Business Resources

Business Financing Programs 2020

Prepared July 31, 2020

By Emily Legel, NW Illinois Economic Development Executive Director


For more information on any of these programs, please reach out to NWILED executive director Emily Legel at 815-297-7361 or



  • Paycheck Protection Program

With amounts up to 2.5 months of payroll expenses for businesses with fewer than 500 employees, this loan program is pandemic specific. At time of writing, this program is administered by area financial service providers and is forgivable provided that 60% or more of the award is spent on payroll and related expenses, with the remaining 40% allowed to be spent on rent, mortgage, utilities, and qualifying accounts payable. If the money is not spent in the first 6 months, the program is converted to a loan at 1% interest for up to 5 years, with the first payment deferred by 6 months.

  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan

EIDL is designed to provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. EIDL proceeds can be used to cover a wide array of working capital and normal operating expenses, such as continuation to health care benefits, rent, utilities, and fixed debt payments. At one point, this program offered a loan advance of $1000 per employee, but this has since expired. Loans are offered at a rate of 3.75% for for-profit businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits, with terms up to 25 years.

  • Jo Daviess County Small Business Stabilization Grant

Gives non-essential small businesses with fewer than 12 full-time employee equivalents one month’s worth of rent, mortgage, and utility payments, up to $5000. Currently on hold until fall.



  • Rural Economic Development Loan Fund

Administered by Jo Carroll Energy and Dairyland Power, this low-interest loan program is offered annually. 10-year term, approximately 2% interest, 20% match required by the borrower. Funds can be used for financing fixed assets such as real estate, buildings, equipment or working capital, as well as business expansion or technical assistance.

  • Tax Increment Financing Districts

This money is typically a reimbursement for property investment and investments in infrastructure (curb, gutter, etc.). Administered at the municipal level, all money is paid by the developer up front and returned over the following years, dependent on locality. Money is also frozen into an account for all additional revenue collected above the base tax rate at time of TIF establishment.

  • Jo Daviess County Revolving Loan Fund

This program provides a source of financing for expanding or a start-up business that has a “financing gap”. It is a low-interest option to complete a financing package. It includes a $100 application fee, and the borrower must take between $5,000 and $100,000. Rate:  Two (2) points below Prime Rate, variable. Amount must not exceed 25% of total package fee, and there is a maximum term of 10 years with a .25% cost for annual service fee.

State of Illinois

  • Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE):

Provides non-refundable annual tax credits against corporate income taxes over a period of up to 10 years. EDGE credits are equal to a percentage of the new income tax withholdings generated by a project’s new job creation. To qualify, companies with less than 100 global employees must create new jobs equal to at least 5% of their total worldwide employment; there is no minimum investment.  Companies with more than 100 global employees must create new jobs equal to the lesser of 10% of their total worldwide employment or 50 new jobs; they must also invest at least $2.5 million in the project. Unused credits may be carried forward for 5 years. 

  • Targeted medium to large businesses
  • Blue Collar Jobs Act (Beginning Jan 1st, 2021):

For projects making a minimum real property investment of at least $10 million and qualifying for the EDGE, HIB, or Enterprise Zone programs, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has the discretion to approve a “New Construction Project” designation which awards additional non-refundable tax credits to a project. Tax credits are equivalent to 50% of the incremental income tax paid by construction workers and laborers associated with the real property investment. An additional 25% can be awarded to the tax credits if the project is located in an underserved area.  The total Blue Collar Jobs tax credits awarded by DCEO in any fiscal year cannot exceed $20 million. The program eligible requires contractors and subcontractors associated with designated projects that to file certified payroll information associated with the project.

  • Targeted to large projects
  • High Impact Business Program (HIB):

To stimulate large-scale economic development projects outside of Enterprise Zone locations, the HIB program offers investment tax credits, a state sales tax exemption on building materials, an exemption from state sales tax on utilities, and a state sales tax exemption on purchases of personal property used or consumed in a manufacturing process or in the operation of a pollution control facility. Qualifying businesses must make a minimum capital investment of $12 million and create at least 500 full-time jobs or invest $30 million and retain 1,500 jobs.

  • Targeted to large projects
  • Enterprise Zone Program:

Businesses locating in one of state’s dedicated Enterprise Zones may qualify for certain incentives including a sales tax exemption on building materials, an investment tax credit of 0.5% of qualified property, a state utility tax exemption on gas, electricity and telecommunication, as well as other incentives.  Additional incentives may be available at the local level for projects locating in an Enterprise Zone at the discretion of the local zone administrator.

  • Small, medium, or large businesses


  • Large Business Development Program (LBDP):

Discretionary grants are available for major expansion or relocation projects that create and/or retain a large number of jobs. The funds may be used for bondable business activities, including financing the purchase of land or buildings, building construction or renovation, and certain types of machinery and equipment.  Businesses relocating to Illinois from out-of-state must create at least 500 jobs to qualify for the program. This program also provides long term fixed-rate low-interest loans.  (Note:  the LBDP program has not received a funding allocation for the current fiscal year)

  • Data Center Tax Exemption:

Data centers investing more than $250 million and creating more than 20 new jobs over a five-year period are eligible for a sales tax exemptions on qualifying tangible personal property including new equipment, construction materials, and building infrastructure in addition to excise tax exemptions on electricity consumed at the at facility.

  • Large businesses


  • SBA Programs,
    • Including, 7a, Express Loans, Community Advantage (for women-, veteran-, and minority-owned small businesses, along with low-income borrowers
    • Target small businesses – less than 500 employees or those below certain revenue caps
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