First Stop Business Information Center

The First Stop Business Information Center provides comprehensive information and technical support to businesses with questions and concerns about mitigations, government regulations and business assistance programs.  


**Attention Small Businesses**

Expanded Technical Assistance and Resources Available to Assist During COVID-19

The Illinois Department of Commerce (DCEO) has expanded direct support available to businesses to help them learn which state and/or federal assistance programs they may qualify for, how to navigate application processes, and to obtain further assistance that can help recover and grow their business.  Details about available federal programs can be found on the Small Business Administration website.

Businesses in need of information and assistance have several options available including the Illinois Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs)Community Navigators, DCEO's Office of Regional Economic Development (Team RED) and the Office of Minority Economic Empowerment (OMEE). More information on the State's expanded small business assistance, including ongoing virtual events and technical assistance webinars, can be found below.

  • Illinois Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs):  Illinois SBDCs provide one-on-one counseling, assistance with navigating best options for financial support programs, technical assistance with documentation requirements to prepare applications, and more.  Find your nearest SBDC here

  • Community Navigators:  The State is working with 12 community navigators - grassroots organizations connected with other community services. Community navigators can help determine your eligibility for programs, assist with documents, and refer to other specialized services. A full list of community navigators can be found here

  • DCEO Office of Regional Economic Development (Team RED) and the Office of Minority Economic Empowerment (OMEE):  These DCEO teams provide targeted referrals and counseling for economic opportunities to businesses and communities based on geography (Team RED) and in support of minority enterprises including racial/ethnic minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and veteran-owned businesses (OMEE). To connect with your area Team RED member, please click here.  To connect with OMEE, please click here.


First Stop also provides entrepreneurs and small business owners with: