Incentive Program Makes Big Investments in Small Businesses

The City of Champaign launched its Small Business Incentive Program in May 2016 when City Council approved $230,000 in one-time money for Small Business Development. The program is a matching grant where approved applicants can receive up to $7,000 in reimbursements for one-time business related expenses including marketing, financial assistance, education, legal assistance, equipment and other services. The Small Business Incentive Program is jointly administered by the City of Champaign’s Planning and Development Department and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). To date the program has had 54 total enrollees, a majority of which are women.

The initial version of the program ran from May 2016 to September 2017 with total reimbursement payments of approximately $43,000 and an average reimbursement request of $1,400 per applicant. The SBDC and Planning Staff consulted with enrollees and other business stakeholders for feedback about why such a small portion of each applicant’s allocation was spent and how the program can better meet their needs. As a response, additional flexibility was introduced to the program and the current version was launched in November of 2017. Once suggestions were incorporated, the rate of spending increased and the 2018 year to date reimbursement total was $80,500, leaving just over $100,000 left in the program.

If you are interested in finding out about how the City of Champaign’s Small Business Incentive Program can help your small business, please contact Don Elmore at the Small Business Development Center to find out about eligibility and how to apply to the program.

Click here to learn more about the City’s Business Incentive Programs.