Letter from Mayor Emanuel:
Chicago’s innovators, entrepreneurs, and small business owners are what make this city and its neighborhoods thrive. I understand the vital role played by businesses, particularly small neighborhood enterprises, in making Chicago the world-class city it is. We are committed to creating an environment that provides support to all types of business owners, allows innovators the room they need to flourish, and encourages healthy and prosperous communities. I am extremely proud of all that has been accomplished since 2011. In response to issues raised by the small business community, we have created the one-stop-shop Small Business Center, cut our total number of business licenses from 117 to 40, and moved many of our processes online. We have encouraged innovation through the Emerging Business Permit and by reducing fees for over 10,000 business owners. Our community groups have expanded their connection to neighborhood businesses by offering free resources and services to tens of thousands of Chicagoans. As part of our commitment to invest in all areas of the city, we have granted over $11 million to fund
neighborhood businesses in the South and West Sides.
All Chicagoans should look with pride at our flourishing business community, but I am not satisfied. There is more we can do to support business growth. Therefore, I am committing to a series of initiatives to help small business and entrepreneurs thrive:
• A reduced “start-up” fee for new business licenses that cuts the cost in half
• An expansion of the sidewalk café season to allow for full year operations
• The publication of a license issuance clock to increase transparency and accountability
• The creation of a pop-up permit
• A reduction of the inspection burden through new checklists, cross-training, increased technology, and the elimination of unnecessary regulations and inspections.
To all of our entrepreneurs, the City is your partner. Chicago has always been and will continue to be open for business.
Download the Chicago Business Brief here.