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Business Resources

City of Highland Park Office of Business Development 
The City of Highland Park is committed to assisting entrepreneurs and established business owners interested in opening a business in Highland Park. To help business owners or their brokers find an available commercial location and to assist them through the regulatory and permit process, as well as to eliminate costly delays during the new business start-up period, the Office of Business Development staff serves as the primary local government contact and resource for businesses. Business Development professional staff can also provide knowledge of the City's zoning regulations and Highland Park's existing business mix. 

For more information or assistance with establishing your business in Highland Park, please contact the Office of Business Development at 847.926.1027.

City of Highland Park Business & Economic Development Advisory Group
The Business and Economic Development Advisory Group consists of twelve voting members: Residents with business expertise, one non-voting ex officio member of the City Council, and one representative of the Chamber of Commerce.

The Business & Economic Development Advisory Group (BEDAG) promotes and fosters business and development in the City of Highland Park in an advisory capacity to the City Council.  BEDAG prepares and recommends development programs designed to achieve the City’s Master Plan goals in the community’s commercial, industrial, residential and office zoning districts. 

For more information, please contact Carolyn Hersch, staff liaison to the Business and Economic Development Advisory Group, at 847.926.1027 or by email.

Highland Park Chamber of Commerce 
“Our purpose is to help all member businesses prosper by providing programs and services designed to encourage business development and promotion, networking, education/training and advocacy.” - Chamber

The Highland Park Chamber of Commerce is a private, non-profit business association whose membership includes businesses, service organizations and individuals. Their mission is to promote, support and assist the local business community through effective communication, ongoing education, and quality programs and services. They serve as the "Voice of Business" at the federal, state and local levels of government. For more information, please contact the Chamber of Commerce at 847.432.0284 or via email at

Downtown Highland Park Alliance 
The Downtown Highland Park Alliance (“Alliance”) is a public/private partnership dedicated to improving the economic vitality of the Highland Park, Illinois Central Business District. Embracing collaboration with businesses, property owners and the City of Highland Park, the Alliance encourages local spending, investment, tourism, and a sense of community through the promotion of the Central Business District. To contact the Alliance visit or call 847.436.3117.

Briergate Business Association District 
“The mission of BBAD is to continuously improve the desirability and economic vitality of the Briergate Business District.” 
- Association Bylaws

Illinois Small Business Development Center 
The College of Lake County's Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) assists in assessing the viability of and developing business ventures within the Lake County. Our services include: 

  • Access to our small business resource library
  • Assistance in developing business plans
  • Interactive workshops
  • One-on-one consulting by noted experts
  • Referrals to small business service providers
  • Support in securing loans

For more information, please call the College of Lake County Small Business Development Center at 847.543.2033.

SBA - U.S Small Business Small Business Administration
Created in 1953, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) helps small business owners and entrepreneurs pursue the American dream. SBA is the only cabinet-level federal agency fully dedicated to small business and provides counseling, capital, and contracting expertise as the nation’s only go-to resource and voice for small businesses. Turn your business into a reality and access the SBA's Small Business Guide

SCORE - Counselors to America’s Small Businesses
Counselors to America's Small Business (SCORE) is a non-profit association dedicated to entrepreneur education and the formation, growth and success of small businesses in the U.S. SCORE provides free business counseling, workshops, and low cost management consulting. They also provide templates for business plans, advice on how to develop a business plan and obtain a business loan. SCORE counselors can help the entrepreneur start a business or a small business owner grow their business and prosper. 

SCORE's Highland Park Team is ready to work with clients!  Although SCORE is not meeting clients in person due to COVID-19 cautions, virtual sessions are available (video, phone, or email correspondence).

Going virtual has advantages! Clients can access guidance without having to travel beyond their home office location and times are not restricted to specific scheduled hours.
SCORE now offers several ways in which a client can request mentoring:
1. If the client wants to work with the Highland Park Team, they can review the profiles listed below and select the button that offers "Request as Session". The mentor they select will receive a direct assignment and will contact that client to set up their first session. 
Jennifer Lang:  Jennifer Lang | SCORE
Richard Jacobsohn: Richard Jacobsohn | SCORE
2. If the client wants to work with a mentor in or near their zip code, they can select that option. Select the blue "Get Local Advice" button midway down on the website.  
3. If the client wants to ask for specific mentoring skills, they can select the option that sorts mentors' profiles for the closest match. Please select the grey button midway down on the website. 
4. If the client wants our Chapter Coordinator to process their request, they can select the green button midway down on the website. That request will go directly to the Coordinator
who will connect the client with a mentor serving the zip code they input.
In addition, SCORE has partnered with the Language Resource Access Center to engage interpreters in approximately 100 languages and American Sign Language. When using video or telephone, the interpreter provides simultaneous translation. Please indicate your interest in this service in your request, and will make appropriate arrangements.

Accion is the largest nationwide nonprofit lending network in the United States. They provide fair and flexible loans, connections to business experts, and access to resources and opportunities specifically tailored to each business owner’s unique needs and goals. Who they lend to: Women Owned Businesses; Start Ups; Restaurant & Food Industry, and more. For more information, please call (312) 275-3000 or visit their website at

Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (IDCEO)
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's mission is to provide economic opportunities for businesses, entrepreneurs, and residents that improve the quality of life for all Illinoisans. The IDCEO is focused on improving transparency and accountability, enhancing customer service, increasing Illinois’ competitiveness, advancing minority empowerment, modernizing Illinois’ workforce, and elevating our state’s promotional efforts.

The Illinois Department of Commerce delivers impactful and efficient programs and services through the following offices. Click below to learn more:

Additional Resources for Starting a Small Business

Green Funding Opportunities
Governments across Illinois are adopting a green way of thinking and operating. The Illinois Green Governments Coordinating Council helps state agencies, units of local government, and educational institutions improve the sustainability of their operations and policies.  A list of green funding opportunities has been compiled and is available on the Illinois Department of Commerce & Industry website

Energy Efficiency Incentives and Grants 
The Illinois EPA Office of Energy encourages the use of energy efficient technologies, techniques and services to accelerate a cost-effective, equitable transition to a decarbonized energy system in Illinois. Find out more about the benefits of low-cost energy efficiency investments for commercial buildings and learn about related grant opportunities through the IL Environment Protection Agency.

The City encourages business owners to visit their utility providers' websites to learn about funding opportunities that are offered directly through the provider.

Hello Alice Small Business Grant Program
Apply for $25,000 - $500,000  for your small business. In partnership with the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) and with funding from Etsy and Progressive, Hello Alice is a free online platform that helps businesses launch and grow through every step of their entrepreneurial journey. The Small Business Growth Fund provides small business owners with knowledge, funding, networking opportunities, and peer-to-peer connections with more than one million small business owners. To be eligible, applicants must be a for-profit business with less than $1 million in 2022 gross annual revenue and reside in one of the 50 United States,
Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia. Link to Apply.