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Advantage Illinois

The Advantage Illinois – State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) 2.0 Program will leverage $220 million in funding to support Illinois small businesses.  As part of the State’s commitment to equitably supporting small businesses, the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will leverage outreach partners that focus on engaging historically underrepresented populations who have faced significant barriers accessing capital. The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s SSBCI guidance formally defines those groups as Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Individuals (SEDI) and Very Small Businesses, or businesses with fewer than 10 employees. Please see additional information in our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). 

Advantage Illinois under SSBCI 2.0 will offer two programs and must result in job creation or retention at the project location.

  1. Participation Loan Program (PLP) (presentation) – helps Illinois businesses get term loan financing at lower rates by purchasing a portion of the loan and lowering the risk for the lenders.
  2. Loan Guarantee Program (LGP) – provides a guarantee of partial principal repayment to the lender if a loan goes into default.

Eligibility for Illinois Businesses includes:

  • Less than 750 employees
  • Operate in the State of Illinois
  • Be in good standing with the Illinois Secretary of State (except for sole proprietors)
  • Clear of any back taxes
  • No bankruptcies, material adverse judgements, or liens in the past 5 years

Funding for these Programs may be used for many purposes, including but not limited to:

  • Real Estate (must be 51% or more occupied by the business)
  • Inventory
  • Working Capital
  • Equipment
  • Leasehold Improvements
  • Accounts Receivable

In order to use the Advantage Illinois program, businesses must use a participating lender, and your lender will submit your application to DCEO. You can view the list of our participating lenders to connect with a lender and discuss your loan options using Advantage Illinois.

Participating lenders accept business applications on a rolling basis and use their own underwriting standards and loan processes. These lending institutions are welcome partners in the Advantage Illinois Program. Check back regular as we continually add new institutions to the list.

The below interactive map is currently under construction/ updates. To find the approved lenders. please see the PDF link above.

For questions, please reach out to Businesses can also complete this short form to receive more information.