The City of Chicago’s Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) is one of the best tools we have to foster economic development, add high-quality jobs, and strengthen businesses in our service area.
For these reasons, we’re thrilled that nine businesses located in the North Branch South TIF District, including Gabriel Environmental Services (pictured above), applied for a SBIF grant when the opportunity opened in March.
SBIF provides reimbursable grants to businesses for permanent building repairs and improvements. The program is open to commercial and industrial businesses. SBIF funds can be used to pay for storefront renovations, building systems, interior remodeling, and roof replacements.
Commercial businesses are eligible for grants covering 30%, 60%, or 90% of a project’s costs while industrial businesses with 200 or fewer employees can receive reimbursement for 50% of the cost of a building upgrade.
North Branch Works staff conducted extensive outreach for the program in the North Branch South TIF, including highlighting it in three e-newsletters, making phone calls, and sending emails and letters encouraging eligible businesses to apply.
It’s great that many of these businesses in the North Branch South TIF will receive grants; the strong interest in SBIF will help us make the case the City of Chicago should invest more money in the program in the next cycle.
Please keep in mind that North Branch Works’ low-interest Small Business Loan program can be leveraged so your business doesn’t have to find financing or divert working capital for your project. And in some cases, we may be able to make a loan greater than your SBIF award.
Because SBIF is reimbursable, businesses are required to pay for the project up front and then submit documents to SomerCor, the program administrator, to receive reimbursement.
In the past year, North Branch Works made a low-interest loan to a member business that received a SBIF grant; the business carried out its improvement project immediately and then repaid the loan when it received its SBIF grant.
SBIF continues to open in TIF Districts across the city every month. Some of the SBIFs that will open close to North Branch Works’ service area include:
- Fullerton/Milwaukee in August 2021,
- Western Avenue North in October 2021
- Avondale in November 2021.
The next TIF District scheduled to open for SBIF in our service area is Addison South in March of 2022.
To see a full calendar of SBIF openings, please go here.
With questions about SBIF and North Branch Works’ Small Business Loan Fund, please contact Steve Simmons, 773-929-5552 x2226, firstname.lastname@example.org
Image credit: Gabriel Environmental Services
Image credit: Guild Row