Public Resources

U.S. Small Business Administration


The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation. We recognize that small business is critical to our economic recovery and strength, to building America's future, and to helping the United States compete in today's global marketplace. Although SBA has grown and evolved in the years since it was established in 1953, the bottom line mission remains the same. The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam.

Find Information on:
  • Starting a business
  • Getting a loan
  • Government contracts
  • Disaster assistance
  • Finding local counseling, mentoring, and training near you
The U.S. SBA - IL 2014-2015 Resource Guide for Small Business (PDF) is available to view in PDF format.

Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity


The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is the lead state agency responsible for improving Illinois' competitiveness in the global economy. Guided by an innovative regional approach, DCEO administers a wide range of economic and workforce development programs, services and initiatives designed to create and retain high quality jobs and build strong communities. DCEO leads the Illinois economic development process in partnership with businesses, local governments, workers and families.

For information about additional DCEO resources, please visit the following sites:

State of Illinois Business Portal


The State of Illinois Business Portal speaks on topics including: Starting a Business, Running a Business, Changing a Business, and Why Come to Illinois?

Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning


Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) is the official regional planning organization for the northeastern Illinois counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will. By state and federal law, CMAP is responsible for developing GO TO 2040, metropolitan Chicago's first truly comprehensive regional plan (PDF). To be implemented starting in fall 2010, the plan will be based on a diverse, coordinated set of strategies to address projected population growth of 2.8 million new residents by 2040, which has significant implications for transportation, housing, economic development, open space, the environment, and other quality-of-life issues.

Cook County Bureau of Economic Development


The mission of the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development is to foster economic development, workforce development, and community development within Cook County through the strategic leveraging of resources and efficient professional management.

Visit their website for information on our organization, notices, applications, blog, plans, information about the Council of Economic Advisors, Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP), Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC), EDAC public meeting notices, and additional information pertaining to our work.


Connect to Cook Website


The Connect to Cook Website offers GIS and open data access to over 5,000 variables for demographic, consumer spending, business and traffic data from the ease of your PC or laptop, geared specifically to Cook County. The data can be analyzed in a geographic context that allows users to choose samples as granular as block groups, census tracts or ZIP Codes. Menus allow the information and datasets to be customized and displayed in a variety of ways.

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