Efrat Stein, Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection 312.744.5365
Commissioner Norma I, Reyes of the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) joined business owner, Guilia Ismailova in a ribbon cutting for the opening of a new Dog Grooming and Day Care business in Chicago.
Business Owner, Gulia Ismailova, obtained a small business loan through the Solution Station, a City program designed to help entrepreneurs get in business, and stay in business. The program provides business owners with free one on one counseling, free legal advice, and assistance with developing a business plan. In addition, the Solution Station provides entrepreneurs, like Gulia with direct access to lending through a micro-lender, ACCION Chicago, at no additional cost to the City.
The loan helped Gulia come one stop closer to making her dream come true of operating a Dog Grooming business. She used the money to purchase equipment that allowed her to get her business open. Gulia also took advantage of the City’s business classes to help her start the business and prepare for the inspection. On Wednesday, July 7th, she officially opened the doors to Furtastik, Grooming Daycare & More, located at 2750 N. Ashland Ave.
“What I learned is that it is so important to do all of your homework when opening a business. There are so programs that offer free resources to businesses, said Gulia. "If it were not for the Solution Station, we may not have known about ACCION Chicago and the types of smaller loans they have available for businesses that are just starting out. We also learned so much by attending the free business workshops offered by the City, “ she said.
Commissioner Norma I. Reyes commended Gulia and Robert, “you are a perfect example of what every entrepreneur should be doing, especially in this challenging economy, and that is to take advantage and utilize all of the free business resources available today,” said Commissioner Reyes.
The Small Business Solution Station is conveniently located inside the Business Assistance Center- in City Hall. The Solution Station is open Tuesday-Thursday from 9:30 am- 3:00 pm and is open to anybody interested in receiving free one on one business counseling.
Businesses that are coming to BACP for licensing or public way use permits, can now also connect with these important free resources that can help every business owner, at any stage. The Small Business Solution Station has assisted close to 300 business owners this year.
Partnering agencies include, SCORE, Counselors to America’s Small Business, that provide assistance with developing a business plan, and can give business advise. CEDLP, Community Economic Development Law Project, provides legal advise on real estate matters, corporate structuring and tax issues. ACCION Chicago provides small business mirco-loans and alternative financial assistance.
“There are significant credit needs for small businesses today, even a small loan can go a long way. Through our partnership with the City, ACCION has gained additional visibility for its services and has been able to provide financing advice and support to many businesses, said Mary Fran Riley, Vice President of Development of ACCION Chicago.
“By partnering and leveraging relationships with business organizations, we have the opportunity to strengthen our business communities - support job growth- and provide entrepreneurs with the tools they need,” said Commissioner Reyes.
Entrepreneurs should also take advantage of other free programs for small business. BACP’s offers free business classes every week, located in City Hall. Classes put business owners together with experts who can advise on topics such as marketing, employment law, how to get certified to do business with the City and how to prepare for inspections.
BACP also offers free quarterly evening business seminars called “Business Works” in neighborhoods throughout the City helping thousands of entrepreneurs connect with agencies that assist small businesses.
Information on all of BACP’s programs are available online at www.cityofchicago.org/bacp. An appointment is not required for the Small Business Solution Station, but can be made by calling 312.744.5506.