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Looking for a loan for your small business in the Windy City? Learn what your financing options are and which ones would best fit your needs.
Chicago’s diverse economy and excellent transportation options are ideal for small business owners. If you have plans to launch or grow a venture in the Windy City, it’s in your best interest to explore small business loans.
There are a variety of small business loans in Chicago. Since each loan comes with its own set of benefits and eligibility requirements, it’s a good idea to shop around. When you do so, you’ll likely come across these popular options.
While SBA loans are guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), they’re distributed by SBA-approved lenders, like banks, credit unions, and online lenders. If you have a solid credit history and have been in business for at least two years, you may land a competitive interest rate and favorable repayment term.
A line of credit is an open-ended loan you can draw from whenever you’d like, up to a set credit limit. It may make sense if you’re a seasonal business or simply don’t know how much funding you need. Compared to credit cards, lines of credit typically offer lower interest rates and larger borrowing amounts.
Term loans are traditional loans that most people think of when business financing comes to mind. With a term loan, you receive a lump sum of money up front and pay it back over an agreed-upon term, which may be anywhere from a few months to a few years or even longer.
Chances are, you need equipment to run your Chicago business. That’s where equipment financing comes in. It can give you the funds to invest in new or used equipment. When you apply for an equipment loan, you’ll need to provide a quote that shows the cost of the equipment you intended to purchase.
If your customers tend to pay you late, accounts receivable financing should be on your radar. It’s when you sell your outstanding invoices to a company who advances you between 70% to 90% of the invoices and collects payments on your behalf. Once your customers pay, the company will charge you a fee and distribute the remaining invoice amount.
Several local organizations provide small business funding resources in Chicago.
Allies for Community Business is a nonprofit Chicago-based organization that offers capital and coaching for entrepreneurs. Its small business loans range from $500 to $100,000.
SomerCor is another local organization with small business loan opportunities.
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See which credit cards you qualify for before choosing the one that best suits your business needs and offers the cash rewards you’re looking for.
Once you choose a card, you can get approved in as little as 7-10 days.
If you’re looking for a co-working space with no shortage of amenities and networking opportunities, check out 1871, a nonprofit innovation hub which supports “early stage, growth stage, and corporate innovators.”
The Chicago Inventors Organization is also a good resource, especially if you consider yourself an inventor and want to take advantage of one-on-one consulting and business plan support. There’s also the Illinois Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) with locations in Chicago and access to business education and training opportunities as well as one-on-one business advice.
The Chicago Recovery Plan Community Development Grant offers small and large grants that are intended for pre-development, construction, or renovation costs for permanent capital improvement projects. In addition, The City of Chicago’s Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) offers grants that can reimburse you for the repair or rehab of your business space or adjacent land acquisition.
Chicago business loans are versatile, meaning you can use them to cover a plethora of small business expenses. Whether your goal is to pay for a commercial building or large equipment or you simply want money on hand for emergency situations or seasonal shortages, small business financing is a great option.
Before you go ahead and take out a Chicago business loan, choose a business structure, such as a limited liability company, sole proprietorship, or partnership. Then, register with the Illinois Department of Revenue and IRS. You might also need to obtain a Chicago business license, depending on your industry. When you’re ready to apply for financing, keep in mind that lenders will consider your credit score, annual revenue, and other factors when reviewing your application.
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