mom from home, she balances kids, work and two crazy dogs with humor and love. Follow Lori as she honestly gives tips and advice based on her own experiences as a single mom!