Starting Your Business

Thank you for choosing to start a business in Chicago. We appreciate your decision to help make Chicago an economically strong and vibrant city. Please use the information provided below to guide you through the steps needed to obtain a business license.

Start and Grow Your Business In Chicago Small Business Tool Kit

Starting and Growing Your Business In Chicago Flyer

1) Business Planning - Before you schedule an appointment with a business consultant

  County, State, and Federal Business Registration
  Register your businesses with all required agencies

  Business Plan Resources
  Find resources to help you develop your business plan

  Find A Location
  View a map of available commercial real estate

  Financial Assistance Resources
  Listings of loans, grants, tax credits, and financial education programs

  Business Education
  Small Business Center workshops and other opportunities to improve your business skills

  Find Neighborhood Resources
  See how a local chamber of commerce, Special Service Area provider, or other support agency could assist you.

  Hiring & Training Resources
  Organizations and financial resources to help you hire and train employees

  Avoid Common Mistakes
  Make sure to avoid these mistakes new business owners often make

2) Check Zoning

  Check the zoning of your property before signing your lease

3) Licensing

  Business Licensing: What Do I Need?
  Requirements for each business type

  Restaurant Start-Up Program
  Learn about the streamlined process for all new restaurants

4) Permitting

  Building Permits
  For new building construction, renovations and repairs

  Public Way Use Permits
  For items that extend on, over, or under sidewalks and streets

  Commercial Driveway Permits
  Instructions and fees for Commercial Driveway Permit applications

  Loading Zones
  Explanations and application processes for loading zones, standing zones, and valet parking

  Bike Parking
  Find out if your business is eligible for a free on-street bike rack

5) Other Business Requirements

  Water, Recycling & Sanitation
  Set up your water account and establish a recycling program at your business