Advantage Illinois - Enhancing Small Business Access to Capital

The State of Illinois is committed to improving business access to capital and assisting companies in expand their workforce capacity or start-up activity. Supported by $78 million from the federal State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, and administered through the Illinois Department of Commercial and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), Advantage Illinois consists of three programs to spur institutional lending to small businesses, and one program to leverage private venture capital in start-ups and high-growth businesses. These programs are open to all eligible businesses in Illinois (not exclusively to businesses owned by veterans):

  • Capital Access Program – The Capital Access Program (CAP) may be accessed via participating banks. Through the program, financial institutions are encouraged to make capital financing loans to small and new businesses that do not qualify under conventional lending policies. CAP funding can be used for many business purposes, including start-up costs, working capital, business procurement, franchise fees, equipment, inventory, and the purchase, construction, renovation, or tenant improvements of an eligible place of business that is not for passive real estate investment purposes. For more information, visit CAP’s homepage or view this fact sheet.
  • Participation Loan Program – The Participation Loan Program (PLP) offers five loan programs that are designed to enable small businesses to obtain medium to long-term financing, always in the form of term loans, to help them grow and expand their businesses. PLP increases support per full-time employee to $25,000 - $65,000 (for veteran employees, the $65,000 maximum applies). With any of the PLP loans, the financial institution identifies potential opportunities for state participation. For more information, visit PLP’s homepage or view this fact sheet.
  • Collateral Support Program – The Collateral Support Program (CSP) may be accessed via participating banks. It is designed to supplement loan collateral of small businesses and entrepreneurs to enhance the equity and/or loan collateral levels of these potential borrowers. The program supplies pledged collateral accounts to participating lending institutions, thereby enhancing the collateral of individual loans, while providing a source of deposits to lending institutions. CSP funding can be used for many business purposes, including start-up costs, working capital, business procurement, franchise fees, equipment, inventory, and the purchase, construction, renovation, or tenant improvements of an eligible place of business that is not for passive real estate investment purposes. For more information, visit CSP’s homepage or view this fact sheet.
  • Invest Illinois Venture Fund – The Invest Illinois Venture Fund (IIVF) is a venture capital program seeking to support young, innovative companies, and start-ups that show a high potential for future growth resulting in the creation of high-paying professional Illinois jobs. Applicants with a good business model and other interested investors should apply directly to DCEO. For more information on eligible and qualified uses, visit IIVF’s homepage or view this fact sheet.