Small Business Resource Guide

In addition to our lending and coaching services, Accion Serving Illinois & Indiana connects entrepreneurs to organizations that help small businesses grow. Our resource network includes partner organizations with expertise in coaching, credit-building, financing, legal, procurement certifications, and more.

Business Planning

Connect with organizations to help you plan for the growth of your business.


Accion provides coaching to entrepreneurs at each stage of their business including early, growth, and expansion. Workshops, events, webinars, and one-on-one coaching sessions are tailored to meet each entrepreneur’s needs. Get started today by booking an appointment with Accion’s Director of Coaching, Rowan Richards.


Mujeres Latinas en Acción’s Empresarias del Futuro (Entrepreneurs of the Future) is an educational training program in Spanish for women interested in beginning or expanding their small business, leading them on the road to obtaining financial independence. Learn more.


Small Business Development Centers assist new and existing small businesses through industry-specific training, procurement programs, and intensive classes for entrepreneurs. Find the closest center in Illinois or Indiana.

Credit-Building Assistance

Meet with organizations who provide in-depth financial guidance, credit counseling, and debt management assistance beyond Accion services.


The Chicago Urban League offers free services including a review of credit reports and home financials. Learn more.


Financial Opportunity Centers, supported by LISC Chicago, provide employment and career counseling, one-on-one financial coaching and education and low-cost financial products that help build credit, savings and assets. Learn more.


Operation Hope offers individual consultations on personal credit and money management as well as entrepreneurial training programs. Learn more.


The Resurrection Project provides free bilingual services, including one-on-one personalized consultation on credit repair and credit building. Learn more.

Financing For Larger Loans

In addition to micro-lenders like Accion, there are other organizations that can provide small businesses access to capital.


Chicago Community Loan Fund (CCLF) is a nonprofit CDFI with a focus on commercial real estate lending. Learn more.


Community Reinvestment Fund (CRF) is a nonprofit CDFI that offers term loans between $150K and $4M for commercial real estate, business acquisition, equipment, debt refinance, and permanent working capital. Learn more.


LISC Chicago is a nonprofit CDFI that offers loans to existing businesses in operation for at least two years, seeking $100K and above. Learn more.


Self Help Credit Union is a credit union and CDFI that offers loans up to $50K for start-ups and into the $1M+ range for qualifying businesses. Learn more.

Legal Assistance

Find support to organize and protect your business.


The Chicago-Kent Patent Hub at Chicago-Kent College of Law offers pro bono legal assistance of licensed patent attorneys to small businesses. Learn more.


Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights provides legal services that relate to starting and operating a small business, including assistance with business organization; licenses and permits; agreements and leases; regulatory and zoning compliance; copyright and trademark protection; and commercial landlord, supplier, and lender negotiation. Learn more.


Fuksa Khorshid is a local firm that specializes in servicing the needs of small-to-mid-sized businesses with issues related to leases, contractual obligations, and expansion. Learn more.


Legal Shield offers a low-cost monthly service for individuals and business owners. Connect with Kiela Smith to learn more.


Oldani Entrepreneurial Law is a local firm specializing in help and counsel for entrepreneurs who are starting, running, or growing their business. Learn more.

Procurement and Certifications

Connect with contracting opportunities and receive a certification to help grow your business.


The City of Chicago offers assistance with certifications including Business Enterprises owned by People with Disabilities (BEPD), Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), and Veteran Business Enterprise (VBE). View the full list of certification assistance offerings and learn more.


Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy (CASE) works to create inclusive economic growth by leveraging the buying power of institutions such as hospitals and universities. CASE connects small businesses with contracting opportunities at these institutions. Learn more.


Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council provides consultation and assistance with the certification process for minority owned businesses. Learn more.


The Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) offers programs and services to accelerate established and emerging businesses, including guidance on how to receive and utilize a Women Business Enterprise certification. Learn more.

Accounting Services

Work with accounting professionals on your bookkeeping and tax preparation needs.


Gardner Herrell offers tax preparation, accounting, and bookkeeping services to small businesses. Learn more.


Ladder Up provides free financial programs to help clients secure tax refunds. Learn more.


Norman Professional Services offers bookkeeping, consulting, and QuickBooks services to small businesses. Learn more.


Find help with your business insurance needs.


The Viti Companies provides customized insurance and financial solutions. Learn more.


Support for Your Business at The Hatchery

The Hatchery is a 67,000 square foot food and beverage incubator owned by Accion and ICNC, and operated by nonprofit The Hatchery Chicago. Located in Garfield Park, The Hatchery helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses and helps workers prepare for and find good jobs.


The Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago (ICNC) provides training and job placement services through their Workforce Development Program. They also offer entrepreneurs incubation space. Learn more.


The Hatchery Chicago offers individual and shared kitchen space for rent and conducts an extensive series of workshops and classes for food and beverage entrepreneurs. Learn more.

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