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posted Jan 1, 2012, 9:01 PM by Chicago's 20th Ward

First in the nation institute will train new microlenders and spur more than $20 million in annual business revenue, create nearly 1000 small business jobs over next four years


Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the formation of the Chicago Microlending Institute (CMI), a first-in-the-nation institute that will train new lenders to make targeted loans to the City’s smallest businesses. The CMI will administer the Small Business Loan Fund, a $1 million pool of loan capital that is aimed at supporting the smallest businesses in Chicago with targeted microlending.


“Small businesses are the backbone of Chicago’s economy,” said Mayor Emanuel. “We must do everything we can to make sure our small businesses have the resources and opportunity they need to compete and grow. This program will build on ACCION’s proven model and bring two more top-tier microlenders into the market next year. By using the $1 million loan pool being made available by the City, the new lenders will provide capital to more than 250 small businesses so they can expand and fuel our economy.”


Once approved by the City Council, ACCION Chicago will be tapped to run the institute, which will administer a training program that will train up to two additional lenders each year. The training program, which will cost $245,000 to administer, will be funded by third-party grants. Once graduated, the new microlenders will receive funds from the loan pool as seed capital to lend to small businesses. In its first year, ACCION Chicago and two new graduated microlenders will begin lending – making loans to approximately 100 small businesses in its first year.


“Microlenders are key drivers of job creation across the city, especially in low- to moderate-income areas, microlenders can facilitate job creation at extremely low rates of subsidy,” said ACCION Executive Director Jonathan Brereton. “We are committed to creating a sustainable, efficient loan environment that meets the needs of qualified small businesses.”


“Ensuring the quality of financial services provided is of the upmost importance in any financial inclusion program,” said Bob Annibale, Global Head of Citi Microfinance and Citi Community Development, which is underwriting $100,000 of the cost to set up the institute. “Citi is proud to support the training component of CMI, which through ACCION Chicago will provide microlenders with the knowledge and tools to catalyze the sustainable growth of small businesses in Chicago.”


In Chicago, more than 20 percent of the City’s residents work for firms with five employees or less, and many of these businesses are located in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods. These businesses have real difficulty accessing capital from traditional lenders. The City’s estimates indicate that there’s an annual demand for nearly $28 million in microloans that is unfulfilled.


Mayor Emanuel has made the support and growth of the city’s small businesses a key priority of his administration. The CMI is another step in an ongoing series of efforts that the Mayor has initiated to support small business in Chicago.


Earlier this year, the Mayor announced two initiatives that focus on small and minority- and women-owned businesses: The Small Business Initiative, which levels the playing field so that small businesses can compete alongside large firms for City contracts, and the Diversity Business Initiative, which is designed to increase the use of minority and women-owned businesses in the private sector by providing participation credits toward City contracts. Additionally, Mayor Emanuel worked with Goldman Sachs to bring the 10,000 Small Businesses program to Chicago, which will infuse the city with $25 million in crucial resources and training for the city’s small businesses. The Mayor has also successfully rolled back half of the $4 “head tax” in his 2012 budget, and has pledged to eliminate the entire tax by the end of his term.


The Office of New Americans has pushed a number of initiatives aimed at spurring new businesses in the immigrant community. The Office will build on the City’s annual resource fair, creating temporary one-stop-shops for immigrant business owners and expanding them to quarterly events. Relevant city staff and community partners will be on hand to provide educational information to business owners about navigating the licensing and inspections processes.Furtherthrough a workshop at the beginning of every year, ONA will “train the trainer” by educating immigrant business associations and immigrant groups on the range of services offered by the City and established chambers of commerce. The Office will also work with community organizations to ensure volunteer translators are on hand at least once a month to provide language access at critical City small business workshops.

