Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the second round of investments in neighborhood businesses through the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund. Twenty-five small businesses are receiving funding through the initiative, which generates funds from downtown development projects to support commercial corridor growth on Chicago’s South, Southwest and West Sides
“This initiative is about ensuring that as one part of Chicago grows, we all grow together,” Mayor Emanuel said. “By investing in these neighborhood businesses we are not just creating jobs but we are building a renewed sense of community that reaches across the city.”
The 25 award winners were selected from a pool of more than 800 applicants for their potential to create catalytic change along neighborhood commercial corridors. Other criteria included applicants’ business experience, business plan viability and neighborhood needs.
The Neighborhood Opportunity Fund is financed by voluntary contributions from downtown construction projects. Grant recipients will be using awards for a range of costs involving building rehabilitation and repairs, small business owner training and coaching, local hiring subsidies and related needs.
Awardees announced today include:
A complete list of second-round grant winners can be found at www.NeighborhoodOpportunityFund.com.
The winners will be provided with a concierge service by Department of Planning and Development (DPD) to help with building permits, licenses and other business needs.
“These projects are going to bring new jobs and quality of life improvements to local neighborhoods and it will be a public-private partnership every step of the way,” DPD Commissioner David Reifman said.
In its first 18 months, the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund has received more than $47.8 million in commitments from 24 downtown construction projects. Another $60 million in commitments from 23 projects are pending formal approval.
The inaugural class of Neighborhood Opportunity Fund winners was announced in June 2017.
Up to 65 percent of small business project costs are eligible for funding through the program. Grants that exceed $250,000 require City Council approval. Project eligibility is limited to commercial streets in low-to-moderate income areas.