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The Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) program uses local Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenues to help owners of commercial and industrial properties and/or tenants within specific TIF districts to repair or remodel their facilities. Program participants can receive reimbursing grants to cover 25%, 50%, or 75% of the cost of remodeling work, with a maximum grant amount of $ 150,000. The grant does not have to be repaid.


SBIF helps make improvements to small business properties in selected Chicago neighborhoods. TIFs in the West Humboldt Park area include the Chicago/Central Park TIF, Kinzie Industrial Corridor TIF, Division/Homan TIF, and the Humboldt Park TIF.

Eligible expenses for a SBIF grant include, but are not limited to:

  • New windows, floors or roof

  • Sign removal and replacement

  • Tuck pointing

  • New heating, ventilation and air conditioning

  • Improvements to accommodate disabled patrons or workers

  • Purchase of adjacent property for building expansion or parking

SBIF grants are provided to property owners after remodeling work is completed and all expenses are paid. Residential property, residential components of a mixed-use building, and property leased to certain businesses are not eligible for the program. If you are not sure, contact us and ask.  Vacant business property is eligible, but grants are not paid until the space is occupied by a business tenant.

Retooling Chicago: SBIF Grants Video

We have assisted numerous business and property owners in Humboldt Park with this program and brought the projects to completion successfully. Read about some of our SBIF Success Stories. 

For more information on SBIF contact Tom Otto at (773) 342-0036 ext 23 or or visit Somercor.

SBIF Success Stories

Click on an image to view the before and after stories for each small business with the help of the Small Business Improvement Fund.


Turkey Chop Gourmet Grill

Turkey Chop Gourmet Grill, 3506 W Chicago Avenue  - The property at 3506 W Chicago Avenue was a typical mixed-use building with commercial on the first floor and a residential unit on the second floor. The building is 86 years old and was vacant for a number of years. Previously the commercial space had been used as a grill and sub fast food restaurant for take-out only.

Read More

Tax Increment Financing (TIF)

Tax Increment Financing is a special funding tool used by the City of Chicago to promote public and private investment across the city. Funds are used to build and repair roads and infrastructure, clean polluted land and put vacant properties back to productive use, usually in conjunction with private development projects. Funds are generated by growth in the Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV) of properties within a designated district over a period of 23 years.

Five TIF districts overlap the West Humboldt Park area:

  1. Chicago Central Park TIF

  2. Division Homan TIF

  3. Kinzie Industrial Corridor TIF

  4. Humboldt Park TIF

  5. Northwest Industrial Corridor TIF

In addition to the SBIF program TIF also funds these other major programs:


TIFWorks stimulates business success by funding workforce-training costs for companies located in tax increment financing (TIF) districts. With TIFWorks support, businesses can become better equipped to improve performance and productivity, expand product lines and gain new customers. 


Since 2008 TIFWorks has provided $4.3 million in TIF funds to 84 business for the training of 3295 employees and the hiring of 174 new employees. 


If your company is located in an eligible TIF district in Chicago, you can receive funding for workforce-training programs.

Streamlined TIF

The Streamlined-TIF program provides expedited access to valuable grants for the improvement of industrial, commercial, retail or residential mixed-use properties in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts citywide. The program incorporates an easy-to-use application form and efficient approval process to pay up to 25 percent of renovation, expansion, or redevelopment costs. Assistance ranges from $25,000 to $1,000,000.

Neighborhood Improvement Program

The Tax Increment Finance-Neighborhood Improvement Program (TIF-NIP) is a Department of Housing and Economic Development  (HED) -administered program that has been providing home repair grants in eligible TIF districts since 1999. The program provides home repair grants for both single and multi-family residences. Grants are primarily for exterior repairs however, up to 30 percent of the grant may be used for interior repairs that are health and safety related. Grant amounts are based on the number of units per residence.

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