Ald Cochran Speaks About Chicago Neighborhood Initiative Grant

posted Sep 24, 2011, 5:35 AM by Chicago's 20th Ward   [ updated Sep 24, 2011, 5:39 AM ]

New Save A Lots Added to the 20th Ward

posted Mar 26, 2011, 2:57 PM by Chicago's 20th Ward   [ updated Mar 26, 2011, 4:05 PM ]

Save-A-Lot stores opened in the 20th ward at 344 E 60th street in February 2011 as promised by Alderman Cochran. Were getting things done!!!

Welcome Sam's Gourmet Lasagna

posted Mar 26, 2011, 2:41 PM by Chicago's 20th Ward   [ updated Jan 27, 2012, 9:02 AM ]

Sams Gourmet Lasagna will be moving into the ward soon. As featured on NBC; Delicatessens will be sold and a number of other products will be available in May 2011.


posted Jun 8, 2010, 1:44 PM by Chicago's 20th Ward

A new business license category created by Alderman Schulter passed City Council in May, called the Child Activities Facilities License that will streamline the process for entrepreneurs looking to create businesses that cater to children’s activities.

Requirements for the new license category will help these types of businesses by  easing current restrictions placed on them,  and also protect consumers by ensuring the safety of children using the facilities.  In addition to the standard building and fire inspections, the children’s activity facility license will include background checks for both the applicants and facility managers.

Child Activities Facilities is a growing niche business that isn’t best covered by the current public places of amusement ordinances.

The license fee for a children’s activity facility will be $500 every two years.  This cost is more affordable than traditional public places of amusement licenses.  The license is also less restrictive in terms of zoning.  The license goes into effect on October 6, 2010

More information will be made available online regarding this new license type in the next few weeks.


posted Jun 8, 2010, 1:43 PM by Chicago's 20th Ward

Last month, BACP introduced an amendment to the City Council that will allow tavern and packaged goods liquor license applicants to obtain conditional approval on applications. The proposed change will benefit the business community and support businesses investing in new construction or expansion and allows tavern and packaged goods liquor applicants’ to take advantage of the conditional approval process.

Currently, Section 4-60-042 allows applicants for consumption on premises incidental activity liquor licenses to apply for conditional approval and applies to businesses where the primary business activity such as restaurants, hotels theaters and bowling alleys. The conditional approval process benefits a business owner planning on constructing a new building for the business, or expanding.  The process allows the business owner to submit a liquor license application before any money is spent on new construction or expansion.   The liquor application process proceeds through its normal approval process, including sending notice to the registered voters, local alderman and police commander.  In addition the application documents are reviewed and a criminal back ground check is conducted.

The proposed amendment will put an end to applicants applying for Tavern and packaged goods liquor licenses and being forced to complete an expensive build out of new premises with the worry that the money spent on the construction will be wasted if a liquor license is not approved.

What Businesses Should Know About the BPA-Free Kids Ordinance

posted Feb 5, 2010, 9:56 AM by Chicago's 20th Ward   [ updated Aug 3, 2010, 12:55 PM ]

On May 13, 2009,  the Chicago City Council enacted the BPA-Free Kids Ordinance. The ordinance restricts the sale of any container designed to be filled with food or liquid to be used for a child under the age of three that contains Bisphenol A. The ordinance goes into effect on January 31, 2010.

What is Bisphenol A?

Bisphenol A, commonly abbreviated as BPA,  is a chemical that is produced in large quantites used primarily in the production of certain types of plastics.

What is restricted?

Selling bottles, cups, sippy cups, or any other container designed to be filled with food or liquid,  intended for a child under the age of three,  that contains BPA,  in the City of Chicago. In addition, selling these items will require a label indicating that the item is free of BPA.

When does the ordinance go into effect?

The ordinance went into effect on January 31, 2010.

What are the fines for violating this ordinance? 

Businesses found selling products containing BPA face Administative Hearing citations, violations and or fines. 

1st offense    $100-$300  
2nd offense    $300-$500

For more information visit or call 312-74-GOBIZ (312-744-6249). For complaints call 311.

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