IL Incentives | Finance, Loans, IRB, Workforce Development

A comprehensive list of Illinois financial aid, loans, grants, abatements, workforce development, exemptions, funds & capital investment opportunities.
A comprehensive list of Illinois financial aid, loans, grants, abatements, workforce development, exemptions, funds & capital investment opportunities.

Illinois Incentives and Workforce Development Guide

IL Incentives | Finance, Loans, IRB, Workforce Development

For a list of Illinois economic development agencies that can help with the site selection process, visit our Online Site Seekers’ Guide.

Additional information on the programs below can be found via:

Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity
E-mail: [email protected]
Online Programs & Services Guide:
Springfield: (217) 782-7500, 
Chicago: (312) 814-7179



ADVANTAGE Illinois: Delivered through pre-approved Illinois financial institutions, the program accelerates investments and ease traditional credit underwriting standards for small businesses. The program encourages financial institutions to lend to businesses which would otherwise not qualify for traditional bank financing by purchasing portions of bank term loans, and RLOCs, applying below market interest rates to the Department of Commerce’s portion, and subordinating its exposure that those of the lending entities. This institutional lending program mitigates lender risk through the use of subordinated debt of up to $2 million.

Business Development Public Infrastructure Program (BDPIP): Provides grants to units of local government for public improvements on behalf of a business(s) undertaking a major expansion or relocation project that will result in substantial private investment and the creation and/or retention of a large amount of Illinois jobs. The infrastructure improvements must be made for public benefit and on public property and must directly result in the creation or retention of private sector jobs. Local governments must demonstrate clear need for financial assistance to undertake the improvements. Awards are determined by the amount of investment and job creation or retention involved. The Business Development Public Infrastructure Program provides funds for infrastructure improvements in support of economic development in the Illinois. The Business Development Public Infrastructure Program helps local governments finance public infrastructure needed to support economic development and private sector job creation. Funding is available only for infrastructure projects which lead directly to private sector expansion or retention activities.

Community Development Assistance Program for Economic Development (CDAP-ED): A federally funded program designed to provide grants to units of local government for economic development activities related to private business retention or expansion. Local governments can make their grant funds available as loans to businesses growing or moving to their community. Funds may be used for machinery and equipment, working capital and building construction and renovation.

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Economic Development Program: The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, provides federal funding for a variety of community-based projects. Communities with populations of 50,000 or less can apply for Economic Development grant funding to assist private business in retaining or creating full-time, permanent jobs. Grant funds may also be used for improvements to public infrastructure that directly supports a company in the local community

Community Service Block Grant (CSBG): The Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program provides federal funding to Illinois’ 36 community action agencies (CAAs) to carry out locally designed programs providing a range of services and activities that have measurable impacts on the causes and effects of poverty. The CSBG program assists low income populations with transportation, clothing, health services, food, shelter and programs designed to increase self-sufficiency, such as job preparedness, education and housing assistance. Small business loans are also available with CSBG funding. Eligible individuals must generally have incomes that fall below 125% of the national poverty index.

Emerging Technological Enterprises: The Illinois Jobs Now Act allows the Illinois Department of Commerce the authority to provide grants, loans and other investments for projects to respond to unique advanced technology initiatives which will foster the development of Illinois’ economy through the advancement of the state’s economic, scientific and technological assets.

Employer Training Investment Program Incentive: The Employer Training Investment Program (ETIP) supports Illinois workers’ efforts to upgrade their skills in order to remain current in new technologies and business practices, enabling companies to remain competitive, expand into new markets and introduce more efficient technologies into their operations. ETIP grants may reimburse Illinois companies for up to 50% of the cost of training their employees. The ETIP Incentive Program is provided to pre-qualified businesses located in Illinois who are expanding or relocating operations, or whose operations are in jeopardy of job loss. Those Illinois businesses applying for training funds are part of an ILDCEO Business Development Project and grants are administered through the ILDCEO Business Development Bureau.

Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Economic Development Program: The EDP program is designed to provide up to 50% state funding for eligible locally owned roadways, and 100% state funding for roadway improvements on state owned routes. The remaining 50% match will be provided by local government entities or private sources. This funding allows the department to contribute up to $2 million maximum to local economic development projects. Due to the program’s overall size, costs beyond the $2 million project limit must be absorbed by the local community, company or developer. The purpose of the EDP is to provide state assistance for roadway improvements that are necessary for access to new or expanding industrial, manufacturing or distribution type companies. The focus of the program is on the retention and creation of permanent-full time jobs. Projects which only improve opportunities for future development or are speculative in nature are not eligible. This is not a competitive program nor is the funding commitment based on how many jobs will be created. Funding amounts for each project is determined by the total cost of roadway improvements that are necessary to adequately meet the needs of the company and any safety concerns for the traveling public.

