Advantage Illinois

Letter to Participating Lenders - Possible Relief due to CoVID-19 

Enhancing access to capital for Illinois businesses is a top priority.  The Brookings Institution has noted that more than 95% of new jobs are derived from business expansion or start up activity.  Small businesses are the backbone of the Illinois economy, and the Advantage Illinois program is there to assist.  By working with the state's banking community and venture capitalists, we'll help entrepreneurs and small businesses start up, expand and create new jobs at a faster rate.

Illinois expects to generate a minimum "bang for the buck" of at approximately $10 in new private lending and investment for every $1 of federal funding provided through this program by the end of 2017, generating approximately $800 million in private investments in Illinois' small businesses.

Advantage Illinois will accelerate investments and ease the credit crunch for small businesses, thanks to more than $78 million from the federal State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010.  There are two programs to spur institutional lending to small businesses, the Participation Loan Program (PLP) and the Capital Access Program (CAP).

Advantage Illinois Participating Institutions – Participating lenders accept business applications on a rolling basis, and use their own underwriting standards and loan processes.  These lending institutions are welcome partners in the Advantage Illinois program. Check back regularly, as we continually add new institutions to the list.


With any PLP loan program, financial institutions identify potential opportunities for state participation:

  • Standard Participation Loan Program (PLP) – designed to enable small businesses to obtain medium to long-term financing, in the form of term loans, to help grow and expand their businesses. Department participation is subordinated to the lender and has a "below market" interest rate.
  • Minority/Women/Disabled/Veteran-Owned Businesses – similar to Standard PLP; however, the amount of financial support may range depending on loan term, MWDV majority control/ownership.
  • Revolving Line of Credit (RLOC PLP) – similar to Standard PLP except in the form of a revolving line of credit. Maximum term is two years and further support requires reapplication.

Funding may be used for many purposes, including but not limited to:

  • start-up costs
  • working capital
  • business procurement
  • franchise fees
  • equipment
  • inventory
  • as well as the purchase, construction, renovation, or tenant improvements of an eligible place of business that is not for passive real estate investment purposes

PLP Information for Lenders

To participate in the program, lenders must submit a Master Agreement to the Illinois Department of Commerce.

Download PLP Fact Sheet