Direct Route To Your Profitable Business

Rockford area’s resource agencies collaborating to help local entrepreneurs find the most direct route to a profitable business!

News & Events

Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) announced nearly $3 million in funding to support local tourism promotional efforts across the state through the Illinois Travel and Tourism Grant Program.

DCEO has prioritized local tourism recovery through multiple grant funding efforts and opportunities, including $25 million for two rounds of the Tourism Attraction and Festivals Grant Program, $4 million for Route 66 tourism funding, and more than $285 million for restaurants, hotels, and small businesses in the tourism/travel industry through the Back to Business (B2B), Business Interruption Grant (BIG) and Emergency Hospitality grant programs.

Through a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) entities can apply for grants of up to $100,000 for promotional funds. Applications will be accepted until December 12, 2022.

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America’s SBDCs Proudly Serve America’s Veterans

Thankful for our Veterans and those who are currently serving our country. We are grateful beyond words!


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Start Apr 02, 2023, 9:00 AM – Apr 23, 2023, 12:00 PM

The Park Church, 801 Concord Ave, Rockford, IL

The Think Big School of Business promotes minority entrepreneurship, start-ups and businesses development.

Limited Seating

Register Here


Electric Vehicle Rebate Program

The first rebate cycle has closed. Applications are not currently being accepted.

A second rebate cycle will open November 1, 2022, and close on January 31, 2023. 

Applicants must submit applications during an open application period and meet all eligibility requirements including submission of an application within 90 days of purchase.

Illinois EPA Announces Second Electric Vehicle Rebate Program Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) Director John J. Kim announced the next funding round for Illinois’ Electric Vehicle (EV) Rebate Program will be open Tuesday, November 1, 2022 – Tuesday, January 31, 2023. Individuals that have purchased an all-electric vehicle since July 1, 2022 can access and complete an application for a rebate under Illinois’ EV Rebate Program at: 

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How to start your business in Illinois. Workshop

Thursday December 1, 2022

ALL CLASS TIMES 5:00-6:00 pm in the chamber board room. (404 S State Street, Belvidere, IL 61008)

Presenter: Shelby Flores. Business Consultant at the Rockford SBDC

This guide will inform you of various legal requirements and direct you to additional resources.

Register Here


Como comenzar tu negocio en Illinois


Thursday December 15, 2022

TODOS LOS HORARIOS DE CLASES 5:00-6:00pm en la sala de juntas de la cámara. (404 S State Street, Belvidere, IL 61008)

Instructor: Edward Caceres. Rockford SBDC Director

Está pensando en iniciar un negocio? Este seminario le informará sobre varios requisitos legales, financieros y administrativos para iniciar su negocio y lo dirigirá a recursos adicionales.

This workshop will be live broadcasted in the Rockford SBDC Facebook Page.

Register Here


Trend Hunter’s Megatrends Report | 2020-2025

Trend Hunter’s Megatrends Report provides insight on the trends we see sticking around for the next 3-5 years.

Source: Trend Hunter’s. Broadcasted: YouTube Nov 7, 2019

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The future of shopping: what’s in store?

The pandemic has upended the way people buy—online retail has soared as high-street shops and malls close. Brands are now racing to exploit one of the most important weapons in the battle for buyers: their customers’ data.

Source: The Economist. Broadcasted: YouTube Mar 18, 2021

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The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act is a bold, nation-leading law that will put Illinois on a path to a 100% clean energy future, protect public health from pollution, provide a just transition for communities historically dependent on dirty fossil fuels, enact tough utility accountability measures, and will create well paid new jobs.

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DCEO Grant Opportunities

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Other Funding Opportunities


National Grant for Veteran-Owned Small Businesses

A total of $25,000 will be awarded to 25 veteran-owned and-led small businesses nationally.

Inspired by Founders First CEO, Kim Folsom’s brother, U.S. Navy veteran Stephen L. Tadlock, the $25,000 fund will make investments of $1000 each to 25 veterans who are running employer-based small businesses across the country.

