Opening a small business comes with its share of hurdles regardless of where you’re located, and Chicago is no exception. However, every city needs small businesses to make up a key component of their economy, and they typically enact laws to entice entrepreneurs and startups. Both the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago have laws in place that may be advantageous to small companies.


Regulatory Flexibility Program

Officials in the State of Illinois realize that some regulations may present challenges to small businesses. As a result, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity enacted its Regulatory Flexibility Program. It is designed to offer assistance to small businesses by helping owners find cost effective methods for complying with regulations. According to the IDCEO website, “Staff reviews every rule that state agencies propose and distributes information about these rules to the small business community. Feedback from the community is then sent for consideration to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), a bi-partisan legislative oversight committee that is authorized to conduct systematic reviews of administrative rules promulgated by state agencies.”

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Small Business Program

Professional services firms interested in working on Chicago Transit Authority projects can take advantage of its Small Business Program. Formed with the intention of allowing small businesses to be more competitive with larger firms, the program allows the CTA to set aside a certain number of contracted projects specifically to be primed by small businesses. To qualify, your business should be SBE certified. The application can be downloaded here.

Tax Credits

For businesses of all sizes, the City of Chicago offers a number of tax credits, including location based credits, property tax based credits, and hiring and training credits. One example is the Cook County Tax Credits Class C. According to the City of Chicago website, “The Class C classification is designed to encourage industrial and commercial development throughout Cook County by offering a real estate tax incentive for the remediation of contaminated properties including abandoned property or vacant land.” If you open your business on a piece of land that was once considered contaminated, but is no longer considered to be, you may qualify for a tax incentive.

There are many more incentives and laws available to aide your business. If you have any further questions, contact the Chicago’s Small Business Center.


This article was written by Alaina Brandenburger for CBS Small Business Pulse.

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