Small Business Improvement Fund

The City of Chicago’s Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) helps make improvements to small business properties in select Chicago neighborhoods. The program uses tax increment financing (TIF) revenues to help owners of commercial and industrial properties within specific TIF districts to repair or remodel their facilities for their own business or on behalf of tenants.

Program participants can receive matching grants to cover from 25% to 75% of SBIF-eligible costs with a $150,000 maximum assistance per project and per applicant. The grants come in a the form of rebates, reimbursing building owners or tenants for eligible expenses. The grant does not have to be repaid.

Expenses eligible for a SBIF grant include:

  • New windows, floors or roof
  • Sign removal and replacement
  • Tuckpointing
  • New heating, ventilation and air conditioning
  • Improvements to accommodate disabled patrons or workers
  • Purchase of adjacent property for building expansion or parking

SBIF grants are provided to property owners after remodeling work is completed and all expenses are paid. Residential property, residential components of mixed-use buildings, and property leased to fast-food chains and certain other businesses are not eligible for the program. Vacant business property is eligible, but grants are not paid until the space is occupied by a business tenant.

Eligible Applicants

  • Property Owners or Lessees: If lessee, property owners’ consent is needed.
  • Commercial Applicant: Eligible applicants must have a maximum of $3 million in annual sales for the past three years, or if new, a business plan for projected maximum sales for three years.
  • Industrial Applicant: Eligible applicants must employ a maximum of 100 full-time equivalent employees.
  • Landlord Applicants: Maximum net worth of $6 million, and total liquidity of no more than $500,000. Lessees must be eligible commercial or industrial tenants.
  • Tenant Applicants: Maximum of $3 million in Gross Sales; must have a leasehold interest in the property for a minimum of three (3) years remaining on the lease term; would like to improve property according to a lease agreement; and have express prior property owner approval.

To learn more or apply for SBIF funding visit SomerCor