  • Must be a U.S. military veteran
  • Must have an active U.S. based business
  • Must be a CEO, President, or Business Owner
  • Must have between 2 to 50 employees

Deadline to apply is October 18, 2022. Grant finalists will be announced on Veterans Day, November 11, 2022.  

Apply Here

HerRise Micro-Grant

The HerRise Micro-Grant provides financial assistance to women of color creating innovative solutions that impact their community and that are often unable to secure funding for their small business. Each month a $500 micro-grant will be awarded to a small business owned by women of color.

Apply Here

Early Childhood Construction Grant

Governor JB Pritzker has announced $60 million in capital grant opportunities for Illinois Early Childhood Education providers through the Rebuild Illinois Capital Program. The funding will support the construction, expansion, and renovation of facilities that support early student learning.

Funding is being released in two rounds; $60 million will be awarded in late fall of 2022, and the remaining $40 million at a date to be decided. Grant recipients are required to provide matching funds of between 3% and 10% based on ISBE Tier level for the local elementary school district.

Applications will be accepted through October 10, 2022.

Apply Here



RLDC VetLoan Advantage Program Funding Options

To show its appreciation for the sacrifices our honorably discharged veterans have made in defending our country and the principles we hold dear and share, Rockford Local Development Corporation will pay the Bank Subordination Fee charged to any eligible veteran-owned business receiving an SBA 504 loan from the Rockford Local Development Corporation. Bank Subordination Fees vary based on project size and structure but can range from $500 to as much as $50,000 depending upon the loan size of the participating bank.

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Cyber and Data Protection Awareness Training

Cybersecurity Guidance For Small Businesses

Small businesses are under cyber and data-breach attacks. This has grown even more true in the last few months given the current climate. Cyber attacks happen every day, and for a small business they can be very costly and cripple business operations. To help provide small businesses with the education and resources to protect themselves, America’s SBDC has developed a national cybersecurity program called North Star.

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Small Business Digital Alliance Publishes Library of Free Digital Tools from National Members, Fortune 500 Companies Available to Small Businesses

In addition to the new digital tool library geared toward empowering entrepreneurs to scale their business, SBDA announces additional details of its first National Webinar.

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Get help starting your business. BUSINESS FIRST brings together all stakeholders to explain regulations for starting your business in Rockford.

At a BUSINESS FIRST session, regulatory partners come together from city and county departments including Building & Construction, Zoning & Permitting, The Health Department, Rock River Water Reclamation District, and The Small Business Development Center to walk entrepreneurs through projects and provide them with information to get their business up and running while answering all of their questions. BUSINESS FIRST operates as a one-stop-shop for entrepreneurs seeking to start their business in Rockford, IL.

Register Here

Business First – Food Truck Webinar

The Business First partners have created a food truck webinar that provides a wealth of information that individuals will need to operate in Rockford. This pre-recorded webinar discusses a range of topics such as health and fire requirements, waste disposal, operation requirements, and licenses.

Watch Complete Video Here

Our Rockford SBDC Consultants will be assisting entrepreneurs in the following locations:

  • At the Parks Chamber, inside Loves Park City Hall every Wednesday from 9 am to 2:30 pm. (Inside Loves Park City Hall). One on One sessions in Spanish will be provided).
  • At the NIU-Rockford Campus every Thursday from 9:30 am to 2 pm. 8500 E. State St. Suite 165 Rockford IL 61108.
  • At the Belvidere Chamber of Commerce (NEW) in Belvidere every Tuesday from 10 am to 4 pm (business advice will be provided in English & Spanish as well).
  • At the Rockford Chamber of Commerce every Wednesday from 12pm to 2 pm 308 W. State St. Suite 350 Rockford IL 61101.

Benefits of contacting your local SBDC include:

  • ​No cost, one-on-one, confidential business advising
  • Virtual business advising
  • Training programs & workshops designed for small businesses
  • Professional referral network
  • Accessing to capital
  • Technology development

Lifelong business partners

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Read About the New Multi-County Entrepreneur Resource “Compass”


“Launch815 is helping us to navigate the process of transforming our great idea into a viable, marketable product!”

– Fran Pierce, Pierce Products –


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