Business Incentives in Chicago

For Investors and Business Owners who call Chicago home – or are looking to do so in the near future, our city has several programs available to help you achieve your real estate goals.

Qualified Opportunity Zones:

Created in 2018 through an analysis of poverty rates, unemployment rates, children living in poverty and violent crime in an area, Opportunity Zones provide investors with tax incentives to invest and create jobs in areas that need it most.


The HUBZone Program was authorized by the Small Business Administration (SBA) in 1997 to provide participating small business located in areas with low income and high poverty rates to be awarded 3% of federal contracts dollars to HUBZone certified companies each year. Being eligible for the HUBZone program entitles your business to compete for the programs set aside contracts.  These set aside contracts are exclusive for HUBZone companies to bid, or they may award sole-source contracts to HHUBZONE firms to meet that goal. HUBZone certified contractors may also be eligible for a 10% price evaluation preference.

Enterprise Zones:

Chicago has 6 Enterprise Zones that exist to “stimulate economic growth and neighborhood revitalization” by offering tax incentives to companies who are relocating or expanding within depressed areas. For properties located in Enterprise Zones, potential benefits include Sales Tax Exemption for building materials, Real Estate Transfer Tax Exemption, Machinery & Equipment Sales Tax Exemption, Utility Tax Exemption, Enterprise Zone Investment Tax Credit and Contribution Deduction.

Tax Increment Financing (TIF):

Tax Increment Financing is a special financial tool utilized by the City of Chicago to promote public and private funding across the city. Funding levels for projects are coordinated with area plans and goals and help local companies expand and create employment opportunities for Chicago residents. Currently, Chicago has 129 TIF Districts city wide.

Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF):

For business properties located in a TIF district where funding is available, the SBIF provides grant funding for building improvements and repairs across the city. Program participants can receive grants to cover 30% – 90% of the cost of remodeling work.

Invest South/West:

Comprised of 10 communities and 12 commercial corridors on the South and West Sides of Chicago, this development initiative provides support for small businesses by using a mix of private and public funding for infrastructure improvement & development, restoration of historic buildings, and fostering equity in community areas that need it most.

Neighborhood Opportunity Fund:

Since 2016 the city of Chicago has worked with a revised Zoning Code to leverage funds to inspire investment in Chicago’s West, Southwest and South Sides. Business and property owners located in the aforementioned areas may apply for grand funding to pay for the construction or improvement of real estate projects that support new or expanding businesses or cultural assets.


Looking for an Expert in the Chicagoland area?
Our experienced advisory team provides end-to-end services by working with you from introduction of market insight all the way through project delivery. If you have questions or inquiries, please contact a Cawley Expert today.


Written by Licensed Business Manager, Robyn Lynn.

Cawley Commercial Real Estate Represents Private Seller in a Recent 16-Acre Sale in Joliet
Top 5 Cawley Commercial Real Estate Blog Articles

Recent Posts