Small Business Advocacy

The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection supports the small business ecosystem of Chicago, and promotes economic development, through its Small Business Advocacy division.


The Small Business Advocacy team is responsible for overseeing the Neighborhood Business Development Centers (NBDC) program, and connecting BACP with external partners in the community.

NBDC Program Logo

Neighborhood Business Development Centers (NBDC) Program

The NBDC program provides grants to Chicago-based non-profit chambers of commerce and business support organizations to assist in the development of small businesses in Chicago, serve as liaison between local businesses and the City of Chicago, and provide neighborhood business development services.

Contact your local NBDC for information about a particular neighborhood, getting a new small business started, troubleshooting City-related issues for small businesses, connecting businesses to financial resources, business-to-business networking opportunities, employment and workforce development assistance, consumer marketing assistance, connecting your business to the local community, and more!

ChiBizChat - NBDC Tri-Annual Meeting


ChiBizChat is the tri-annual NBDC Program meeting hosted by the City of Chicago, Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP), Small Business Advocacy division.

The purpose of the meeting is to bring together the citywide network of non-profit business support organizations to share program and business-related updates, participate in professional development and speaker discussions, as well as network and exchange best practices with peers.


The Small Business Advocacy team collaborates with other City departments to assist with initiatives and programs that promotes economic development, diversity and inclusion through our Neighborhood Business Development Centers (NBDC) program network and small business community partners.

ChiBizHub Homepage Screenshot


World Business Chicago (WBC), in collaboration with the Office of the Chicago City Treasurer. Accion, CRF USA, and the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP), developed ChiBizHub, an innovative new web platform that connects entrepreneurs and business owners to expert business support organizations in Chicago. This hyperlocal business resources portal is a free service for Chicago’s small business community.

Chicago Riverwalk Community Marketplace

Chicago Riverwalk Community Marketplace

In 2018 the City of Chicago issued a Request of Qualifications (RFP) in order to provide opportunities to businesses offering concession services reflective of the cultural diversity and neighborhoods of the City of Chicago on the Chicago Riverwalk. BACP’s Small Business Advocacy assisted the Department of Fleet and Facility Management (2FM) in the solicitation to encourage minority and women-owned vendors to operate concessions on the Chicago Riverwalk. Seven vendors were selected for the seven available kiosks in the new Community Marketplace, and one vendor will operate from a mobile cart.

Navy Pier Neighborhood Artisan Market

Navy Pier Neighborhood Artisan Market

Planned in conjunction with local neighborhood business groups, chambers of commerce, and BACP’s Small Business Advocacy for the summer of 2019, Neighborhood Artisan Market provides artisans and businesses from throughout Chicago to set up shop at Navy Pier and offer items for sale while showing off the City’s dynamic neighborhoods. This is a unique opportunity for local artists, makers and retailers in the City’s diverse communities to pop-up at one of the City’s top attractions through several of our community partners.


The Small Business Advocacy team engages the entrepreneurs and business owners of Chicago by developing initiatives that promote economic development, providing business educational programs and streamline business interactions with the City.



Chicago Small Business Week is a call for support of our local small businesses, as well as an invitation for entrepreneurs to start their own business. The ChiBizBlooms campaign supports Crain’s Small Business Week and the Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Week, which runs from May 6 through May 10. This year, BACP featured neighborhood businesses, nominated by local partner organizations, on the Department’s social media pages and offered free workshops to burgeoning entrepreneurs.



Chicago Small Business Pride Week celebrates, and highlights, the contributions of the many LGBTQ+ owned and LGBTQ+ friendly businesses throughout Chicago. Leading up to the 50th-anniversary celebration of the Chicago Pride Parade on June 30th, BACP partnered with local chambers of commerce and business service organizations to bring attention to, and celebrate, the contributions of Chicago LGBTQ+ business community.



Chicago Shops Campaign Wants You to Spend Big, Shop Small by Supporting Neighborhood Businesses: #ChiBizShops. The 2018 holidays Chicago Shops Campaign aimed to boost small business commerce in every neighborhood while offering important holiday shopping and safety tips to protect consumers and help them make good choices. Shop Smart, Know Return Policies, and Beware of Scammers this Holiday!



The ChiBizWomen campaign was launched in support and celebration of local women-owned businesses in tandem with Women’s Entrepreneurship Day in 2018.  The initiative continues with panel discussions and a workshop series aimed at empowering women-owned business growth and providing individualized support.


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Business Affairs and Consumer Protection

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