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SBIF Success Story: K. H. Hapkido School

North Branch Works
November 29, 2023

Connecting businesses to the City of Chicago’s Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) is one of the best ways that we can strengthen them and support high-quality job creation.

Every month, SBIF opens in tax increment financing districts (TIF) across the city and businesses have a month to apply. Commercial businesses are eligible for grants up to $150,000 while industrial firms can receive a maximum of $250,000 with 50% project match.

In March of 2022, SBIF opened in the Addison South TIF District. Our staff was honored to inform Hyun’s Hapkido and Taekwondo School (2743 N. Western Avenue) about SBIF and help the business owner, Grandmaster Kwang Hyun (pictured below right), apply for a SBIF grant.

Hyun’s Hapkido and Taekwondo School has operated for over fifty years at the intersection of Diversey, Western, and Elston Avenues. The school has become a neighborhood destination for people of all ages; it’s a safe space where people come together for community building and to share cultural exchanges.

His project proposed five major upgrades to his mixed-use, commercial building:

  • A new roof
  • Exterior brick repairs
  • Installation of a new air conditioning unit to serve the school’s locker rooms
  • Addition of exterior goose neck lighting (pictured above)
  • Repairing the basement floor to prevent flooding

Over the next fifteen months, our staff partnered closely with Grandmaster Hyun on his project. We reached out to contractors on his behalf and scheduled site visits so they could provide project estimates.

We also worked together on obtaining the necessary paperwork and submitted it to SomerCor, the SBIF program administrator. It’s important to keep in mind that work cannot be started on a SBIF project prior to the city’s review and approval.

Ultimately, Grandmaster Hyun hired Interstate Mechanical & Construction Company to carry out his SBIF project.

As a member of North Branch Works, Grandmaster Hyun applied to our Small Business Loan Fund and received a loan, meeting the City of Chicago’s requirement that businesses show they have the upfront financing for SBIF projects.

His project broke ground over the summer and was completed by August. Following completion of SBIF projects, the City of Chicago pays its portion within four to six weeks.

This project is a great example of the technical assistance we can provide to our member businesses and how we can add capacity to small businesses.

We’d like to congratulate Grandmaster Hyun for completing his project and recognize Anastasia Williams from SomerCor for her guidance and support.

Stay tuned to our blog and e-newsletter for opportunities to apply for SBIF in the future.

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