Applying SBIF to Your Small Business
Throughout this year I have helped businesses with a variety of different economic incentives. “Each incentive is a unique tool in the economic development toolkit,” my boss, Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED) Council’s Director of Economic Development, Mike Holzer likes to say.
One of my favorite incentives is the City of Chicago’s Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF). The fund is used in certain districts across the city to reimburse small business owners for improvements made to their properties. It’s a win-win situation: neighborhood appearances improve and businesses remain competitive or are able to expand.
Where do these funds come from? There are blighted areas across Chicago deemed Tax Incremented Financing (TIF) districts. In a nutshell, when a TIF district is created the area’s property taxes are frozen for 23 years. Additional property taxes that are gained during that period are set aside into a separate fund that forms the TIF. These funds are used on larger projects (usually exceeding $1.0 million), such as infrastructure, environmental remediation work or improving vacant land and job creation initiatives. SBIF uses a small slice of a TIF district’s funds and focuses solely on property improvements for small businesses.
A few months ago, the City of Chicago allocated $500,000 to a SBIF district in the North Branch Industrial Corridor. LEED Council hosted a public meeting to announce the allocation, and carried out extensive outreach in the area. Within 30 days, applications had been filed by seven local small businesses.
What kind of projects are these seven businesses are planning for the funds? One local company will use the money to introduce green technology into the area by installing charging stations for electric vehicles. Another applicant is a 50-year-old business that requested money to replace its roof. Resource Point of Sales, a company that has recently moved into an industrial building that sat vacant for over 10 years, will be using the funds to help make general improvements to the property.
At the end of the day, SBIF is a useful tool, not only for how impactful it is, but also for how easy it is for business owners. Compared to other incentives, the application process is painless and the project requirements are minimal. It helps small business owners, who contribute to the creation of local jobs; and makes stronger, more attractive business districts.
- Adam Panza, Assistant Economic Development Coordinator
Goose Island Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF)
Is your small business located in the Goose Island TIF district?
There are currently substantial funds available in the Small Business Improvment Fund for the Goose Island TIF district. SBIF is designed to provide funding assistance for improvements to qualifying small businesses located in designated TIF districts across the city.The fund uses TIF revenues to help owners of commercial and industrial properties repair or remodel their facilities for their own business, or on behalf of tenants. Participants can receive from 25% to 75% reimbursement for improvement costs, with a maximum of $150,000. Examples of eligible improvements include new windows, floors or roofing, truck pointing, HVAC equipment, and the purchasing of adjacent property for building expansion or parking.
To be eligible:
- Have a maximum of 100 full-time employees (industrial)
- Have a maximum of $3.0 million annual sales (commercial)
- Other conditions apply
For more information contact Adam at the LEED Council at email@example.com
Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) rollout for North Branch South TIF District
$500,000 has been allocated to the North Branch (South) Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF). SBIF is designed to provide funding assistance for improvements to qualifying small businesses located in designated TIF districts across the city. The fund uses TIF revenues to help owners of commercial and industrial properties repair or remodel their facilities for their own business, or on behalf of tenants. Participants can receive 50% reimbursement for improvement costs, with a maximum of $150,000. Examples of eligible improvements include new windows, floors or roofing, truck pointing, HVAC equipment, and the purchasing of adjacent property for building expansion or parking.
To be eligible:
- Property must be within the North Branch (South) TIF district
- Have a maximum of 100 full-time employees (if industrial)
- Have a maximum of $1.5 million annual sales (if commercial)
- Other conditions apply
There is a public meeting on Thursday, December 8 at 10:00 a.m. to discuss this particular SBIF allocation, in the upstairs conference room of Concept Laboratories, 1400 W. Wabansia Ave. Chicago, IL.
After December 8, a 30-day open application period will begin. If there are more applicants than funding available, a lottery system will be used. Please forward any questions or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org at the LEED Council.