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Grants for Minority Owned Businesses (1640 × 300 px)

It's tough to run a small business. We know that funding is always top of mind at all times.

In an effort to keep our small business owners informed of possible grants as they become available, we will list some as they become available and the criteria for applying.  We encourage you to take advantage of those that apply to your business. We also encourage you to continue to look for these opportunities on your own as this list is not exhaustive.

Queer|Art's Illumination Grant

The Illuminations Grant for Black Trans Women Visual Artists, a $10,000 grant, supports visual artists who are self-identified Black trans women and trans femmes. This new grant is made possible entirely through support provided by visual artist Mariette Pathy Allen with key consultancy by Aaryn Lang. This year, Mariette Pathy Allen has decided to expand the grant to further recognize finalists for their artistic achievements. Queer|Art is pleased to announce that the grant will also provide a $1,250 award to four distinguished finalists.

Qualified artists must be self-identified Black trans women and trans femmes working in visual art and based in the United States. Applications are open March 31, 2023-July 12, 2023.

Learn more and apply HERE.

WEST SIDE FIRST - Start Up Training

Business Training cohorts are 10-week immersive business training programs comprised of specialized workshops, training, and resources facilitated in conjunction with the Neighborhood Business Center at West Side Forward. This cohort will meet from September - November 2023 in person on Tuesday evenings from 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm at West Side Forward HQ. Read more HERE.

West Side First also offers several grant opportunities with all of them open for application right now:

JI2 Program

JI2 is designed to create a pathway for individuals impacted by the justice system to tap into tangible opportunities for economic mobility and growth. Through intensive, hands-on training to either start a new career or build a business in three industries with high growth earning potential.

read more and apply HERE

Manufacturing Entrepreneurship Cohort

The Manufacturing Entrepreneurship cohort assists founders in LMI markets in scaling hardtech businesses. MEC graduates become members of the BIT alumni network granting free access to a plethora of ongoing support and resources.

read more and apply HERE

Business REMIX

Did you have a functioning business that was impacted by COVID-19? Need help rethinking your business idea and strategy? It's time to re-examine your business, the current business climate and help you identify critical adjustments required to succeed in this new economy.

read more and apply HERE


National Pride Grant - Founders First

The LGBTQIA+ National Grant provides eligible small businesses the chance to receive one of 25 grant packages totaling $25,000. Founders First is committed to increasing the number of diverse founder-led businesses generating over $1 million dollars in revenues. We are offering $25,000 in Small Business Grants.
The $25,000 fund will make investments to 25 LGBTQIA+ led businesses in the United States.

Learn more about the National Pride Grant and Application HERE.

The Chicago Neighborhood Opportunity Fund

In 2016, the City of Chicago revised the Zoning Code to leverage funds generated by new development in and around the Loop to catalyze investment in Chicago’s West, Southwest and South Sides. The Neighborhood Opportunity Fund uses these funds to support commercial corridors in Chicago’s underserved neighborhoods. Business and property owners may apply for grant funding to pay for the construction or rehabilitation of real estate and projects that support new or expanding businesses or cultural assets.

Learn more about the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund and Application HERE.

The Back to Business (B2B) Grant

The Back to Business (B2B) grant program provides recovery grants for businesses in the hardest-hit industries.  Through the state’s B2B and Business Interruption Grant (BIG) Programs, DCEO has provided more than $535 million to more than 15,000 businesses since the start of the pandemic.

Eligible restaurants, hotels and creative arts businesses are eligible to apply for $175 million in available grant funding as part of our efforts to support ongoing recovery in hard-hit industries. All applicants will receive a grant as long as they meet eligibility requirements, submit proper documentation and attestations required by the program.

The program design for B2B Restaurants, B2B Hotels, and B2B Arts, respectively, are based on legislation which established the Restaurant Employment and Stabilization Grant Program (20 ILCS 605/605-1100), Hotel Jobs Recovery Grant Program (20 ILCS 605/605-1095), and the Illinois Creative Recovery Grant program (30 ILCS 709/40).

Applications will be open between April 5 and May 10, 2023. DCEO encourages applicants to familiarize themselves with program eligibility requirements and reach out to local community navigators with any questions.

Learn more and apply HERE.


The Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) provides grant funding for permanent building improvements and repairs across the city.

Offered by the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) to tenants and owners of industrial and commercial properties, SBIF grants are funded by Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenues in designated TIF districts citywide.

Program participants can receive grants to cover between 30 percent and 90 percent of the cost of remodeling work, with a maximum grant of $150,000 for commercial properties and $250,000 for industrial properties. The grant, which is administered by SomerCor on the City’s behalf, does not have to be repaid.

Learn more about Chicago SBIF and check for roll out dates HERE.


Chicago Recovery Grant Application for Community Development

The City of Chicago and Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot are committed to strengthening local business corridors and enhancing neighborhood vitality.

The Chicago Recovery Plan provides additional opportunities for the City to invest in catalytic local development, expanding upon DPD’s existing investments and support.

DPD is now accepting applications for grant funding to support local commercial, mixed-use, and light manufacturing development. All are welcome to apply. City staff will prioritize projects in areas of Chicago where there is a history of disinvestment or limited private investment. The closest deadline to apply was February 22, 2023.

Fast Break for Small Business

LegalZoom, the NBA, WNBA, and NBA G League are committed to encouraging entrepreneurship by supporting and investing in black small business owners. Tipping off at the start of Black History Month, the third of six grant cycles will open in this multiyear program.  The deadline to complete the application was February 17, 2023.

The Founders First Job Creators Quest Grant

One of many ways small businesses can apply for the capital needed to grow. As part of our mission to provide continued education to founders, all grant recipients also receive a scholarship to one of our acclaimed accelerator programs. Grant money can be used as growth capital to hire or rehire premium wage jobs. Cash infusion can be used to purchase, fix or enhance equipment necessary to help manage growth challenges and scale for the future.  The deadline to complete the application was February 8, 2023.

The Chicago Neighborhood Access Program

Neighborhood Access Program (NAP)
The 2023 NAP application is now open. Idea Submission deadline was Friday, May 19 at 5pm CST.

The goal of this program is to support the cultural vitality of every Chicago neighborhood via grant programs and partnerships designed to be responsive to the complex needs of individual communities. This program will offer direct grants for all types of place-based arts and culture activities.


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