IJ Clinic on Entrepreneurship
Free and Low Cost Resources for Entrepreneurs
Below is a list of some of the organizations that provide free and low cost resources for entrepreneurs in the Chicago area, along with their contact information and a brief description of the services they offer.
Each organization has a letter next to the name that describes the type of assistance they provide.
- [G] = general assistance
- [F] = financial assistance
- [B] = business plan assistance
- [L] = legal assistance
For a schedule of different workshops and networking events going on around Chicago, please visit the calendar of events (http://ij.org/clinic/events) on our webpage.
ACCION Chicago [F]
1436 West Randolph Street, Suite 300
Chicago, IL 60607
ACCION is an alternative lending organization that provides credit and workshops for small business owners who lack access to traditional sources of financing.
Business Law Center Clinic (BLC) [L]
Loyola University Chicago School of Law
1 East Pearson Street
Chicago, Il 60611
The BLC at Loyola University Chicago School of Law is a transactional law clinic that represents entrepreneurs and small business owners, as well as individuals who are looking to start a nonprofit.
Chicago Urban League [G, B]
4510 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60653
The Chicago Urban League’s Entrepreneurship Center offers low-cost workshops on everything from marketing, to financial management, to legal issues. They also run nextConnection, a resource center that connects entrepreneurs with valuable resources, business opportunities, mentoring, and networking opportunities.
The CEC works with early-stage companies, providing business advisory services, helping connect companies with resources and mentors, and hosting events.
The Coleman Entrepreneurship Center delivers outreach programs both on campus and in the community. They provide peer-to-peer educational programs designed for business owners.
Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) [G]
City of Chicago
121 North LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60602
BACP offers free workshops, expos, and business counseling. Make an appointment to visit their Solution Station at City Hall to speak with experts on business counseling (on Tuesdays), legal assistance (on Wednesdays), and financial assistance (on Thursdays).
Illinois Small Business Development Center at Bethel New Life [G]
1140 N. Lamon
Chicago, Illinois 60651
The SBDC at Bethel New Life provides free training and technical assistance to new and existing businesses. Bethel’s SBDC focuses particularly on the needs of new and emerging businesses, assisting them in the start-up process with business planning, access to capital, and access to other business resources.
The Illinois SBDC at Chicago State provides one-on-one counseling and specialized workshops to new and emerging businesses. Their programs include management assistance; sales, advertising and marketing; technology assistance; business plan consulting; MBE/WBE/DBE certification and contract negotiation; feasibility studies for business and industry; a clearing house and resource for business information; private and government procurement; seminars, workshops and conferences; access to capital; and the Entrepreneur Training Program.
Illinois Small Business Development Center at UIC (IL SBDC at UIC) [G]
Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies
College of Business Administration (MC 090)
815 W. Van Buren, Suite 400
Chicago, Illinois 60607
The IL SBDC at UIC offers workshops and individual counseling to facilitate business development and create jobs. They show entrepreneurs how to identify resources, overcome barriers, ask the right questions and meet people who can help change and further their business.
The IJ Clinic works with University of Chicago Law School students to provide free legal assistance, workshops, and legislative advocacy for lower-income entrepreneurs in Chicago.
Jewish Vocational Services/Duman Microenterprise Center [G, F]
216 West Jackson Boulevard, Suite 700
Chicago, IL 60606
The Duman Microenterprise Center at JVS offers training, mentoring, counseling, and access to capital for entrepreneurs.
The Law Project [L]
100 North LaSalle Street, Suite 600
Chicago, IL 60602
The Law Project provides free (besides a non-refundable $25 application fee), expert legal assistance to support community development efforts led by entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations that generally do not have the resources to pay for legal services.
Lawyers for the Creative Arts [L]
213 West Institute Place, Suite 403
Chicago, Illinois 60610
Lawyers for the Creative Arts offers pro bono legal services and workshops for arts businesses.
Northwestern University Law School of Law [L]
Small Business Opportunity Center (SBOC)
357 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
The SBOC is a nonprofit, student-based clinical program at the Bluhm Legal Clinic. The SBOC provides affordable legal services to entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations focusing on job creation and economic development in the Chicago area.
Office of the City Treasurer [G, F]
City of Chicago
121 North LaSalle Street
City Hall, Room 106
Chicago, Illinois 60602
Office Phone 312.744.3356
The City Treasurer’s Office offers resources for small business financing including information on loans, microloans, and grants. They also host an annual Small Business Expo, and business plan competitions.
SCORE [G, B]
500 West Madison
Chicago, IL 60661
SCORE educates entrepreneurs to help their businesses start, grow, and succeed. Their network of volunteers around the country offer small business entrepreneurs confidential business counseling services free of charge. They also provide affordable workshops with resources, templates and tools to assist entrepreneurs in developing tools and plans that will help them succeed.
Technology/Intellectual Property Clinic (TIP Clinic) [L]
DePaul College of Law
25 East Jackson Boulevard
Chicago, Illinois 60604
The TIP Clinic provides transactional services for patent, trademark, and copyright law to entrepreneurs who could not afford to pay private counsel for such assistance.
Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) [G, B, F]
8 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 400
Chicago, IL 60603
The WBDC offers workshops, seminars, networking, business coaching, and financial assistance to entrepreneurs at various stages of business growth. They also help women-owned businesses obtain WBE certification.
Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship
University of Chicago Law School
6020 South University Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
Note: Use these sites and the information on them at your own risk. The IJ Clinic does not assume responsibility for or endorse the sites' content or the organizations that sponsor the sites.