The Chicago Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection (BACP) Entrepreneur Certificate Program is a free and optional program available to attendees of the free BACP business education workshop and webinar series.
The program is designed to give entrepreneurs the essential information they need to start and grow a business in Chicago. The program’s curriculum covers essentials in business planning, financing, marketing, legal issues, technology, and more.
Once you successfully complete the program, you will be eligible to apply for an entrepreneurial loan with our partner bank, CIBC. The CIBC Entrepreneur Loan Program was created to support small businesses with important working capital. This low-interest, no-fee loan can range from $1,000 to a maximum of $10,000 for new businesses and $25,000 for businesses with one year of filed tax returns. All financing decisions are made by CIBC.
The program, workshops, and webinars are not affiliated with any educational institution.
Program Overview & Requirements:
- Free, optional program in conjunction with the BACP business education workshop and webinar series
- To complete the program, participants must:
- Attend nine workshops or webinars hosted by BACP
- Complete the program within six months
- Workshops or webinars must be in the categories specified on the BACP curriculum card
- Workshops or webinars will be placed in the category deemed appropriate by BACP staff. The business licensing and City inspections workshops are mandatory for all program participants.
- Workshops or webinars attended prior to signing-up will not qualify towards the program
- Select a BACP workshop you want to attend from the workshop calendar and register for the workshop by emailing BACPoutreach@cityofchicago.org or by calling 312.744.2086
- After attending the workshop, inform BACP staff that you want to sign up for the program
- BACP staff will provide a new curriculum card for you to complete with your contact information
- BACP staff will tell you which category the workshop falls into and you will receive credit for attending the workshop that day
- Your curriculum card will be kept by BACP
- After each workshop you attend, your curriculum card will be made available for you to fill out in the designated category
- Select a BACP webinar you want to attend remotely from the webinar calendar and register for the webinar by following the registration links on the webinar calendar.
- Remotely attend the webinar you registered to attend
- After the webinar ends, send an email to BACPoutreach@cityofchicago.org and state that you want to sign up for the program and provide your name, email, and phone number along with the date, title, and presenter of the webinar you remotely attended
- After each webinar you remotely attend, send an email to BACPoutreach@cityofchicago.org providing the your name along with the date, title, and presenter of the webinar you remotely attended
- The webinar will be placed on your curriculum card under the category specified for that webinar.
- BACP will keep track of the webinars you remotely attend. If you attend a workshop at City Hall, your curriculum card will be made available for you to fill out in the designated category
Participants may attend a combination of workshops and webinars to complete the program.
View a sample of the curriculum card and the nine required categories. BACP recommends keeping track of the workshop and webinars you attend for your own records.
- After you complete your final workshop or webinar, you will be asked to verify your contact information
- Within one week, your certificate will be made available
- The certificate can be picked up at a BACP workshop held at City Hall or mailed to the address you provide
- You will be connected with our CIBC bank representative to discuss the opportunity to apply for their Entrepreneurial Loan Program. All financing decisions are made by the bank.
For program questions, please email BACPoutreach@cityofchicago.org or call 312.744.2086
Hear from graduates of the BACP Entrepreneur Certificate Program!
Watch the video as graduates explain how the free program has empowered their business.
This does not make your business certified with the City of Chicago. If you are interested in the City of Chicago M/W/VBE Certification program, please visit www.chicago.gov/DPS