LISC National
Our Work

Small Business

Business owners create jobs, strengthen local economies and build wealth, but many women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color struggle to access capital, support services and growth opportunities. LISC supports new and growing local businesses to position them for mainstream success.

Through a network of partners dedicated to growing opportunities for traditionally underrepresented entrepreneurs, we provide technical assistance, capital and contracting opportunities to small businesses across the city of Chicago. Our goal is identifying and providing the supports small businesses need to succeed, grow and bring wealth-building opportunities to traditionally underserved neighborhoods.

Learn more about our lending products here.

Additional small business support includes:

  • Kiva

  • Yield

  • Business District Leadership Network - LISC Chicago’s Business District Leadership (BDL) program brings together nonprofit and public sector leaders to support training, education and capacity building for organizations offering services to business districts throughout the City of Chicago. LISC collaborates with the City of Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection to offer leadership development and strategic peer-to-peer conversations among business district leaders from all over the city.

  • Re/Cast – Over a year ago, LISC invested in the launch of a partnership between us, the Chicago Federation of Labor, Cook County Bureau of Economic Development, World Business Chicago, Safer Foundation, the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office and Manufacturing Renaissance targeting small- to medium-sized manufacturing companies without ownership succession plans for acquisition by minority owners or employees. Re/Cast is now establishing as a 501(c)3 organization to be guided by the partners, hiring staff and beginning operations to advance the mission of developing a coordinated approach to retain and develop Chicagoland’s industrial base while supporting wealth creation and diverse business ownership.

Since 2017, LISC has:

  • Provided affordable loans of over $8M to small businesses and support organizations on Chicago’s South and West Sides.

  • Granted over $300,000 to organizations supporting small businesses and neighborhood economic development efforts.

  • Supported over 30 early-stage entrepreneurs in building personal credit and reducing debt.


Through a national partnership with Kiva, LISC sponsors a one-to-one match financing up to $10,000 that helps small business owners reach their crowdfunded loan goal on Kiva’s platform.

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