Illinois New Markets Development Program: The Illinois New Markets Development Program provides supplemental funding for investment entities that have been approved for the Federal New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program. This program will support small and developing businesses by making capital funds more easily available and will make Illinois more attractive to possible investors. The NMTC program provides state and federal tax credits to investors that make investments into approved funds, which will make investments in eligible projects located in low income census tracks throughout Illinois. The program provides non-refundable tax credits to investors in qualifying Community Development Entities (CDE’s) worth 39% of the equity investment made into the CDE over a seven-year credit allowance period.

IDOT Rail Freight Loan Program: The purpose of the Rail Freight Loan Program is to provide capital assistance to communities, railroads and shippers to preserve and improve rail freight service in Illinois. The primary role of the program is to facilitate investments in rail service by serving as a link between interested parties and channeling government funds to projects that achieve statewide economic development. The program generally provides low interest loans to finance rail improvements. Under special circumstances grants may be considered

State Trade & Export Promotion (STEP) Program: The Office of Trade and Investment (OTI) at the Illinois Department of Commerce won a competitive State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant award of $1.26 million in the first year of the STEP Program, a $1.06 million award in the 2nd year and $685,855 in the 4th year—to increase the number of small sized businesses that are exporting and to increase the value of exports for those small sized businesses that export in Illinois. The STEP program was a three-year pilot trade and export initiative authorized by the federal Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 which was extended by the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (H.R. 83). Illinois’ STEP program for year four (October 2015-September 2016) will continue to focus on providing eligible sized small businesses with financial and technical assistance, including the opportunity to participate in Group Trade Missions or Individual Foreign Market Sales Missions. In addition, assistance is also available for Illinois’ small businesses to achieve product compliance certifications required for exporting and international marketing support.



Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE): Provides special tax incentive to encourage companies to locate or expand operations in Illinois when there is active consideration of a competing location in another State. The program can provide tax credits to qualifying companies, equal to the amount of state income taxes withheld from the salaries of employees in the newly created jobs. The non- refundable credits can be used against corporate income taxes to be paid.

Enterprise Zone Program: Stimulate investment and job creation and retention in designated areas of the State through tax credits and exemptions including: State utility tax (5.10%); State building materials tax (6.25%); State investment tax credit (0.50%); State telecommunications excise tax (7.00%); State expanded machinery sales tax (6.25%); and Local incentives which vary from zone to zone.

High Impact Business: Provides large-scale economic development activities by providing tax incentives (similar to those offered within an enterprise zone) to companies which make substantial capital investments in operations and create or retain above average number of jobs. Businesses may qualify for: investment tax credits, a state sales tax exemption on building materials, an exemption from state sales tax on utilities, a state sales tax exemption on purchases of personal property used or consumed in the manufacturing process or in the operation of a pollution control facility.

Illinois Angel Investment Credit Program: The Illinois Angel Investment Program is designed to offer a tax credit to interested firms or individuals who make an investment in one of Illinois’ innovative, qualified new business ventures. The investment will encourage job growth and expand capital investment in Illinois. The program can offer a tax credit to qualifying investors in an amount equal to 25% of their investment made directly in a qualified new business venture.

River Edge Redevelopment Zone Program: The purpose of the River Edge Redevelopment Program (RERZ) is to revive and redevelop environmentally challenged properties adjacent to rivers in Illinois. The River Edge Redevelopment Zone Act authorizes the Department of Commerce to designate zones in five cities—Aurora, East St. Louis, Elgin, Peoria and Rockford. The River Edge Redevelopment Zone (RERZ) Program is designed to achieve its goals through the use of several incentives authorized by State law. Two of these—sales tax exemption and property tax abatement (if offered in the zone)—are administered by the local zone administrators. All other incentives may be claimed as credits on the applicant’s annual Illinois tax return.

Tax Increment Financing Program: Illinois law allows units of local governments the ability to designate areas within their jurisdiction as TIF districts. These specially designated districts are used by local governments as a way to spur economic growth by dedicating the sales tax revenues and additional property tax revenues generated within the TIF for improvements within the district with the hope of encouraging new economic development and jobs.

Trade Adjustment Assistance: To provide funding to eligible local Workforce Areas grantees for Trade Program activities to serve laid off workers as a result of foreign trade and competition.



Illinois has a network of regional partners that train the skilled workers that are needed to keep businesses competitive. Through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Illinois implements innovative strategies including incumbent worker training programs, customized training, industry sector partnerships, and career pathway programs. Illinois has strategically coordinated the workforce programs across state agencies to meet the needs of all employers (including small and large businesses). For more information please visit

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