Mayor Lightfoot Announces New Business-Friendly Signage Reform Going Into Effect In March

March 3, 2020

New Fast-Track Business Signs program to streamline process by up to 60 days, with no wait time for prospective businesses to obtain approval

Mayor’s Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot announced today the implementation of a new reform to streamline City approval for small businesses in Chicago. Starting today, businesses that apply for a business license from the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) will be eligible to immediately apply for an on-premises sign at the same time through the Mayor’s Fast-Track Business Sign program.  The Fast-Track Sign initiative will drastically improve time-in-line for hundreds of small businesses seeking a sign to announce their business this year.  

“Small businesses are the heart of Chicago’s economy and critical to our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Reforms like the Fast-Track Business Sign Program will make city processes quicker, easier and more transparent for all of our entrepreneurs. With these changes going into effect today, we want business owners across the city to know that they have an ally at City Hall.” 

The new Fast-Track Business Sign initiative, announced in November 2019, goes into effect to eliminate a multi-departmental process and streamline application periods by up to 60 days, allowing businesses to announce themselves to the public immediately upon obtaining a business license. These changes will help entrepreneurs and business owners get their businesses up and running.

“By adopting the new Fast-Track Signs approach, we will increase efficiency and transparency while continuing our efforts to get businesses open as quickly as possible,” said Rosa Escareno, BACP Commissioner. “We are committed to working with the business community and elected officials to reduce unnecessary red tape make Chicago as friendly as possible to small businesses.”    

BACP has launched an informational campaign to notify applicants of the opportunity to take advantage of the Fast-Track Business Sign Program. To develop these reforms and to ensure the community is aware of the improved services available for business applicants, BACP is working closely with the business community as well as the City Council to spread the word.

“These changes will simplify and expedite the process by which businesses can obtain City approval for signs being displayed inside their premises,” said Small Business Advocacy Council President Elliot Richardson.  “We look forward to continuing our work with the Mayor on reforms that will reduce red-tape, empower small businesses and foster economic development in Chicago.”

These and other small business reforms on the way in 2020 are the latest in Mayor Lightfoot’s efforts to reduce red tape and to provide much-needed support for Chicago’s small business owners. As part of Mayor Lightfoot’s budget, Regional Small Business Centers are being developed to provide licensing support in neighborhoods throughout the city by the end of 2020.



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